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March Round Mobility Grants Awarded to 39 Artists
Okra Playground sai liikkuvuusapurahan maaliskuussa 2020. Kuva: Katariina Salmi
Okra Playground received a Mobility Grant in 2020. Photo: Katariina Salmi
The purpose of the Cultural Foundation’s mobility grant is to enable artists or teams to spend time abroad, to discover new tools and networks that support their artistic practice. Acceptable uses of the grant include residency costs, performance tours, exhibition projects and travel related to international collaborations. In the March round of applications, the foundation received 209 mobility grant applications, covering almost all of the arts. Grants were awarded to 39 applicants. The total awarded sum was EUR 149,100.

This year the minimum grant was lowered to EUR 2,000, so that there could be more recipients and wider variety of purposes of use.

Koreografi Sonya Lindfors ja UrbanApa -taideyhteisö saivat liikkuvuusapurahan maaliskuussa 2020. Kuva: Janne Mikkilä
Sonya Lindfors photographed by Janne Mikkilä

This year’s largest grants, worth EUR 10,000 each, went to three applicants. Choreographer and artistic director Sonya Lindfors and her team received a grant for residency and performance-related travel. Their UrbanApa art community will take its dance performances Cosmic Latte and Camouflage, on the topics of otherness, blackness and diversity, to Belgium, Sweden and Germany.

– After the coronavirus pandemic, international festivals and other events will have even less funds than before, so they will not be able to cover artists’ travel and accommodation costs. This might mean that they invite fewer foreign artists to participate. With this grant and a travel budget we will be able to plan things on a longer time scale, Lindfors explains.

– I believe that the time for individual gigs has passed. It is not sustainable and it doesn’t build interaction with the local community, which is a really important element for us. Now we have a chance to make longer-term agreements. We want our work to be both ecologically and socially sustainable, and we want to leave a mark on the local community. This is why we always combine our tour performances with lectures, workshops or other collaborations with local artists.

Okra Playground, a musical ensemble that combines traditional instruments with modern soundscapes and powerful song harmonies, also received EUR 10,000 for a networking and performing trip to the Mundial Montréal event in Canada. Artists’ association Hiljaisuus ry was granted the same amount for its artistic designers to network in France and the UK.

Several smaller grants and support for residencies

Arctic Circle residenssi sijaitsee Norjan Huippuvuorilla. Kuva: Claire Dibble
The Arctic Circle Residency is located in Norway, in the high-Arctic Svalbard Archipelago and Arctic Ocean. Photo: Claire Dibble

The foundation approved a total of 19 grants worth EUR 2,000–3,000. The youngest grantees were Anni Martinsen (aged 16) and Johanna Birch (18), who study at the Ballet School of the Finnish National Opera and Ballet and each received EUR 2,000 to attend a summer course in the United States.

Artist Nastja Säde Rönkkö was granted EUR 6,500 to cover residency costs in Svalbard, Norway. There were two EUR 6,000 grants: one will enable a work group led by cellist Hsin-Di Shih to take the AEKI Ensemble to perform in Guatemala and Mexico, while the other will help choreographer Linda Martikainen with residency and networking costs in Italy and Germany.

Applications for the Cultural Foundation’s mobility grants are accepted twice a year, in March and August. All the mobility grants awarded in 2020 are found (in Finnish) here. From the drop-down select “erillishaut” (separate applications) and “liikkuvuusapurahat” (mobility grants).