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How are Graduating Students and Professionals Expected to Work and Succeed in the Art field with the Ever-diminishing Resources?

Read Professor Kirsi Monni’s comment on the effect of the lack of resources on graduating students careers.

Professor’s comment

Before Christmas, I participated with the choreographers and artistic directors Jenni-Elina von Bagh, Valtteri Raekallio and several other interviewed choreographers, participated in the YLE radio one (Finnish broadcasting company) Kulttuuriykkönen discussion about the visibility and internationality of Finnish contemporary dance. The topics and questions asked revealed a lack of understanding about the actual production conditions and resources available for the artists in the field. There are expectations of prominent visibility, large-scale productions and audience pull, international touring and the highest artistic quality. These expectations seem somewhat unrealistic since they do not meet the reality and conditions that graduating students and freelancer professionals experience daily.

How on earth can new and emerging artists develop their art, create productions of strong impact, visibility, and audience relationships, and gain touring possibilities in a field where most must start collecting the resources for every work practically from scratch and each time anew? In the dance field, the artists (often the choreographers of the working group) try to collect the “investment aid”, all funding for the salaries of dancers, designers, producers, themselves, venue rent, production, PR and communication costs mainly from the Arts Promotion Centre, private foundations, and through the highly competitive applications for production platforms. But the situation is that the Finns have just read about the massive cuts in Arts Promotion Centre subsidies. Also, the grants for dance were allocated as only 4.8% (KONE 2024) and 6.8% (SKR 2024) of the dance applicants got the grant. Read that again: 4.8% (KONE 2024), 6.8% (SKR 2024)!

Of course, we are always very grateful that even that amount was allocated for dance. Thank you for every single Euro allocated to this art form, which still persistently exists and brings forth those diverse aesthetic experiences for people that no other art form does. I hope the owners of the fur industry are also grateful for their 50m compensation for the avian influenza. (For comparison, the Arts Promotion Centre’s subsidies for the whole art and culture scene in Finland seem to be 45m for 2024). Also, in comparison, the scale of support for businesses, either straight support or through intermediaries, is counted in billions. Via business support, the companies, some of which are profitable and some of which are loss-making, can employ and develop their products and business models. Why is this so difficult to understand and admit about arts? How can art develop their “products”, their management models, their international outreach and their audience relationship and impact with the resources that are permanently undersized and on a level that just about keeps you alive but does not allow for a leap in scale and development? When will Finnish decision-makers understand the importance of a creative economy and an attractive culture in a post-industrial world where paper and pulp are replaced by cultural and intellectual capital and free and vibrant art as a necessity that supports and promotes democracy?


Koreografian koulutusohjelman blogi on keskustelun ja jakamisen paikka. Täällä koulutusohjelman opiskelijat, henkilökunta ja vierailijat kirjoittavat koreografiasta, opiskelusta, meneillään olevista projekteista, (tanssi)taiteesta ja sen ympäriltä.

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