The year 2020: The Finnish Cultural and Academic Institutes organized over 800 events and reached an audience of over 2,2 million

The activities of the 17 Finnish cultural and academic institutes reached a total of over 2,2 million people in 2020. The ongoing covid-19 pandemic had a large impact on the institutes as the number of events and audiences declined with a third compared to the previous year. However, the exceptional year brought with it new practices and ways of coping. Most of the events organized by the institutes were moved online, which resulted in the possibility of reaching a more international audience outside of the institute’s operating area.

In the spring of 2020 the institute network launched a joint open call under the name of Together Alone. The aim of the program was to support artists’ income during the crisis and to ensure the continuation of international cooperation in the different artistic fields. The project was funded though means that had become available due to other cancelled events. In total 20 projects were commissioned through the open call and by the end of the year these had reached a total of approximately 274 000 people (over 258 000 on social media, approximately 14 000 live or online viewers and around 1 800 participants). Together Alone will be continued in 2021.

The institute’s 2020 statistics in a nutshell: 

  • 773 announced events (1 360 separate performances)
  • An audience of over 2 million through the institute’s own programming
  • Over 4 000 participants
  • Additionally 20 commissioned Together Alone projects that reached an audience of 274 000 people
  • Operations in 26 countries
  • At least 32% of events carried out partially or fully online
  • Over 460 collaborators

During the year 2020 the institutes offered their audiences: 

  • 236 publications (e.g. blog posts, podcast episodes, books, catalogues)
  • 112 exhibitions
  • 97 discussion events (136 separate meetings)
  • 80 movie showings (284 separate showings)
  • 76 presentations or lectures (a total of 110 presentations)
  • 62 conferences, seminars or colloquiums
  • 52 residences
  • 39 other events (73 separate events)
  • 41 concerts (49 performances)
  • 38 theatre, dance, circus or other performances (93 separate events)
  • 23 workshops (62 events)
  • 24 courses
  • 19 introductions of an institute
  • 17 reading events (18 separate events)
  • 16 networking events
  • 7 participations in fairs
  • 3 expert visits


Most operational activities by the institutes were during 2020 due to the exceptional situation carried out online. The digital exhibition Nouvelle Saison, organized by the Finnish Institute in France, reached a total of 6 087 viewers. It featured works by eight Finnish designers and artists who are representing the next generation’s direction of style within the field of design. The exhibition was curated by Hannakaisa Pekkala and Milla Vaahtera, founders of UU Market. Photo: Veera Mietola 


The 43 posts on the blogs Lähi-Itä NYT and Paikan päällä, facilitated by the Finnish Institute in the Middle-East (FIME), reached 16 863 readers. Authors of the guest blog are familiar with developments in the Middle-East through the lens of their research, work or hobbies. During the year FIME also launched a podcast under the name Lähi-Itä NYT, of which four episodes were released during the fall. The aim of the podcast is to offer help to understand the Middle-East today. For example, topics of climate change in the countries surrounding the Persian Gulf and how the dating culture has changed in Egypt during the course of one generation were discussed. Photo: Shutterstock/savas_bozkaya 


A series of lectures named Finnish Culture and Art in the Hermitage Magazine #30/2020, produced by Hermitage Magazine and the Finnish Institute in St. Petersburg, reached an enormous audience. The lectures were live-streamed on the social media accounts of the Eremitage, including Facebook, VKontakt, Odnoklassniki, and the museum’s YouTube channel where they are still on view. A total of 315 529 people have listened to the director of the institute’s, Sani Kontula-Webb’s, lecture titled Albert Edelfelt – the emissary of Finnish culture and the exhibition Albert Edelfelt and the Romanovs that was on view at the Sinebrychoff Art Museum was seen by 20 000 people. Photo: Anna Kalduzova


In August four video works produced as a response to the exceptional times caused by the coronavirus pandemic were shown on the LED-screen of Musiikkitalo in Helsinki. The works were commissioned by the network of Finnish Cultural and Academic Institutes’ Together Alone open call. The works displayed included In-between by Anna Nykyri and her working group, the short-film H-ome by dancer-choreographer Emrecan Tanisin, artist Mikki Nordman’s World Wide Window: Agnus Mundi and artist Yassine Khaled’s Monitor Man in The Time of Pandemic. The event gathered an audience of 320 people. The works have also been on view online where they by the end of the year 2020 had been seen by approximately 4 900 viewers. Around 105 000 people had interacted with the works through social media. Photo: Katja Tähjä


The network of Finnish Cultural and Academic Institutes 
The network of Finnish Cultural and Academic Institutes consists of 17 institutes operating in different areas of the world, Each institute is an independent organization devoted to the international mobility, visibility and collaboration of Finnish art, culture and academia. Each institute is upheld by an independent foundation, fund or association that guides the goals and practices of the institute in question.

The basic funds for the institutes and the Finnish Cultural and Academic Institutes Ltd. comes from the ministry of education and culture. In addition the institutes may receive project-based funding from other foundations, businesses or national and international collaborators within the fields of culture and academia. In Finland the institutes collaborate with cultural info centers and communications organizations as well as with universities and other institutions.

The Finnish Cultural and Academic Institutes Ltd. (SKTI) aims to strengthen the different institutes and the collaboration between their upholding organizations in addition to supporting the institutes in matters related to communication, lobbying and administration. SKTI gathers information of the institute’s activities on a yearly basis and compiles statistics of the operations based on the numbers reported by the institutes.