SHIFT mentoring 2016

SHIFT mentoring program 2016

SHIFT mentoring program offers personal career coaching and workshops by external experts. Compared to the pilot program held in 2015, the 2016 mentoring program was substantially richer and wider.

Six artists were chosen upon the received applications. The artists participating in SHIFT mentoring program 2016 were Eija Hakkola, Jaakko Himanen, Eeva Honkanen, Mika Hytti, Mari Keto and Sirkku Ketola. The aim of the program is to provide tailored support for developing artists’ careers, for example by helping and planning the organizing of exhibitions, setting long-term goals and creating international contacts. We were looking for visual artists who are motivated to push their career forward and set concrete goals for their actions. The mentoring program is firmly confidential.

The mentoring appointments took place in the Finnish Art Agency office (Lemminkäisenkuja 3, 00100 Helsinki), in artists’ studios as well as other agreed meeting places. For further information, please contact Darja Zaitsev darja(at)

Program structure
The program includes three personal one-to-one meetings, joint workshops and two group meetings. During the program both parties will actively keep in touch with each other. SHIFT mentoring program will start with a group meeting in which we will focus on the program content and structure, and get an overview idea of every artist’s work and experiences. The personal one-to-one meetings will be tailored to fit the coachees individual requirements, and the aim is to find the best possible solutions for every artist’s career and situation. Both the artist and the mentor will commit in preparing the issues raised in the meetings also outside the appointment times.

In addition to group and personal meetings, the program includes workshops and sessions held by external experts, curators, communication, writing and performing professionals. The workshops themes include international relations, written expression and verbalizing one’s work, performance and self-expression and delivery and communication with the media.*

1300 € (+ 24% VAT)
Course fee can be paid in two sets.

Mentors and external professionals

Mark Devereux is director of Mark Devereux Projects in Manchester, UK. Prior to this, he was founder, director and curator of Blank Media Collective in Manchester, UK from 2006–2012. Devereux has curated over 100 exhibitions, working with more than 250 artists nationally and internationally. He has published four books and facilitated numerous events and professional development programs for artists. Devereux supports the practices of seven early-career artists based in the UK through bespoke mentoring, production and curatorial projects, alongside an associate program for artists from throughout the UK. Home page Mark Devereux will be advising participants with international relations and connections.

Independent curator Maija Kasvinen is interested in society and tries through her work break barriers between different disciplines. She believes in insight and experience and tries to achieve these through art. Kasvinen moved to Paris in 2005 and has been studying and working e.g. in Russia ever since. She graduated from Stockholm University with curating art as her major. She also holds an exam in economics. Kasvinen was working as curator of public arts and running the Vantaa Art Museum in years 2013-2015. In the beginning of 2016 Kasvinen became the chair person in SKY ry (the association for Finnish curators).

Venla Pystynen is a freelance journalist and a nonfiction author who is specialized in story based journalism. She writes regularly to Helsingin Sanomat, Kuukausiliite, Gloria and Trendi magazines. Previously she has been working as a producer and a reporter for newspapers, magazines and radio. At the moment she is writing a book about mental illness and their heritability. She plays the guitar in an indie band called Debbiefox.

Max Ryynänen is a Helsinki-based philosopher of art. He has published in a variety of international art journals including Flash Art International, Art Pulse, Kunstkritikk and Atlantica Internacional. He has been the founding member of two grass root galleries in Helsinki, ROR gallery in the beginning of the 2000s and Kallio Kunsthalle at the turn of the 2010s. As a scholar Ryynänen has lately focused on the instrumental role of the body in contemporary art, audiovisual abject art and outsider philosophers. He is the Chair of the Finnish Society of Aesthetics. Home page Max Ryynänen will be helping participants with written expression and verbalizing one’s work.

The founder of Finnish Art Agency, Laura Köönikkä (MA in art history), is a Helsinki-based curator with over ten years of experience in culture sector. She has been coordinating various national and international projects as a curator and a producer, for example with Kunsthall Grenland in Norway and Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo in Japan. Köönikkä was the curator for international art magazine FAT Finnish Art Today (2013–2014), and the curator and commisioner for Finnish Pavilion in Venice Biennale (2011). Previously Köönikkä has been working as the artistic director of FRAME Finnish Fund for Art Exchange (2010–2011), chief curator at Tampere Art Museum and TR1 Kunsthalle (2009–2010) and curator at Pori Art museum (2003–2009). She is also a member of Finnish Young Artist of the Year committee.

Darja Zaitsev has an MA in Clothing Design from the University of Lapland (2012). Previously Zaitsev has been working as a freelance curator and a researcher at e.g. Jyväskylä art museum, and her own K6A6 hallway gallery. Currently Zaitsev is studying Curating, Managing and Mediating Art (CuMMA) at Aalto University in Helsinki, where her interests lie in art world structures, working conditions and culture policies. Zaitsev has been working as an assistant curator in Finnish Art Agency since the beginning of 2015. She has been assisting in different artist collaborations, exhibition projects, and the SHIFT mentoring program and seminar.

Finnish Art Agency’s first SHIFT mentoring program was launched in September 2015. There were nine (9) visual artists chosen to participate, each in different stage of their artistic career. The program was launched based on demands coming from artists.

Finnish Art Agency was founded in 2013 as an agency for internationally oriented Finnish artists, as the demand for mediating actors in the visual art scene is increasing. FAA supports and advises its customers actively in their different projects and develops new patterns of collaboration and production. Finnish Art Agency’s task is to ease the communication between the artists and cooperators so that the joint projects can be completed successfully. The agency searches and contacts agents, introduces and brings together artists and institutions. Apart from single visual artists, FAA’s clients include museums, universities, organizations and offices in several sectors. The agency’s collaboration with artists and museums is based upon fostering and nurturing the national and the international networks, thus actively mapping out work opportunities for artists. Finnish Art Agency’s task is to be a forerunner in a field where there are practically no equivalent actors.


SHIFT mentoring program 2017
SHIFT mentoring program 2016
SHIFT mentoring program 2015
SHIFT seminar 29.–30.10.2015