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.

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,

Boys Won’t Be Boys

Boys Won’t Be Boys by Rikkert van Huisstede is a Dutch theatrical and social movement in the field of male emancipation. The Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux brings the international premiere and multilingual version of the performance starring Jani Toivola and Roderick Kabanga among others to Finland in 2024. The programme also includes talks on sharing stories and experiences of masculinities.

Boys Won’t Be Boys’ international debut is commissioned and produced by the Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux, produced together with Svenska Teatern and Oulun teatteri. The production is in collaboration with Jäbät & Tunteet and is generously supported by Svenska kulturfonden, Konstsamfundet, Otto A. Malmin lahjoitusrahasto, the Netherlands Embassy in Finland and Oulun Valistustalorahasto.

Learn more about the production and cast in the Boys Won’t Be Boys Press Kit, available in English and Finnish.

Header image: Boys Won’t Be Boys by Knelis.

Masculinities 2022: The Book Club

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.

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.

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

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.

MASCULINITIES: Thoughts and Reflections

MASCULINITIES: Thoughts and Reflections

Our new publication ‘MASCULINITIES: Thoughts and Reflections’ continues the conversation on masculinities, including different perspectives and viewpoints by artists and researchers.