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The Helsinki Model

Helsinki Model performance

The Helsinki Model is a model for participatory local cultural work, which encourages art institutions and professional groups of artists to expand their operations beyond their own facilities and work in cooperation with the residents and communities of various neighbourhoods.

The aim of the Helsinki Model is to balance out and diversify the artistic and cultural experiences offered in different neighbourhoods, strengthen the sense of community between neighbourhoods, improve the neighbourhoods’ image and increase cultural participation amongst residents. The Helsinki Model was piloted during 2016–2018.

The goals of the Helsinki Model

  • Culture is to be made more accessible by creating new operating models with the area’s operators and art institutions.
  • Residents and communities will be encouraged to evolve from viewers to active agents in creating art and culture.
  • Malmitalo, Kanneltalo, Stoa and Vuosaari House will actively form networks between the residents and operators in their respective areas, providing access to their facilities and know-how to be used in participatory art- and culture-related work.

The project period of 2019–2021

A total of EUR 350,000 per year will be reserved for development grants in the field of art and culture for 2019–2021, the second project period. The priority areas of the new project period will be Kannelmäki-Malminkartano, Tapulikaupunki-Suutarila and Vuosaari. Activities may also be proposed for other neighbourhoods. More detailed information on the priority areas is available from the draftspersons and the culture producers of Kanneltalo (Kannelmäki-Malminkartano) and Vuosaari House (Vuosaari).

The objectives of the second grant period are a continuation of the pilot period’s goals. Cooperation with the Urban Environment Division was initiated in Vuosaari during the planning of the second grant period. The hope is that the selected projects will enable dialogue between the City and its residents.

The art institutions that were selected to take part in the first grant period will have the same status in the application process as all other applicants. The Helsinki Model grants are development grants, and in general, the same conditions apply to both them and the other development grants. Registered art and culture communities may also apply for these grants. The applicants must be annual recipients of the City’s art and culture grants intended for continuous activities. During this application period, financial support received from the state will not affect an operator’s eligibility for the City’s grants. Grants may be awarded for 1–3 years at a time. Grant recipients must submit annual reports on their operations in a specific way agreed upon separately.

Projects for Grant Period 2019–2021

The Culture Division of the City of Helsinki’s Culture and Leisure Committee decided on the allocation of Helsinki Model grants in their meeting on 15 November 2018. The grants are divided as follows:


Suomalaisen barokkiorkesterin kannatusyhdistys ry (music): EUR 50,000
Suomen Kansallisteatterin Osakeyhtiö (theatre): EUR 50,000


KOM-teatterin Kannatus ry (theatre): EUR 33,000
Klockriketeatern rf (theatre): EUR 34,000
Suomen valokuvataiteen museon säätiö sr (photography and media): EUR 33,000


Teatteriyhdistys Tuike ry (theatre): EUR 20,000
Zodiak Presents ry (dance): EUR 50,000
Viihdepalvelu Esirippu Oy/Pohjois-Helsingin bändikoulu (music): EUR 30,000
Helsingin teatterisäätiö (theatre): EUR 50,000

The Helsinki Model’s assessment criteria

Artistic quality

  • artistic vision and competence
  • the operator has the necessary skills to work with its target group (e.g. pedagogical skills)


  • the activities conducted in the operating area with the target group are systematic and long-term in nature
  • there is dialogue with the neighbourhood’s residents and local operators when planning and conducting the project
  • the projects are linked to the art organisation’s core activities and artistic programme
  • the projects diversify the audiences of art institutions and communities
  • the projects are conducted outside of art institutions and the city centre

Productional and financial quality

  • a clear action plan and schedule, sufficient production resources and internal funds, and a realistic budget.

Further information

Photo: Helsinki Material Bank