A crossroads, or intersection, is a symbol of a choice and its difficulty, a metaphor for a person’s process of self-identification in a new society. It is a feeling of uncertainty, a longing for what is lost and a fear of what’s to come. But at the same time, it is a chance to forge a new path.
Just as society becomes a concentration of different cultures, the point where they intersect, so too is a crossroads a place where roads come together. It is a place that provides an opportunity to unite and choose a common path forward.
The metaphor of the crossroads, as a transition from old to new and new to old, and a reflection of what happens at that crossroads and what brings people to it, is a fitting description of what the Cultura Foundation is all about.
The Foundation was established in 2013 by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture. Its cofounders are the municipalities of Helsinki, Vantaa, Turku, Tampere, Lappeenranta and Joensuu.
The Foundation initiates surveys into Finland’s Russian-speaking community and carries out projects that seek to find and implement participatory models and methodologies. In its work, the Foundation draws upon the role that culture plays in societal processes in today’s world, as well as on the importance of equal participation and diversity.
The Foundation is engaged in the following projects:
is a project that helps young Finns be seen and heard by the media and take part in public discourse. Its goal is to facilitate the normalization of diverse Finnishness.
In 2019 the project carried out the Voice to the Young! parliamentary election battle and a multilingual pop-up newsroom in SuomiAreena in Pori.
is a series of pilot projects that test out new forms of collaboration between the Russian-speaking community and cultural institutions. 2019 has seen the addition of two new projects: the School of Art-Mediation and a laboratory of participatory projects carried out in collaboration with the Finnish Heritage Agency.
Is an international project that carried out seminars in May-August 2019 in Riga, Tallinn and Helsinki. Participants shared their experience creating activities in the spirit of participatory culture, focusing their attention on the Russian-speaking communities of Finland, Estonia and Latvia.
Is a program conducted by the Foundation in collaboration with the municipalities that aims to study the Russian-speaking communities of various cities in Finland. What conditions are necessary for the Russian-speaking community to take a more active role in the life of Finnish cities? In 2019, research was carried out on the Russian-speaking residents of the cities of Espoo and Vantaa.
The Color of Violence is a project by the photographer Sergei Stroitelev that tells the story of migrants and refugees who have been attacked out of racial hatred – from being ‘accidentally’ shoved on public transport to serious injury and even murder.
Investigating the subject of xenophobia and telling the stories of victims of violence, the artist brings the audience into the space of ‘moral crossroads,’ putting before them the question of the cause and effect of such phenomena.
Sergei Stroitelev works with the world’s leading publications and charity organizations. He is the laureate of international and Russian contests, among them the Istanbul Photo Awards 2018 (Daily Life category) and the Debuts 2018 Photocontest.
Poetry at the Crossroads is a musical and poetic performance dedicated to personal stories in the context of urban society: intercultural interaction, a person’s place in society and the search for self-identity.
In the public space of Kamppi, poets from different countries will read their poems in Finnish, Russian, English, Arabic and French. The choice of location is no accident. Kamppi embodies the notion of a crossroads, as it is not only a popular meeting place but also one of Helsinki’s most important transportation hubs.
Under the auspices of the CulturaFest, the Petersburg artist Misha Marker will carry out an art intervention on the streets of Helsinki.
The Silence at the Crossroads project is about the silence of those ‘without a voice.’ It focuses on the pressing problems of the foreign language-speaking segments of society and serves as a catalyst for civil discourse.
Misha Marker has been engaged in street art since 2014. He regularly participates in exhibitions at the St. Petersburg Street Art Museum (2018, 2019) and participated in the Carte-Blanche festival of illegal street art in Ekaterinburg (2018, 2019). He was in the longlist for the Sergei Kuryokhin Contemporary Art Award (St. Petersburg, 2019).
The main topic of Art and Immigration: Looking for Identity public talk is the existence of an artist and an artwork outside of their familiar cultural and lingual context. How does an art, its topics, artistic techniques and the artist’s perception changes in immigration. What happens to the artist’s personal and art identity.
CulturaFest Animation Night is an evening of short animated documentary films.
The curator of CulturaFest Animation Night is Dina Goder, a film critic and author of publications on theatre and animation. She is the program director of the Big Cartoon Festival in Moscow, the organizer of the Animatorium educational project in Tel-Aviv and has been a member of the jury for theatre and animation festivals.
The films included in the program are voices from different sides of the crossroads, of those who have found themselves and their place and of those who are still searching.
Thanks to the figurative nature of animated documentary films, the filmmakers’ individual stories transcend cultural barriers, prejudices and stereotypes, becoming personal testaments in the process.