Why We All Need The Arts


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Tommi Laitio´s presentation on cultural youth work at MIMO conference in Helsinki on 9 October 2013.

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Why We All Need The Arts

  1. 1. Why we all need the arts - Cultural tools in youth work Tommi Laitio Director of Youth Affairs City of Helsinki
  2. 2. 600 000 residents 10-17yo: 41 000 13-17yo: 27 000 5 000 / age group
  3. 3. ”The capabilities approach starts from a very simple question: what are people really able to do and be? What real possibilities do they have?” - Martha Nussbaum: Creating Capabilities. The Human Development Approach.
  4. 4. 1. Default unit is a group
  5. 5. 2. Freedom to choose has intrinsic value
  6. 6. 3. We focus on doing things.
  7. 7. 4. Society is made of me and the others.
  8. 8. The Paradox of Youth Work Integrate Emancipate
  9. 9. Why the arts
  10. 10. Art is a way to change, claim and use your surroundings. Helsinki has gone from zero tolerance policy on street art to currently having eight permitted locations for street art. Most of them have started as an initiave of young people. Graffiti is becoming a thing parents try with their kids.
  11. 11. Nuorten valtakunnallinen teatterikatselmus Teatris, 24.–26.5.13 Arts is a tool to explore and broaden who you are by taking roles. National youth theatre event Teatris gathered 1000 performers and an audience of 16500 to the National Theatre this spring. Theatre is growing rapidly as a hobby in Finland. Most of the texts were written by young people.
  12. 12. Arts is a way to build hope. Tullaamo (Customs House) was a joint production of City of Helsinki and Helsinki Festival where 30 young people were offered a summer job to make art in a empty warehouse owned by the city. Most of them had no background in art. Tullaamo received tremendous national attention. Tullaamo was opened as an arts space for the general audience during Helsinki Festival, Finland´s biggest arts festival.
  13. 13. Artistic statements stir emotional responses. Together with contemporary arts festival IHME, we organised traffic sign workshops where young people made signs from real materials. The signs were installed on Helsinki Energy´s posts. The signs caused questions and debate in the media.
  14. 14. Helsinki invests heavily in cultural youth work as we see that: 1. cultural tools allow young people to deal with emotions and competencies in a safe environment 2. cultural expressions of young people are harder to bypass than statements, meetings and debates 3. cultural expression should not be a privilege but a right
  15. 15. Tommi Laitio Director City of Helsinki, Youth Department Hietaniemenkatu 9B PO BOX 5000, 00099 CITY OF HELSINKI (09) 310 89045 tommi.laitio (a) hel.fi tommilaitio.munstadi.fi twitter: tommilaitio