SHIFT mentoring programme 2015

Now when the new SHIFT mentoring programme is about to start, Finnish Art Agency would like to go a bit back and share few experiences from the participants of the previous programme. The purpose of SHIFT is to provide tailored support for developing professional artists’ careers. In August 2015 nine participants were chosen to take part and the last meeting was held in the end of February 2016. We asked our participants what did they learn and how did feel about the programme, you can read the original posts from here, here, here and here.

The artists participating in SHIFT mentoring programme 2015 were Erika Adamsson, Hanna Kanto, Kristiina Uusitalo, Mia Damberg, Tiina Kivinen, Santeri Sarkola, Julia Weckman, Elina Aho and Kaija Hinkula.

New-found courage
The importance of external advice and guidance was one of the most common things mentioned among the participants. Second opinions, exchanging ideas and information for new perspectives were considered essential. Participants felt that they had gained more courage; taking more action and initiative to contact curators and other actors in the field was not considered as difficult than before. It takes courage to ask for help and make connections to benefit your own artistic practice.

SHIFT seminar 2015 and one-to-one meetings with FAA
A good break from artists’ otherwise isolated and even lonely work was the SHIFT seminar held in October 2015. In SHIFT seminar artists could learn more about curators’ and producers’ work through different examples from an international perspective. Interactions evoked responses and continuous discussions.

The artists state that they received help they didn’t even think they needed. Some practical examples of what Finnish Art Agency offered through one-to-one meetings with artists: constructive feedback, keeping up with the exhibition application deadlines, portfolio and exhibition concept reviews, advice for website content and social media, help with learning how to ask for proper fees for commissioned work etc.

“Due to the mentoring programme, I have been thinking more about what does it actually mean to be an artist and in what should I concentrate more in my work” states photographer Santeri Sarkola.

Now we’re looking forward to SHIFT mentoring programme vol. 2 and working with the new artists chosen. Thank you all and good luck!


Hanna Kanto, Explorers, 2015, 99 x 119 cm, acrylic on canvas
Hanna Kanto, Observatööri, 2015, 105 x 140 cm, acrylic on canvas