Past event News

Environmental crisis – from words to deeds in the field of art. Eco-seminar on Nov 19

Alma Heikkilä: these processes include plasticity, mutualistic symbiosis, and extinction, 2019. Contemporary Art Centre (CAC). Kuva: Andrej Vasilenko.

The environmental crisis is also a crisis of the artworld, requiring concrete action instead of mere words. The contemporary art organisations Frame Contemporary Art Finland, IHME Helsinki, Mustarinda and HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme are holding an open, free, one-day webinar Environmental Crisis – From Words to Deeds in the Field of Art on 19 November 2020.

The seminar will ask: How can we reduce climate emissions in the field of art? What can an individual art organization, curator or artist do? What can we do together? During the day, we will focus on concrete action: How can ecology be integrated into strategy and funding? How do we travel by land or calculate an organisation’s carbon footprint?

The seminar day begins with a welcome from Minister of the Environment Krista Mikkonen. Then, Mari Pantsar, Director of The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra’s Carbon neutral circular economy theme, talks about the seriousness of the environmental crisis and why everyone is needed to solve it. The keynote speech will be given by Graciela Melitsko Thornton, the leader of Creative Green Programme at Julie’s Bicycle, a pioneer in promoting environmental issues in the cultural sector. She will describe the steps needed to achieve carbon neutrality in an art organisation, with concrete examples.

The organisers of the seminar will share what they have done over the years to reduce their own emissions in international modern art and residencies. Also speaking will be Head of Helsinki Biennial Jonna Hurskainen and environmental coordinator of the Biennial Kiira Kivisaari as well as visual artists Alma Heikkilä and Antti Majava.

The online seminar is aimed at art institutions, artists and other artworld actors. It will benefit anyone interested in the state of the environment and in taking concrete climate action in their own work or organisation.

“Culture and the arts have an essential role in reframing our relationship with our ecology, becoming a crucial stakeholder in the global mission to take positive climate action. Creativity and activism help culture steward the transformation we need” — Alison Tickell.

“Climate change will alter our lives decisively in the future. The sustainability crisis is affecting operating environments in Finland and globally. The artworld is no exception”  — Saara Korpela.


Register for the seminar using the online form at, you will then be e-mailed a Zoom link for the event on the day. Sign up by the 17 November latest.

The event will be broadcast live on Thursday, 19 November 2020 from 9 am to 5 pm on Zoom. The seminar language will be mostly Finnish. Two presentation are in English. Videos, summaries and their translations of the speeches and the summaries in Finnish and English can be found on IHME Helsinki’s YouTube channel.



9:00 Opening remarks (in Finnish)
Paula Toppila, Executive Director, IHME Helsinki
Raija Koli, CEO, Frame Contemporary Art Finland

9:15 Greeting by the Minister of Environment (in Finnish) 
Krista Mikkonen, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change

9:35 Why is it necessary to take climate action? (in Finnish) 
Mari Pantsar, Director, Carbon Neutral Circular Economy, Sitra

9:50 Discussion and questions

9:55 Break

10:00 Towards a new cultural ecology
Graciela Melitsko Thornton, Leader of Creative Green Programme, Julie’s Bicycle (in English)

10:30 Discussion and questions

11:00 Do we need explorers?
Jana Winderen, sound artist, IHME Helsinki commission 2020 

11:10 – 11:20 Discussion and questions

11:30-12:30 Lunch break

12:30 Ecologically sustainable curation and production (in Finnish) 
Paula Toppila, Executive Director and Curator, IHME Helsinki

12:45 Slow and ecological travel (in Finnish) 
Juha Huuskonen, Director, HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme

13:00 Together on the hill – care and hospitality as a tool for more ecological residency practice (in Finnish) 
Sanna Ritvanen, Active member, Mustarinda

13:15 Environmental actions of an art museum (in Finnish) 
Jonna Hurskainen, Head of Helsinki Biennial, HAM Helsinki Art Museum, and Kiira Kivisaari, environmental coordinator, Helsinki Biennial, HAM Helsinki Art Museum

13:30 Internationality, funding and the environment (in Finnish) 
Raija Koli, CEO, Frame Contemporary Art Finland

13:45 Discussion and questions

14:00 – 14:30 Coffee break

14:30 Artist’s practice and opportunities to choose (in Finnish) 
Alma Heikkilä, visual artist and Antti Majava, visual artist

14:50 The carbon footprint of an art organization (in Finnish)
Saara Korpela, Eco-Coordinator, IHME, Frame, HIAP and Mustarinda

15:05 Discussion and questions

15:15 Summary and instructions for the group discussions

15:20 Break

15:25 Group discussions (preliminary registration has ended, the groups are full)

16:25 The way forward. Summary of working-group discussions

16:45 Closing remarks


The video documentations of the speeches and the summaries in Finnish and English >>

The programme is subject to change.