SHIFT mentoring 2017

SHIFT mentoring program 2017

Finnish Art Agency’s SHIFT mentoring program offers personal career coaching, meetings and workshops with external experts. The mentoring program was organized for the first time in 2015. Based on the two-year experience the program is substantially richer and wider.

Six artists were chosen upon the received applications. The artists participating in SHIFT mentoring program 2017 were Päivi Allonen, Jenny Cashmore, Anu Kauhaniemi, Elina Salonen, Silja Selonen, and Tamara Piilola. 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 particularly motivated and committed to push their career forward and set concrete goals for their actions. SHIFT mentoring program is firmly confidential.

SHIFT mentoring program appointments and meetings will take place in Finnish Art Agency’s office (Lemminkäisenkuja 3, 00100 Helsinki), in artists’ studios as well as other agreed meeting places. For further information, please contact curator Darja Zaitsev darja(at)

Program structure
SHIFT mentoring program comprises of one-to-one meetings with Finnish Art Agency, joint group meetings with other participating artists and FAA, and one-to-one meetings and workshops with external advisors. Every artist will also be interviewed for Finnish Art Agency’s online interviews. During the program artists and mentors will actively keep in touch with each other. The importance of communication is further emphasized when the program progresses.

The one-to-one meetings are tailored to fit the coachees individual requirements. The aim of the program 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 one-to-one meetings with external advisors (curators, experts in communication and writing, sales and marketing professionals, and professionals from the museum field). Personal meetings and workshops themes vary from international relations to written self-expression, from verbalizing one’s work to communication with the media, and from marketing and sales to codes and conducts in the museum field. SHIFT mentoring program external advisors are introduced below.

The schedule of the workshops and meetings with external advisors will be announced for selected participants in the beginning of 2017.

3000€ (+ VAT 24%)
Course fee can be paid in instalments.

External advisors

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 five early-career artists based in the UK through bespoke mentoring, production and curatorial projects, alongside an associate program for artists from throughout the UK.

Satu Nurmio works as the editor-in-chief for culture in the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE). Nurmio is a music enthusiast and contemporary art fan who loves to travel. As a journalist Nurmio is specialized in contemporary art, culture politics and urban culture. Under Nurmio’s lead the editorial team has been specializing in taking advantage of different forms of new media, social media and internet news coverage. She holds a master’s degree in multimedia from Tampere University, where she also minored in Art History and International Politics.

Mike Pinnington has been content editor at Tate Liverpool since 2013. Coordinating and delivering a coherent interpretation and information strategy relating to Tate Liverpool’s contemporary and modern art program, he is responsible for shaping the way the institution talks to its audience both in and beyond the gallery. Prior to that he co-founded The Double Negative magazine with Laura Robertson in 2011, which is a respected platform for contemporary arts criticism and practice from across the UK. He is a trained journalist who has written freelance for The Art Newspaper, The Guardian, Aesthetica Magazine, Garageland Magazine, a-n and Creative Tourist, and co-wrote and edited The Designist (2012). Pinnington has guest lectured at various universities.

Laura Robertson is a freelance arts critic for national and international art magazines ArtReview, Art Monthly, a-n news, and Frieze. She co-founded The Double Negative magazine with Mike Pinnington in 2011, which is a respected platform of contemporary arts criticism and practice from across the UK. She is the author/editor of two books: On Being Curious: New Critical Writing on Contemporary Art From the North-West of England (2016), and The Designist (2012), and teaches arts writing and professional practice at various art schools. Robertson has curated exhibitions at UK organisations Tate Modern, Victoria Gallery and Museum, Exhibition Research Centre (Liverpool John Moores University) and at Bau (Centre Universitari de Disseny, Barcelona). She is trustee of The Royal Standard Gallery & Studios and the Artist Teacher Association.

Katja Räisänen is a passionate visual arts consultant specialising in contemporary art. She has over 15 years of experience in art education and art business, and has worked closely with several Finnish and international young and established artists, as well as designers. Most recently, she worked at the leading Finnish contemporary art gallery, Galerie Forsblom, where she was responsible for sales, marketing, PR as well as events and international art fairs. Prior to that, she worked as an art teacher at various schools and institutions. She holds a master’s degree in arts from University of Lapland, where she majored in Art Education.

Pirkko Siitari is currently working as an acting head of exhibitions at HAM Helsinki Art Museum. She works also as general secretary of Ars Fennica Foundation. She is the former director of Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art (2010–2015) where she also worked as a chief curator in 2008–2010. In the years 2004–2008 she was the director of Kerava Art Museum and 1999–2004 she worked as the chief curator of Finnish Museum of Photography in Helsinki. In the 1990s she worked as the director of Northern Photographic Centre in Oulu for nine years.

Finnish Art Agency mentors
The founder of Finnish Art Agency, Laura Köönikkä (MA in art history), is a Helsinki based curator with over ten years of experience in art 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 University of Lapland (2012). Previously Zaitsev has been working as a freelance curator and a researcher at e.g. Jyväskylä Art Museum, the Craft Museum of Finland, and her own K6A6 hallway gallery. Currently Zaitsev is finishing her studies in Curating, Managing and Mediating Art (CuMMA) at Aalto University in Helsinki. Zaitsev has been working as a curator in Finnish Art Agency since 2015, and dealing with 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. International SHIFT seminar, organized in the end of October 2015, was also included in the program. Based on the needs coming from artists, Finnish Art Agency decided to organize another version of the mentoring program in 2016. There were six (6) motivated artists chosen.

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 co-operation patterns and operation models. It is Finnish Art Agency’s task to ease the communication between the artists and cooperators so that the joint projects can be carried out successfully. The agency searches and contacts agents and actors on the field, and introduces and brings together artists and institutions. 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 visual artists. It is Finnish Art Agency’s task 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