Operation Pirkanmaa, years 2022-2023

Operation Pirkanmaa is a cultural development project carried out as a collaborative effort of 20 municipalities between 2022 and 2024. The aim of the project, led by the City of Tampere, is to develop the cooperative network of the Pirkanmaa cultural field and the capabilities therein, thus promoting the ecosystem of creative industries and the accessibility of culture in the Pirkanmaa region.
The project’s activities are divided into four areas:

– cultural programme development
– competence development
– cultural regional development
– international activities

Over the years 2022-2023, 238 projects have been launched. During the first two years of operation, nearly 1,300 live events and 110 digital events have taken place. Approximately 150,000 people have participated in the events in the Pirkanmaa region.
Over the four areas of the project, a total of 1.25 million euros has been allocated to support content generation over two years. Cultural programme projects often also have a share of their own financing, which results in larger overall budget and regional economic impact than the Operation Pirkanmaa funding alone would imply.

In addition, the Capital of Culture application has resulted in partnership projects that have drawn a total of over EUR 1 million in funding to the region; these include the Producer Bank and the Pirkanmaa Cultural Bank projects, both of which terminated in 2023.

Cultural Happenings have made culture more accessible

The project launched a new form of event, the Cultural Happening, which are free shows or workshops for Pirkanmaa inhabitants. The aim of the happenings is to increase the accessibility of culture and to enable cultural professionals to introduce their ideas to new, broader audiences.

In the first year, the happenings to be carried out were selected through a reverse competitive bidding process. In 2023 the municipalities were given their pick of happenings from the Pirkanmaa Cultural Bank. Over the past two years, 127 Cultural Happenings have taken place in Pirkanmaa, resulting in some 260 individual events. The happenings have seen a total of nearly 38,000 participants.

Pilots help generate new types of activity

Another focus has been in organising pilots of new models of activity. The Meanwhile Use scheme, piloted at the beginning of the project, involved municipal properties being offered free of charge to actors in the creative industries for temporary use. It been introduced to regular implementation not only in Tampere but also in Nokia.

In addition, Operation Pirkanmaa has made use of an open cooperative proposal channel to seek out pilot projects that enrich cultural activities in the region and engender new opportunities for activity in the cultural field.

One of the most visible pilots of the year was the Demolition Art House Pinni47 in downtown Tampere, which welcomed over 20,000 visitors over two months in the summer of 2023. The Pirkanmaan luovat tuottajat association carried out this pilot scheme for demolition art as the implementing partner of Operation Pirkanmaa.

An open call for applications was also organised in 2023 under the theme “cross-border cooperation”. 100,000 euros was allocated to 21 projects that cross, among others, municipal, national, and generational boundaries, but also make jumps to virtual worlds and explore cultural heritage.

Competence development in focus

The development of competences is closely linked to the efforts to new models of activity. However, additionally, training events, meetings and various residency activities have been organised during the first two years the project for both creative actors and the project’s municipal network.

Until the end of 2023, Operation Pirkanmaa was able to make use of a sustainability planner who trained and sparred with cultural workers and actors concerning sustainability-related themes. He also coordinated the Art Express pilot, where cultural destinations in Valkeakoski and Urjala could be reached through a day trip by bus, following the same model as previously utilised by the Serlachius Museums in Mänttä-Vilppula.

Training was provided on a wide range of topics to meet the needs of the field; such themes have included business cooperation in the cultural field, cultural strategies, cultural tourism, as well as production and communication know-how.
The project’s international activities have supported major funding applications from creative industries, such as the drafting of Creative Europe applications, as well as provided support to a number of roving shows or projects exported to Lithuania, Estonia, and Hungary.

A significant international development project in 2023 was the international “Cultural Compass” seminar on the regional development of culture, organised in September in collaboration with the Tartu 2024 Capital of Culture Foundation.

Operation Pirkanmaa in a nutshell

Operation Pirkanmaa, a culture development project built on the legacy of the Tampere26 European Capital of Culture application, is underway for three years between 2022 and 2024.

The project is administered by the City of Tampere, and the 19 municipalities in Pirkanmaa involved are Akaa, Hämeenkyrö, Ikaalinen, Kangasala, Kuhmoinen, Lempäälä, Mänttä-Vilppula, Nokia, Orivesi, Parkano, Pirkkala, Pälkäne, Ruovesi, Sastamala, Urjala, Valkeakoski, Vesilahti, Virrat, and Ylöjärvi.