Friday, 26 September 2014

In the Media

The Institute picks interesting stories and news items every week from the worlds of art, culture and social study and presents them in the blog. This week the stories have been chosen by Taina Cooke.


Slow but steady devolution and the English question


Losing is never easy. Devoting years and years of your time to one endeavour and realising it didn’t pay off in the end can be soul crushing. Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland, learned this the hard way and appears to have done what all bad losers do: blame the game. After a well executed No campaign Salmond could’ve admitted the loss and even celebrated the gained result of a more autonomous future for Scotland, but instead he chose an alternative approach. Salmond decided the no-voters were ‘tricked’  and that Scotland could reach the inevitable, complete autonomy even without the silly referendum by simply unilaterally declaring independence after gaining enough powers. ‘Tricking’ the voters to tick the No box was apparently the result of a last-minute, dubious vow of more devolution by the Westminster leaders. According to Salmond, who is now stepping down as First Minister, the promises have already been dismissed.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

The Price of Awards

Kim Varstala from the Finnish Institute blogs about the effects awards have on the visibility of contemporary art and the future of art galleries. The text is a part of the institute’s new project: Visibility and Impact of Contemporary Art in Contemporary Society.

Throughout the 20th century, British artists kept gaining international recognition. By 2008, twelve of the top 50 living artists under the age of 50 were British. How was this rapid market success of British art possible? The answer is recognition through awards.

Friday, 19 September 2014

In the Media

The Institute picks interesting stories and news items every week from the worlds of art, culture and social study and presents them in the blog. This week the stories have been chosen by Maria Pirkkalainen.

Brutalism back in fashion


There probably isn’t a West Londoner without an opinion on the infamous Trellick Tower over at Golborne Road. It’s bold, tall, exposed with concrete and designed for the socially affordable future in the late 1960s as part of the British New Brutalism movement. After decades of bad press and demolitions, these brash concrete buildings are now back in style with more respect and admiration than ever.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Art and the Public


Dr Johanna Vakkari, the Finnish Institute’s Head of Arts & Culture, blogs about the institute’s new project: Visibility and Impact of Contemporary Art in Contemporary Society

“Try to imagine society without the humanising influence of the arts, and you will have to strip out most of what is pleasurable in life, as well as much that is educationally critical and socially essential.”
Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair of Arts Council England (The Value of Arts 2014)

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

‘Populism, Power and Place’: on Devolution and the Scottish Referendum

Taina Cooke from the Finnish Institute blogs about current issues of devolution and the Scottish referendum.


On Thursday 11th September Policy Network organized a breakfast seminar on ‘Populism, power and place’ in which the questions of Scottish referendum as well as devolution across the UK in a wider sense were discussed. Currently the UK’s democratic structure is centralised and the politics work predominantly from top to down. The potential of devolution, the transfer of power from a central government to local authorities, has nonetheless been recognised for a long time. The structure of UK’s local government underwent a significant reform in the 1990s but now, as a result of Scotland’s situation, the topic of devolution has surfaced yet again. Hope is pinned on devolution as the much-needed tool in promoting democracy, restoring trust in politics and tackling the drivers of populism.

Friday, 12 September 2014

In the Media


The Institute picks interesting stories and news items every week from the worlds of art, culture and social study and presents them in the blog. This week the stories have been chosen by Taina Cooke.


The mystery of Britain's lowering crime rate


Crime experts across the country are facing an unexpected, but positive dilemma: why is crime in the UK falling? Ian Cobain reports about the phenomenon in last week's Guardian and attempts to get to the bottom of it. Indeed, unlike the common man might think, statistics show that the total crime rate in the UK is lowering. The reported crime rate is currently lower than it has been for decades and it is not only the public that failed to see this coming, but it is the experts as well. No one really knows why crime in the UK seems to be falling, but a number of different theories exist.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Community Projects at King's Cross




Maija Bergström blogs about redevelopment of the King's Cross area. This is the third part of a series of posts about King’s Cross, the new home base of the Finnish Institute in London.

My previous post described what community projects are and how they can be of help when developing areas.


Professors Matti Kortteinen and Mari Vaattovaara - a sociologist and a geographer, respectively - from the University of Helsinki recently wrote in Helsingin Sanomat, a Finnish newspaper, about the advantages of local collaboration (1). They referred to a research by Michael Porter from Harvard Business School that points out how differences in dealing with unemployment and segregation have been tackled. The most successful areas managed to recognise local, unique strenghts, and use all resources and get them to work together; not only administration and strong businesses but also grassroot level actors such as local businesses, artists and universities.