Pauli Sivonen, the director of the Serlachius Museums, who is strongly involved in the Tampere and Pirkanmaa Capital of Culture search, says that he has read a total of 150 applications for the Capital of Culture.
“I have to say that the role of the region and Pirkanmaa in the TampereRegion2026 project is perhaps the most emphasized in the history of the European Capitals of Culture I am familiar with”, Sivonen praises.
Reading experience of Sivonen is unique in Finland. He is still the only Finn who has been a member of the jury that selects the European Capitals of Culture.
“This project has been made strongly regional from the beginning; we have toured the municipalities in the area diligently and got excellent projects to promote from there”, he says.
Meetings every Friday
At this stage of the bid for the Capital of Culture, the municipal cultural managers gather every Friday. Invitation is made by Maria Peräinen, the municipal coordinator of the search. He admits that right now the municipalities are in a bit of a waiting phase.
“This is due, firstly, to the corona and, secondly, to not really knowing what will happen next. Many municipalities are waiting for a decision or at least we need information about what kind of program they will have in the book / cultural program”, says Peräinen.
Tuula Jokinen, the cultural executive of Virrat, also raises the profile of municipalities.
“It is very important for small localities that they too are visible in the context of this project, both from a cultural and tourism perspective. Places to visit and attractions and events should be easily accessible, so information and marketing are very important”, she says.
Pauli Sivonen encourages municipalities to look past the “program numbers” of individual municipalities towards common goals. According to Sivonen, the title of Capital of Culture can bring something significant to Pirkanmaa at its best:
“Something that is more than the sum of the individual municipalities involved in the application. It is especially important that Tampere and the participating municipalities do not just look at it from their own established perspectives or as a marketing project for their own cultural events. In our programming work, we have sought to create and take forward projects that several municipalities would do together and thus spread throughout the province. However, we have a long tradition of doing cultural work in the area within individual municipal agencies, in the cultural bubbles of individual municipalities. Now is the time to take advantage of the synergies made possible by ECoC, ”says Sivonen.
He adds European dimension to this discussion.
“Although Europe represents something big and distant to us at first glance, in addition to the big metropolises, it consists of small towns, municipalities and villages similar to Pirkanmaa. Effective regional cooperation is European at its best. ”
What, then, can the title of Capital of Culture bring to the municipality of Pirkanmaa at its best? Nokia’s cultural coordinator Pia Keltti summarizes the possibilities into big themes:
“Our goal is to highlight the multidimensional nature of culture as an enhancer of the lives of our citizens and the city by improving the quality of life and equality of our residents through culture, organizing high quality programs for all ages, creating joint projects, growing networks and deepening or promoting collaboration between residents and experts.”