Helsinki Urban Art

Helsinki Urban Art is a non-governmental organisation specialised in urban art that I was founding in the beginning of 2017. The purpose of the association is to make art that enlivens urban environments in Helsinki as well as in other cities in Finland and abroad. We introduce new ways of using urban space, create participatory urban culture and solve problems by means of art and activism.

Helsinki Urban Art was created on the basis of the More Street Art in Helsinki -project that created several street art pieces in 2016 which enlivened the urban environment. Helsinki Urban Art expands this activity and brings even more art and more versatile forms of art into the urban space.

Helsinki Urban Art is formed by a group of professionals in visual arts, community arts and urban activism. Involving the communities and respecting the special characteristics of the places is important to us: we want the art that we create to really work in its environment and to suit the needs of the locals. Our team has a lot of experience in producing large murals, different sized street art pieces as well as coordinating large participatory art projects and different urban events. We also collaborate with many people working in the field of urban art both in Finland and abroad.





Social Innovators Connected

The idea for the Social Innovators Connected network came up in a seminar arranged in Copenhagen, where I met other nordic activist, collectives and grass-root actors. I noticed how many ideas and ethusiastic people there were in neighbouring countries, and yet we didn’t know anything about each other. And so we often end up making the same mistakes and re-invent the wheel over and over again. This is what I wanted to change. And so, in a coffee shop in Copenhagen, Social Innovators Connected was founded.

Social Innovators Connected brings together European makers of social innovations and events both online and in the real world. The network, started by me at the end of 2013, had its first conference in Helsinki 3.-6.9.2014, arranged by Yhteismaa. SIC!2014 Helsinki conference offered social innovators, grass-root actors, urban activists, communities and collectives an opportunity to build networks, learn from one another, share ideas and come together to solve global issues.

The conference in Helsinki was a starting point for a more broad, international collaboration and in 2015 similar conferences were arranged in Riga and Rome. Additionally, there was a networking trip to Sweden, Norway and Denmark organised for the Finnish makers. In case there will be funding, the network is going to arrange similar conferences to strengthen and develop the movement of innovations in Europe, to create multicultural dialogue and to make international co-operation possible.  



Mole the Activist

I travel a lot, but don’t really take pictures of the traditional tourist sights, because everyone has already seen so many pictures of them. But what if you would combine them with something new and interesting?

Mole the Activist started with an idea I had while walking around in a flea market. On one of the tables, there was a little Mole key chain for sale, that was spreading his arms. I came up with an idea to combine this famous, smiling figure with somewhat different messages and activism.

I turned a grilling skewer into a stick, dug out a piece of cardboard from the trash and started crafting signs that Mole could use to protest against different social problems and fight for the rights of the less-fortunate. Mole the Activist travelled with me in Helsinki and throughout Europe to see the sights and protest for the local problems.


Encounters. People, Stories and Flavours from the Neighbour

What do you get, when you combine Russia with storytelling, photography book and a cook book?

Encounters. People, stories and flavours from the neighbour is a Finnish-Russian project that focuses on normal Russian people, their everyday life, food culture and stories. We travel to different parts of Russia from March until August, and at the end of 2016, this trip will be turned into a book and an exhibition.

Encounters got started from the need to give the voice to normal Russians in a time where the media only gives us stories of big political events and often brings us only negative news. By doing this, the project will also increase people’s understanding and broadens their minds about Russia.

The project will take place in five different areas, Krasnodar, Murmansk, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk and Kazan. The areas were chosen because of their geographical and cultural diversity: they are all located in different parts of Russia and have their own distinctive cultures.

The project team includes  Jaakko Blomberg, Jyrki Tsutsunen, Aleksandra Nenko, Anton Polski, Maria Niemi and a few Russian photographers. The main foundation for the project is given by Kone Foundation and its main collaborator is Cultura Foundation.







Cities in Transition

Together we create the city of tomorrow, starting today. Our cities are in transition. Also, the role the city fulfils in our society is changing. We connect people that are actively engaged in the livability of their cities. We call them City Makers – an honourable title.

This is how the Cities in Transition-project, founded in The Netherlands, describes itself. “The city makers” have an active role in shaping the urban life. This has been recognized also nationally, which is why in The Netherlands a nationwide City Makers-network was created, and people in this network are supported in many ways. Now one City Maker from every capital of every EU country has been invited to extend this idea to the entire European Union and to plan a EU City Maker Agenda. I was chosen to represent Helsinki, and I’m excited to see what we will achieve together.



Better Prints

The world is full of clothes and bags that no one wants to use. They are, however, already there, so how could you make better use out of them? By creating a better print on them, of course.

The idea of tuning used clothes into something new had been on my mind for some time. As we travelled the Nordic countries during the SIC! on Rails-trip, it made sense to do something useful while we were there and put words into action. At the workshops called Better Prints Without Borders, which were organized on the streets, anyone could print themselves a t-shirt or a bag with the text “Without Borders” or “No Borders” in English or in the local language. These free workshops have so far been organized in Gothenburg, Helsingborg, Malmö and Copenhagen.

Better Prints was also a part of a project called Valtaajat (Intruders, in English), which was organized by Yhteismaa and an organization called Tatsi ry. This project organized a two-week course aimed for unemployed young people, who during the course learned about different printing methods, designed their own prints and printed them.