IHME’s sustainable operating models shared in Finland and abroad


In 2020, there has been a great demand to address ecological issues in art and culture. IHME’s expertise and experience have attracted interest in other organizations. In Finland, IHME’s Executive Director and Eco-Coordinator have made presentations at several events: Helsinki Art Institutions for Equality seminar in January; Museum Sector Theme Days in October; and the Eco-seminar in November.

The story of IHME told at international conferences

Sustainable operating models have also been discussed in peer networks abroad. The Art Switch Foundation in Amsterdam and New York is holding a series of videoconferences titled [re]Framing the Arts: A Sustainable Shift. IHME’s Eco-Coordinator and Executive Director moderated the first part of the series, the Institutional Approaches to Sustainability seminar on 31 October 2020. The goal of Art/Switch is to create an international network of art institutions that share experiences of sustainable activities in the field of art.

As a member of the IKT International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art and one of the speakers, IHME’s Executive Director participated in this year’s IKT conference, held virtually due to the corona pandemic. The theme of the IKT 2020 Virtual Meeting on 17-18 October was “Sustainable Curating in Corona Times”. Toppila’s talk summed up IHME’s organizational shift towards being a more sustainable art institution. She also led a discussion session on the themes of her presentation and talked about future IHME Helsinki Commissions to be made in collaboration with the artists Jana Winderen and Katie Paterson.

Demand for Eco-Coordinator expertise

During 2020, in addition to IHME, the Eco-Coordinator has also worked part-time for three other art organizations: Frame Contemporary Art Finland; Mustarinda; and HIAP – Helsinki International Art Programme. Eco-Coordinator has also given presentations on carbon footprints or organizing environmental activities on the Finnish Museums Association‘s Words to Deeds course, the spring meeting of the Finnish Cultural and Academic Institutes, Annantalo Arts Centre development day, and a staff training day at EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art.

The environmental message has been carried forward by the media, too. The Eco-Coordinator has also been interviewed in the Finnland Magazin of the Swiss Association of Friends of Finland, and in the Estonian cultural magazine Sirp.

In Finland, IHME staff have participated in events run by Creasus ry, which promotes sustainable operating models in the creative industries. The Eco-Coordinator has also received help with carbon-footprint calculations from researchers at the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) and the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke). She recommends following the ORSI (Orchestrating for Systemic Impact) project, which has shared a lot of useful carbon-footprint information.