Skip to content

Invitation for ideas for the Helsinki Biennial in summer 2020


The application period has now ended.

The City of Helsinki and HAM Helsinki Art Museum are organising a contemporary art biennial in 2020 on Vallisaari Island in Helsinki.

The biennial will be curated by HAM Helsinki Art Museum. Artists from Finland and abroad will be selected to create temporary site-specific works for the biennial. The works will engage in a dialogue with their environment, bringing nature and urban space into convergence. Admission to the biennial will be free of charge but there will be a fare for ferry access to the island.

The purpose of the invitation is to find ideas that will complement the biennial. They can be events, performances, engage the audience in different ways, or deal with the history of Vallisaari. The projects may be carried out in conjunction with the biennial from 12 June to 27 September 2020, or as early as spring 2020. They may take place on Vallisaari or in other locations in Helsinki.

The invitation is for artists, artist groups, and multidisciplinary workgroups, and art or cultural institutions and associations.

The process consists of two stages

The first stage is the Invitation for Ideas. The invitation will run from 29 April to 17 May 2019. The final deadline for applications is 4 pm on 17 May 2019.

Submitted ideas will be evaluated in cooperation with the curators of HAM’s Helsinki Biennial, taking into consideration the evaluation criteria for the City of Helsinki’s cultural grants:

Grant Criteria

A number of applicants will be invited for an interview during May – June 2019. When the evaluation process has been completed, some of the ideas will be selected for further development and they will be provided with a grant to the maximum sum of EUR 3,000.

The development stage will continue until 30 September 2019, after which one or more of the developed ideas may be selected for implementation in conjunction with the biennial. Payment of the further development grant does not guarantee that your project or idea will be selected for the biennial. The final selection of projects to be implemented will be made by December 2019. HAM will agree on the implementation of the final programme and funding directly with those selected.

For further information, please contact:
Hanna-Mari Peltomäki, Head of Production
HAM Helsinki Art Museum, Helsinki Biennial
+358 40 543 2087,

Instructions for the applicant

To participate in the Invitation for Ideas for the Helsinki Biennial, fill in the application for Arts and Culture Grants of the City of Helsinki.

Fill in your basic information as normal.

Select ‘Project grant’ for the grant you are applying for. For the primary field of art, select ‘Invitation for Ideas for the Helsinki Biennial’ from the menu.

When applying for a grant, please note that the maximum grant amount is EUR 3,000. You do not need to fill in information about any other grants you may have received or provide detailed information about the event, such as the venue or number of performances.

Please also skip parts 3/5 ‘Activity’ and 4/5 ‘Budget’. Please submit the ideas in concise form in a separate appendix (maximum length 4,000 characters, including spaces). Please describe the following things in the appendix:

  • Name of applicant and project (same as in the application)
  • Description of the project
  • Fields of art
  • Time of implementation
  • Suggested venue or place
  • Partners or networks contributing to the implementation
  • Preliminary itemisation of costs
  • Preliminary estimate of own funding and any co-producers
  • How the project fulfils at least two of the evaluation criteria: diversity and equality, accessibility and availability, participation, operational quality and implementation, and artistic quality.

You do not need to attach any other appendices to the application.

HAM Helsinki Art Museum: Invitation for ideas for the Helsinki Biennial in summer 2020

Apply for a culture grant via the E-services (

Grants for Culture main page

Photo: Helsinki Material Bank