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Record Number of Mobility Grant Applications in August, with 39 Grants Awarded
Kaksi miestä istuu valkohiekkaisella rannalla lyömäsoittimien kanssa.
Musician Samuli Majamäki (right) and singer-songwriter Andrew Ashimba in Zanzibar. Majamäki is travelling to Tanzania to record a shared album with Ashimba.
In August 2022, the Finnish Cultural Foundation received a record number of applications for mobility grants from artists and organisations in various fields. Of the 458 applications received, 39 were successful.

The purpose of mobility grants is to cover expenses such as foreign residency costs, performance tours, exhibition projects and travel related to international collaborations.

The opening of international borders with the waning of the Covid pandemic may have contributed to the rise in applications this year, while another factor may have been Arts Promotion Centre Finland’s decision to stop giving out separate mobility grants.

“The Covid pandemic may also have led to our grants having become more widely known in the Finnish cultural arena. It is highly understandable that artists have an even greater desire to work abroad now, after the pandemic, which causes a greater demand for grants,” explains Senior Adviser Veli-Markus Tapio, who is in charge of handling the applications.

Cycling from Germany to Switzerland and performing contemporary circus in Europe

Kuvassa ylhäältäpäin kuvattuna kaksi pyörää ja kaksi naista soittamassa viulua.
Suvi Oskala and Emilia Lajunen. Photo: Sami Perttilä

The granted sums ranged between EUR 2,000 and EUR 8,000. Masters of Music Suvi Oskala and Emilia Lajunen received EUR 5,000 for carrying out an album release tour by bicycle from Germany to Switzerland.

“On our bicycle tours, we take a stand through concrete action on the challenges brought to the field of live music by climate change. After the pandemic, festivals are striving to operate as ecologically as possible, and encourage artists to avoid air travel. Travelling by bicycle and ferry is slower than flying but more sustainable in terms of the climate,” Oskala says. The duo Emilia Lajunen & Suvi Oskala plays chamber folk music on five-string violins and has performed internationally in countries as diverse as China, South Korea, India and the Nordics.

Kaksi naista pahvisen kyltin kanssa. Kyltissä lukee 20 years later, still here!
Circus artists Stina Kopra and Lotta Paavilainen

Circus artists Stina Kopra and Lotta Paavilainen with their team received EUR 6,000 for carrying out a residency, performance and networking trip around Europe for their contemporary circus performance 20 Years Later, Still Here!

“The performance is a peek into two woman circus artists’ joint twenty-year journey through the circus, art and friendship. In it, we counteract stereotypical prejudices and encourage everyone to be true to themselves,” Kopra says. The artists, whose shows combine balancing acrobatics, physical comedy and stand up, have been performing together since 2001, representing top-level Finnish circus artistry in locations around Europe, as well as in Israel, Japan and the Philippines.

Nainen toppatakissa seisoo betonista tehdyssä huoneessa.
Sini Tuominen. Photo: Huong Hoang

Sini Tuominen, in turn, is a dancer, dance teacher and cultural producer from the field of street and club dance. She received EUR 7,000 to take part in the Urban Artistry project in Washington, D.C. and to conduct a study trip to New York and Los Angeles.

Mobility grants open doors for international activity

Musician Samuli Majamäki intended to record a second album with Tanzanian singer-songwriter Andrew Ashimba already before the pandemic.

“Covid put the project on hold, but now we are ready to produce the record, which combines music and nature sounds in a unique way. Our objective is to produce an intimate listening experience and a journey into soul-soothing melodies, rhythms and African natural soundscapes,” says Majamäki, who received EUR 3,500 for conducting his performing and recording trip to Tanzania. Majamäki is no stranger to the country, having lived there between 2003 and 2005.

Sumuinen kuva silmälasipäisestä miehestä alhaaltapäin kuvattuna.
Kari Yli-Annala

Visual artist and researcher Kari Yli-Annala creates works whose central themes are time, intensity and change. He received a grant sum of EUR 4,000 to cover the costs of carrying out artistic work and research in Copenhagen and Berlin, as well as a photography expedition to Palestine.

“I am recording changes to the surroundings of the al-Arroub refugee camp in Hebron. The focus is on a nearby hill, which is important for the camp’s residents,” Yli-Annala explains.

Mies soittaa lyömäsoitinta syksyisessä maisemassa.
Issiaka Dembele. Photo: Era Kahyaoglu

According to traditional musician Issiaka Dembele, music belongs to its roots, where its ancestors and spirits can be found.

“I am going to travel to see my uncle and father, who are masters of traditional instruments (balafon, kora) and melodies. Some of the music is holy and spiritual and should not be played in any which way. I want to make this valuable tradition known in the West using modern platforms such as Spotify,” Dembele says. He was granted EUR 2,500 to carry out a composition, research and recording trip to West Africa in relation to Manding and African blues music.

Applications for the Cultural Foundation’s mobility grants are accepted twice a year, in March and August.

Further information about Mobility Grants:
Erityisasiantuntija Veli-Markus Tapio
Senior advisor