Participating youth – A risk or an opportunity?

Annantalo Arts Centre is a member of the European Network of Art Organisations for Children and Young People (EUnetART) and will be hosting the event in Finland, along with EUnetART and Finnish Aladdin’s Lamp network, which enhances children's art education in Finland. This year’s festival will be held in partnership with the City of Helsinki, Passion2 seminar organized by Annantalo Arts Centre with Pedaali Association and various art institutions from the Capital region.

The conference will be preceded by the SpringLab. This is highlighted by the participation of ISH group from Holland, who will work with groups of Finnish children from Vantaa Mikkola School and have presentations for the results of their project on Saturday, 5th May in Tikkurila lukio hosted by the Cultural Services of Vantaa City.

While it might be true to say that the youth culture today lacks a steady footing, particularly in relation to art, listening to the director of Annantalo Arts Centre, Johanna Lindstedt, during an interview last Friday gave a broader overview of the reality of art and creativity even among children and youth in Helsinki region. It also paved way to recognise other creative activities that are taking place in other towns around Finland.

The Aladdin’s Lamp (Taikalamppu in Finnish) was launched six years ago and has managed to touch upon many aspects of children and art in Finland, and also forms a network that offers funding to pilot projects that target children and youth. So far there are many towns that have inaugurated the Aladdin’s Lamp, among which are Helsinki, Vantaa, Pori, and Hämeenlinna. These form a network that shares and implements ideas that strengthen the growth of children and youth art work in Finland.

My interest had been growing over the weeks regarding arts participation of young people in Helsinki region. Living in Helsinki metropolitan and being witness to the idleness of many youth gives one thoughts of what is not being done to occupy these youths, and what can be done to indulge them in something worthwhile, even useful for their future. This year's EUnetART festival offers an opportunity for participants, personnel of culture and education, along with teachers of children and people, to learn the success of others, adapt new ways of involving youth and children in art and cultural activities and also motivate them into new endeavours of their choice.