With our Masculinities programme we want to open the theme of masculinity from a cross-disciplinary approach, to stir critical thinking and challenge preconceptions as to how the idea of masculinity shapes our contemporary thinking, along with its markings and implications on society. We want to look beyond the man and into interdisciplinary and intersectional aspects of gender and sexuality; and perhaps most of all into the notion of identity, examining the layered plurality of masculinities and its effects on the self.
The programme 2022-2024
The Institute’s Masculinities programme is an ever-evolving organ in the Institute’s operations. Following the Engaging Men’s Stories: A Symposium on Storytelling and Masculinities in 2021, which was organised by the Institute in partnership with MoveMen and the Finnish Embassy in Brussels, the Masculinities focus for the next two years will be on the notion of storytelling and the sharing of stories.
In 2022, we worked together with Kriticos Mwansa, known for internationally acclaimed The Book Club concept in the Benelux. In collaboration with the Finnish media platform Jäbät ja Tunteet, Mwansa hosted his first-ever Book Club in Helsinki, Finland, which received great interest. The session was based on the book The Will to Change: Masculinity, Men & Love by writer and activist bell hooks. Feedback from the Book Club gave a clear indication that there is a definite need to create space for vulnerability among men in Finland.
A Study Trip to Helsinki and Oulu was organised as a first step in bringing the Dutch theatre concept and platform BOYS WON’T BE BOYS to Finland. This international and multilingual project is also realised in a close partnership with Jäbät & Tunteet. The programme will include talks and workshops on sharing stories and experiences of masculinities, as well as the first international premiere and multilingual version of the play BOYS WON’T BE BOYS in 2024.
We are happy to hear about different projects happening in the world, and we are equally happy to consider new collaborations. If you have a proposal or simply want to connect, do not hesitate to be in touch with the Head of Programme Malin Bergström, firstname.lastname@example.org
MASCULINITIES: Thoughts and Reflections 2020
With MASCULINITIES: Thoughts and Reflections, we continued the conversation on masculinities in a widely accessible and pandemic-safe manner. We invited writers, artists, researchers, thinkers to share their thoughts with us, and have commissioned new texts and works from various voices on the field, as well as highlighted existing projects. MASCULINITIES includes perspectives from researcher Nana Blomqvist (FI), writer Arno Boey (BE), artists Alexander Cromer (NL/US), youth worker Koen Dedoncker (BE), designer and writer Ervin Latimer (FI), researcher Minna Salami (UK/FI), actor and writer Jani Toivola (FI), along with newly commissioned works by illustrator Caroline Suinner (FI) and photographer Nick Tulinen (FI). MASCULINITIES also features artistic works by editor and writer Joppe De Campeneere (BE) and photographer Ahmet Polat (NL).
Read the online version of MASCULINITIES: Thoughts and Reflections on issuu.
The publication is also available in print. If you would like a copy for yourself and/or to distribute to other interested parties please get in touch via email@example.com
RE/defining Masculinities Monologues 2019-2020
The RE/defining Masculinities video series is a social media campaign which presents different people and their perspectives on the concept of masculinity in personal monologues. The videos include voices from different people in Belgium, the Netherlands and Finland and were filmed and edited by the Finnish media artist Timo Wright. The series includes monologues from: Kevin Groen (NL), Koen Dedoncker (BE), Pieter Claes (FI/BE), Xavier Gorgol (BE), Sara Bjarland (NL/FI), Adrian Perera (FI), Neal Leemput (BE), Ali Jahangiri (FI), Elio Heres (NL), Kasper Strömman (FI), Ima Iduozee (FI), Ariah Lester (NL), Kriticos (BE), Kaisa Leka (FI). The series has been shown at various events in Finland and Belgium, and in venues such as Beursschouwburg and KAAI theatre in Belgium, and in the Helsinki Central Library Oodi in Finland.
RE/defining Masculinities 2019
The Institute’s Masculinities programme started in 2019 with RE/defining Masculinities, and was realised through masculinity themed weeks in Helsinki 5-81.1.; Amsterdam 13.11.; and Brussels 27-30.11. The programme included panel discussions, film showings, performances, and workshops that were organised together with a large group of prominent partners, including Beursschouwburg and deBuren in Belgium, the Goethe Institute in The Netherlands, and Ekvalita and Poikien talo in Finland. Our different events included prominent voices from experts, researchers, activists, and artists such as: James Lórien MacDonald (FI), Ima Iduozee (FI), Artor Jesus Inkerö (FI), Jauoud Alloul (BE), Eric Niyibizi Cyuzuzo (BE), Jihan Imago (BE), Harry Lunabba (FI), Ira Virtanen (FI), Ylva Perera (FI), Nina Nyman (FI), Ahmet Polat (NL) Jakob Löfgren (FI), Nana Blomqvist (FI), Kriticos Mwansa (BE), J.M. Kaila (FI), Alexander Cromer (US), Jochen König (DE), Xavier Gorgol (BE), Koen Dedoncker (BE), Kevin Groen (NL), Oscar Lehtinen (FI), with many more. The RE/defining Masculinities programme was part of the Cultural Programme for Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the EU.
The first-ever Helsinki Book Club with Kriticos Mwansa was a great success, giving participants the space to share their feelings and thoughts on masculinity.
Our Head of Programme Malin Bergström and The Book Club concept’s founder Kriticos Mwansa shared their book recommendations on Masculinities.
Theatre maker Rikkert van Huisstede plans to take the show Boys Won’t Be Boys to Finland in 2024. Ahead of the study trip to Helsinki and Oulu next week we had a chat about the project and his expectations for Finland.
Head of Programme at the Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux, Malin Bergström joins masculinity panel at Helsinki Book Fair, 29 October.
Mwansa will hold a book club on masculinity in collaboration with the Jäbät ja Tunteet community and the Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux on the 9th of November.
Our new publication ‘MASCULINITIES: Thoughts and Reflections’ continues the conversation on masculinities, including different perspectives and viewpoints by artists and researchers.
They say the clothes make a man - but what does that actually mean? (UN)Dressing the Man explores the notion of masculinity in fashion in a panel talk. Join us on the 26th of August 2020 at Kämp Garden for a discussion on how the body and form is evolving in fashion...
Article based on the Youth/Masculinities panel discussion organised on the 6th of November 2019 in The National Museum of Finland, as part of the Institute’s RE/defining Masculinities Helsinki week. The article is written by the journalist Nana Blomqvist, working as the Project Coordinator for Ekvalita’s masculinity programme “Vem é man?” – an important partner in the Institute’s RE/defining Masculinities project.
Pieter Claes: “I can watch RuPaul’s Drag Race and squat with 20 kgs on my shoulders, because—why not?”
Interview with Pieter Claes about men and masculinity. The interview was conducted by The Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux as part of the RE/defining Masculinities project.
Kriticos Mwansa is a Belgian musician, currently studying Business Management and Marketing in Brussels. Kriticos was born in Zambia to Zambian-Greek and Tanzanian parents, and moved to Belgium at the age of 8. As a musician, Kriticos has made some significant career strives in East Africa with a recently released EP, and is now looking to branch out to the European market.