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February 22-27, 2002

St Petersburg City Administration and creative sector enterprise representatives spent one week on the study tour in Helsinki. Above the stimulating informal introduction and good informative program of the study tour, it was also useful for international cooperation development and pilot projects elaboration.

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Helsinki Study Programme. February 2002

We saw in Helsinki the response to the situation that arose in Europe in the mid 90s as a result of common economic factors and falling subsidies for culture. As in America, European cultural institutions had to learn to earn money. Happily - unlike America - the European institutions were not thrown on the whims of fate: the most important of them were granted help in the form of training for cultural managers who became able to cope with business issues, while the most outstanding business projects received notable financial support in the form of investment funding valued in millions. Special work was undertaken with those heading cultural departments in central and local government to prepare them for work in the new conditions. Underlying the cultural policy of Helsinki's city government is clear recognition that culture is an important sector of the economy, where investment yields returns that may not always be direct, but is important in the shape of the positive 'image' of the city, the favourable investment climate it creates, the jobs it generates - especially for young people - and the lowering of social tension. In Helsinki we studied projects linked to the creative industries, which had received support from Europe, the Finnish government or the city of Helsinki.

Glass Palace

Some 9 million Euros were invested by the city and national government along with the Council of Europe in the reconstruction and equipment of the building as the city cultural centre focused on new media. On the basis of this, the Centre began to earn independently through tenancies and its educational and cultural programme. A flexible pricing policy is operated: some activities are charged for, other popular services are provided free, while the restaurant and a number of cafes operate normal market prices. The Glass Palace's cultural policy was notably well balanced. The influence of cultural policy was seen in the fact that the centre's concept is closely linked with its own immediate past (it was built in 1936 to serve the Helsinki Olympic Games in 1940, that failed to take place due to the Second World War) and that this public function is continued with preference being given to high-level events related in general to Finnish media art. There is a state-of-the-art 600-seat film auditorium, and an education and information complex comprising the central city library with free internet access. These elements are supported by a number of small businesses in appropriate spheres: small music shops, a specialist book printer, small art bookshops and cafes. Glass Palace has annually two million visitors.

Tennis Palace

Up-front investment also made possible the development of new life for a former sports complex. The business element is provided by a cinema multiplex with 14 screens and 2700 seats, while the upper floors provide spacious premises for exhibitions organised as the city-centre headquarters of Helsinki's art gallery, National Anthropological Museum, plus cafes, restaurants and a museum shop selling art books and high-class art giftware. Tennis Palace also draws some two million visitors each year.

Makasiinit Railway Yard

This was the only project that had not received some kind of non-returnable state investment. A tenancy agreement on the former railway marshalling yard in the city centre was reached with Helsinki Administration for a one-year period. Minimal funding was spent on the actual property: the main expenditures being made on equipment. Minimal expenditure goes on services, with provision of heat being left to tenants and other hirers of the facility. Individual premises preserving authentic design and minimally equipped are offered as sports facilities for teenagers, as 'underground' alternative locations for corporate entertaining, as shops selling compact discs, vinyl records and retro clothing and as a venue for pop concerts. The enterprise is impressive for the clever way it makes use of a previously disused and neglected space. In this case, cultural policy is primarily oriented towards the alternative and the mainly youthful consumers of underground culture, creating in the right managerial hands an exotic and valuable product. The project attracts the two target groups most inclined to spending: young people and the middle class. Annual turnover is around EURO 1m, with outgoings kept to the minimum: low rental, minimal spending on services, small staff.

Cable Factory

The city invested the disused factory itself, which was passed into the management of a group of arts-oriented individuals which had been using it and beginning conversion on an independent basis since Nokia abandoned the production of cables there in the 1980s. The necessary restoration work was achieved, in stages and over ten years, by the efforts of tenants and the cooperative management themselves. Income to bring about the upgrading and maintenance of this huge building is earned through providing individual tenancies on sliding scales to tenants ranging from contemporary artists and craftspeople (low or minimal rent), through travel, equipment and other service-oriented firms, to large-scale television and radio companies that pay full market rentals. Income is also earned through leasing the large space of the converted cable hall for mass pop concerts, commercial exhibitions, and even corporate banquets; this cross-subsidises, for example, a low cost contemporary art gallery, as well as smaller exhibition spaces. The management group is now able to invest up to 1 million EURO annually in continued conversion of the building, plus upgraded and increased technical and other equipment. The management group does not impose a strict cultural policy, welcoming exhibitions representing differing arts tendencies. Some 900 people work at the Cable Factory every day.

Kiasma Contemporary Art Gallery

The state museum of contemporary art was set up and is maintained using government and Council of Europe funding. The issue is one of Finland's prestige and national pride, in setting up Europe's easternmost contemporary art gallery at this level. The gallery itself is not financially self-sufficient. The main indicator of effectiveness of any cultural institution in Finland today is its visitor numbers. This means that resources can be attracted from advertisers and the restaurant business, and a number of services be offered. Kiasma works to draw in audiences of all age groups: schoolchildren, pensioners and youth as well as people of working age, drawing up a variety of different programmes. It operates a kind of museum heresy: welcoming into the museum space events formerly not allowed. The best known example is the annual URB festival, specialising in contemporary urban music, texts and rhymes.

Lume Media Centre, University of Art and Design

This is the pride of the University of Art and Design, which has invested large-scale resources from the Ministry of Education. The media equipment is the most up-to-date and extensive and the aim is to raise Finnish media art to previously unattained heights. The investment is partially re-couped by renting out the film, television and sound-recording studios, with faith being placed in the high level of technical equipment. It is projected that this resource will attract top film companies, including those from abroad.

Analysis of the examples we saw in Helsinki shows that in all cases there was initial investment either from government, local government or European sources, totalling not less than 3 million EURO; there is also a favourable taxation regime and legislation that makes it possible for the main source of income to be sub-letting part of the premises. The ideological basis for all this is the desire for Helsinki and Finland to be part of the European cultural space and the understanding that investment in culture can generate essential economic impact in various spheres. Administratively, all (except Makasiinit) depends on accepted business planning and uses standard management processes.

Today, in conditions operating in Russia, we could make only partial use of the Finnish experience:
1. We must continue to work with the City Administration and the Legislative Assembly Deputies to persuade them about the economic impact of the creative industries in particular and culture as a whole.
2.We must work on ourselves. It's important to understand that for us too the most important indicator that any cultural institution should aim for is visitor numbers. This will undoubtedly influence an institution's cultural policy, but it's quite possible to achieve high visitor numbers without dumbing down our programmes. (High visitor numbers provide us with arguments to offer potential sponsors, advertisers, and investors - as well as the authorities.)
3. Cultural institutions should expand their infrastructure and diversify, seeking to offer the maximum number of services that are relevant to their main profile.(As well as the standard 'kit' of cafe, restaurant, small shops, one may make use of Kiasma's experience in offering paid cultural and educational programmes, targeting different sections of the population.)
4. The experience of Helsinki (and not just this) also shows that the creative industries are most effective economically when they are concentrated in one place: cultural centres where large organisations are neighbours with small ones, art quarters and streets. (This is the best for earning money and for the survival of smaller participants in the sector.)

On the whole, in spite of the fundamentally different circumstances in which culture finds itself in Finland, where the long term Creative Industries project is developing dynamically with moral and financial support from the government, the study programme was exceptionally useful in that it helped us evaluate our St Petersburg possibilities in this sphere and attempt to adapt their experience to our reality. Happily, as a result of this adaptation, some essential elements remain that we can make full use of for ourselves.

Irina Aktuganova, Pushkinskaya 10 Cultural Centre

  programme  programme

Helsinki programme, 22-27.02.02

22.02.02 Friday
07.00Meeting in the hall of Finland station. In the left corner near Information office.
07.24Departure. Coach 2, seats 29-43
12.03Arrive Helsinki Railway Station. Met by Timo Cantell and accompanied to hotel.
12.30Check in @ Hotel Arthur, Vuorikatu 19, FIN-00100 Helsinki. Tel: +358 9 173 441 Fax: +358 9 626 880; e-mail: Receive per diems.
14.00Meet downstairs in Lobby. Discuss detail of Programme. Walk to Helsinki Town Hall.
15.00Reception at City Hall, hosted by Deputy Mayor Ilkka-Christian Bjorklund
16.30VR Makasiinit (old railway company warehouse), alternative cultural space. Isse Karsten, Director.
19.00Dinner (Tacis programme)
23.02.02 Saturday
8.00-9.30Breakfast in hotel (Tacis programme)
9.45Meet in Hotel conference room, for Workshop Day: Creative Industries Development - Manchester and other international models, describing also various projects that have facilitated this development. Justin O'Connor; Andy Lovatt; Danny Meaney.
13.00Lunch in the hotel (Tacis programme)
14.00Hotel conference room. Discussion of pilot projects. Each participant should be ready to review his/her own project idea in the light of the morning's discussion.
17.30Free time in Helsinki City Centre
24.02.02 Sunday
8.00-10.00Breakfast in the hotel (Tacis programme)
11.00Optional tour of some Helsinki art galleries, organised by Virpi Nasanen, Apus Art Oy, cultural producer
13.00Lunch, Cafe Kiasma
14.00Kiasma, Helsinki's new Contemporary Art Museum
15.00Participants' meeting for continuing project workshop, Kiasma Seminar Room
17.30Free time in Helsinki City Centre
25.02.02 Monday
7.30-8.30Breakfast in the hotel (Tacis programme)
8.30Meet in lobby to travel to Cable Factory
9.00Introduction to the Cable Factory Presentation: Pekka Timonen, Managing Director
10.30Meet cultural producer Vesa Ristimaki, PopZoo Promotions
12.00Lunch at Cable Factory (Tacis programme)
13.00Meet Heini Noronen, Manager of Culminatum's Creative Industries 'Expertise' programme
15.30Travel to Tennis Palace, Helsinki City Centre cultural space
16.00Introduction to Tennis Palace, Sointu Fritze and Erja Pusa City Art Museum
18.00Exhibitions: Louise Bourgeois; Lee Miller. Opening ceremony at City Art Museum, Tennis Palace
20.00Dinner (Tacis programme)
26.02.02 Tuesday
8.30-9.30Breakfast in hotel (Tacis programme)
9.30Gather in lobby to go to Glass Palace, cultural centre
10.00Introduction to Glass Palace, Kimmo Lehtonen
11.30Lunch at Glass Palace (Tacis programme)
12.30Meet Marianna Kajantie, City of Helsinki Cultural Affairs
15.00Media Centre Lume at University of Art and Design Director Elukka Eskelinen and artist Mika Tuomola
19.00Farewell Dinner (Tacis programme)
27.02.02 Wednesday
8.30-9.30Breakfast in hotel (Tacis programme)
15.34End of programme.
  participants  participants

St Petersburg

Aktuganova, Irina Irekovna Pushkinskaya 10, contemporary arts and culture centre
Azernikova, Tatiana Anatolievna Department for Enterprise, SPb City Admin
Belova,Elena Georgievna Leontief Centre (Tacis Project partner)
Bortniuk, Ilya Irogievich 'Light Music' music promotions
Danishevsky, Sergei Director, SPb Defile Fashion Weeks and shops
Eliseeva, Vladlena Leontief Centre, project advisor
Fialkovsky, Zakhar Vitalievich IT specialist, Vladimir Nabokov Museum
Gerasimova, Katerina, Yurievna project researcher/coordinator, Centre for Independent Social Research
Grabko, Oleg Vsevolodovich Direc tor, Bomba Piter music shops and Manchester Files recording
Kasparov, Vadim Galustovich Director, Cannon Dance Performance Group and Studio
Kizilova, Irina Nikolaevna Deputy Director, Institute for Cultural Programmes, SPb City Admin
Korf, Elena Nikolaevna PWIBLF SPb Representative, project manager/researcher
Lebedeva, Marina Evgenievna Director SPb Business Development Centre and SPb Evolution of the Interior Festival
Milkov, Dmitry Elievich Deputy Director, Pro Arte Institute/Director, Vladimir Nabokov Museum
Naroditsky, Felix Director, JFC Jazz Club and Art Sessions clubs and creative professionals network
Pachenkov, Oleg Centre for Independent Social Research
Saifulin, Mikhail Press secretary, Art Sessions clubs and creative professionals network
Snisarenko, Irina Sergeyevna Director, Corporation of Direct Investors

Leader of SPb group

Efim Abramovich Grishpun Deputy Chairman, Committee for Economic Development, Industrial Policy and Trade, SPb City Administration (leaving Monday)


Timo CantellSenior Development Officer, City of Helsinki Urban Facts (project partner4)


Justin O'Connor Director Manchester Institute for Popular Culture, Tacis Project partner
Andy Lovatt Director, Manchester Cultural Industries Development Service (public sector)
Danny Meaney Director, New Media Partners, private sector creative industries development, Manchester, Glasgow, London

Tacis Project Coordinator

Susan CauseyProgramme Manager, Russia, Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum (PWIBLF)


Olga RevaSt Petersburg State University
Katerina Gerasimova, Elena Korf, Susan Causey and Oleg Pachenkov also speak Russian/English and will be glad to help. Other English speakers:: Elena Belova, Irina Kizilova, Vladlena Eliseeva, Zakhar Fialkovsky, Marina Lebedeva

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