SHIFT seminar 2015
International SHIFT seminar, the first provided by Finnish Art Agency, brought a wide range of European art professionals to Olympic Stadium, Helsinki in late October 2015, 29.10.–30.10. The seminar opened up cultural practices to Finnish and international audiences, who are interested in collaboration, internationalization and the possibilities of change in the cultural sector.
SHIFT seminar speakers included director Mark Devereux from Mark Devereux Projects, curator, producer and visual arts program manager at HOME (Greater Manchester Arts Centre) Bren O’Callaghan, as well as director and owner Maria Stenfors from Maria Stenfors gallery in London. Representatives from the Nordic countries included curator Cecilia Andersson straight from Bildmuseet, Stockholm/Umeå, Sweden, as well as freelance curator, publisher and the new director of Galleri Format Kjersti Solbakken from Oslo, Norway. We hear speeches also from Olga Krzeszowiec Malmsten, producer of Monday Art Project and curator at Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden, as well as from curator and founder of Finnish Art Agency Laura Köönikkä. In addition, on Thursday afternoon Suomi-Finlandi took over SHIFT. We heard straight talk about money, the necessity of making and breaking the old structures.
Speakers included producer and clothing designer Kaisa Riivari from #inland, who grew tired of empty words about internalisation and decided to act rather than talk. Director of Lönnström Art Museum Jenny Nybom told us what happens when a museum gives up its building and directs 100 000 euros straight to artists. We also heard film director, producer and founder of Tuffi Films Elli Toivoniemi what can one achieve with great different incentives. Tuomo Tähtinen, CEO at Music Finland ponders the importance of nationality in music exports. We will hear also talks from singer-songwriter Aino Venna as well as from Kirsi Korhonen, CEO at The Artist’ Association of Finland. The speeches will act as a fuel for a panel discussion, in which researchers Mikko Piispa (Taiteilijan elämänkulku project, The Finnish Youth Research Society) and senior researcher Pauli Rautiainen (Cupore, The Finnish Foundation for Cultural Policy Research) will also join.
Short pecha kucha presentations will bring their own inspiring addition to the SHIFT seminar programme. Click here to see the official seminar brochure.
Bren O’Callaghan, producer & curator
Producer, curator and artist-maker, currently visual arts programme manager at HOME (formerly Cornerhouse), Manchester’s international centre for independent cinema, performance and contemporary visual art. O’Callaghan works as a producer for HOME Artist Film, a unique development strand that facilitates, commissions, exhibits and distributes feature-length artist film. He also works as an independent curator and practitioner. O’Callaghan actively seeks opportunities to challenge, stimulate and engage audiences who might otherwise lack the confidence or knowledge required to access art in more formal settings. His own practice explores collaboration, interpretation, creative compulsion and the championing of ‘outsider’ enthusiasm in the face of a dense, theoretical miasma surrounding the discussion of cultural activity.
Bren O’Callaghan’s recent projects include: producer of artist Jamie Shovlin’s feature length hybrid documentary, Rough Cut (2013), a co-commission with Toronto International Film Festival; Curator, Cockadoodle: The Erogenous Art of Maurice Vellekoop (2014–2015); Director of the binaural adaption of cult classic Carnival of Souls featuring singer-songwriter Baby Dee (British Film Institute, 2015); Curator, #givemeeverythingandnothingbaby, recent work by Magda Archer (2015); Co-curator with Sarah Perks of AL and AL’s exhibition, film commission, live event and publication, Incidents of Travel in the Multiverse (HOME, Manchester, Feb – April 2016).
Cecilia Andersson studied photography at ICP in New York and holds a master’s degree in curating from Goldsmiths College, London (2002). In 2003 she initiated Werk, a platform for discussing the changing role of the artist in contexts of urban regeneration. Her interests are primarily concerned with the social function of art and include co-creation processes, interdisciplinary approaches and contextual challenges in terms of communication and presentation of artists’ works. She was the curator for Madrid Abierto 2009–2010 and has organised exhibitions at Moderna Museet (2004), The Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities (2008), The Swedish Museum of Architecture (2008) as a freelance curator, among others. She has been working at Tate and FACT, both in Liverpool. Her writing has been published extensively in various international journals, magazines and artist catalogues. Since November 2011 Cecilia is curator at Bildmuseet in Umeå, Sweden.
Kjersti Solbakken is a curator based in Oslo. Her most recent exhibitions are Handlingens Gang, Vestlandsutstillingen 2015, NAVIDAD/NAVidad, at Telemark Kunstsenter, 2015, Mined Soil by Filipa César at Hordaland Kunstsenter, 2014 and Biography by Elmgreen & Dragset at Astrup Fearnley Museet, 2014. She is currently appointed as the director of Galleri Format in Oslo. From 2014–2015 she was the director of Fotogalleriet in Oslo. In 2007 she co-founded the small press Feil forlag with Andreas Liebe Delsett where she in close collaboration with the artists has experimented with various formats and strategies of publishing ever since. She has also been co-organising Tekstallianse, a Nordic festival for imprints and small press publishers. From 2011–2013 she was the director of the non-profit project space Holodeck together with Lina Norell and Silja Leifsdottir where she has conducted a program of frequent exhibitions, launches and happenings. Education includes curatorial studies at Bergen Academy of Art and Design and The Academy of Fine Art in Oslo, Norway.
Maria Stenfors in London was founded in April 2010 and is located in the Kings Cross/Clerkenwell area of central London. The gallery represents 9 international emerging artists and has about seven solo and group exhibitions per year. The gallery aims to provide a platform for an intimate dialogue between space and material with the space itself playing a central role. Maria Stenfors moved to London in 1996, lived in Tokyo 1999–2001, after having studied art history, philosophy and classical archaeology at Stockholm University. Prior to opening up her own gallery, she worked for different galleries in Sweden and the UK.
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 programmes 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 programme for artists from throughout the UK.
Olga Krzeszowiec Malmsten is a Stockholm-based art editor and curator. She is one of the founders of Monday Art Project, a site, a project and a platform dedicated to studio conversations with emerging artists focusing on their artistic practice and method. Besides co-managing the Monday Art Project, she works at Moderna Museet in Stockholm, where she is the assistant curator of the upcoming retrospective with Yayoi Kusama.
Olga Krzeszowiec Malmsten’s recent projects include: editor of the internet based platform Monday Art Project (2013 – present), exhibition assistant/assistant curator at Moderna Museet (2014 – present), co-producer of the Royal Institute of Art Master Exhibition 2015, co-curator and organiser of the half day symposium Coming Across – Notes on Intercultural Translation (2015).
Folk, chanson and jazz with a tint of Scandinavian gloominess are some of the compounds that bring forth Helsinki based singer Aino Venna. Venna started her musical career as a solo performer in 2010, but soon a band formed around her. Their debut album Marlene received a great response from critics as well as audience, and Venna took her place in the new wave of the Finnish singer and songwriters. The album’s first single Suzette was awarded with Radio Helsinki’s Summer Hit title and played on National Radio, Radio Suomi top 40 over four months. Venna has been touring almost constantly for five years and has been performing on arenas such as Pori Jazz Festival and Savoy Theater in Helsinki. She also works with film, theater and performance art.
Elli Toivoniemi is the executive producer and co-founder of Tuffi Films, and an EAVE graduate of 2013. She has produced two feature fiction films, two feature documentaries and also a number of short films. Her films have been distributed, awarded and recognised in various countries and festivals such as TIFF, Sundance Film Festival, Berlinale, Locarno and the Academy Awards. Toivoniemi has been working as a programme manager at the Savonlinna’s International Nature Film Festival (SINFF) since 2012.
Jenny Nybom, MA, studied art history at Åbo Akademi University (1994–2002). She has worked as an exhibition secretary for Turku-based Titanik gallery (1999–2002), and after that as a project manager for NIFCA (Nordic Institute for Contemporary Art, Helsinki, 2003–2005) in which she took part in several international projects in contemporary art. Nybom has also worked as a curator for Turku Art Museum, where she managed two exhibition spaces, Studio and Pimiö, and was also responsible for the communications (2005–2012). From 2012, she has worked as the museum director of Lönnström Art Museums in Rauma.
Kaisa Riivari leads her own fashion brand RIIVARI and designs fashion collections twice a year, mainly to the Chinese markets. She is also a founder and a producer of #INLAND fashion project which gathers together talented, upcoming Finnish designers and showcases their brands to buyers and consumers internationally. Riivari believes firmly in the power of teamwork and rather doing than waiting!
Kirsi Korhonen is the CEO of The Artists’ Association of Finland. The Artists’ Association of Finland is a fine arts expertise and influential organisation that promotes the interest of 3 000 professional visual artists. Korhonen joined The Artists’ Association of Finland from Academy of Fine Arts, where she worked as communications manager. Prior to that she has worked as a communications manager at Frame Visual Art Finland, as a head of cultures in British Council as well as in sales and marketing in the field of literature. Korhonen has a master’s degree in arts.
Mikko Piispa is a researcher at the Finnish Youth Research Network. His research topics include arts, sports, graffiti, doping and drug use. His most recent study dealt with the life course of young artists and elite athletes. He has co-authored a book called Taiteilijan elämänkulku – tutkimus nuorista taiteilijoista 2000-luvun Suomessa (The artist’s life course – A Study on Young Artists in Finland in the 2000s), published in 2014. Piispa has also written widely on other issues related to the Finnish art world and cultural policy.
Pauli Rautiainen, Cupore
Pauli Rautiainen is a senior researcher at the Finnish Society for Cultural Policy Research, Cupore, where he leads a research for Arts Promotion Centre. Previoustly Rautiainen has worked for Arts Council of Finland and University of Tampere. Rautiainen’s educational background is in law, social politics and arts. In his doctoral dissertation he examined the legal regulations of activities limiting and promoting the artistic work of a visual artist.
Tuomo Tähtinen has been working with music for over 10 years. He began as a guitarist and a local club promoter, and have ever since taken on different managerial roles in independent and major record labels, working with renowned international and domestic artists. In 2008 Tähtinen joined Music Export Finland where he took care of communications and export projects in the UK and USA, later becoming acting executive director. In 2012, Music Export Finland was merged with the Finnish Music Information Centre to form Music Finland. Tähtinen was appointed as executive director in the organisation, which promotes and exports Finnish music internationally.