Operation Pirkanmaa’s First Programme Release Celebrates Communality and Collaboration between The Region’s Municipalities

Operation Pirkanmaa, the legacy project of the European Capital of Culture (ECoC) bid, released its first programme on Tuesday 22 February 2022.

Operation Pirkanmaa’s first wave of programmes is brimming with communal activities intended to increase the cultural well-being and inclusion of the municipalities’ residents. While selecting the programme, special attention was paid to starting collaboration between Tampere Region’s 20 municipalities using projects that spread throughout the region.

– All operators share the firm belief that people have a great need to meet and do things together after two years of partial isolation due to the pandemic. The aim is not to attract the masses, but instead to “find beauty in small things” while the pandemic lasts, explains Satu Keltanen, Producer of Operation Pirkanmaa. 

Children and young people create their own art content

Strengthening the voice of children and young people and having their active participation in planning and creating content for art activities was chosen as a special angle for the first programme release.

These viewpoints are visible in the Resonance project’s workshop activities by youth association Suomen Nuorisoseurat, in the plans for ACCAC Next Generation 2023 by accessible art association Esteetön Taide ja kulttuuri, and in the I am Hope project by cultural centre PiiPoo, which examines how young people experience life’s meaningfulness.

In Mänttä-Vilppula, the Art Castle project provides schoolchildren with opportunities to make visual art under the guidance of Serlachius Residency’s international artists as well as to plan and make exhibitions – all the way through from advertising the exhibition to hanging the works. Meanwhile, SirkusRakkausPum uses the whole of Tampere Region as a colouring book in inclusive street art projects for all ages.

Strengthening the community and ecological values we stand on 

Of Tampere’s larger cultural institutions, this round includes Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra and circus Sorin Sirkus, which will both embark on tours to Tampere Region’s municipalities. Tampere-born composer Roope Mäenpää will arrange a tour version of the audio-visual Insect Symphony, premiering in March, for a small orchestra, which will tour the Tampere Region in the spring of 2023.

Sorin Sirkus will take forms of social circus activity to Tampere Region’s municipalities with the theme Circus Hopping, and Pirkanmaan Kuorokeskus will bring community choirs to the elderly. Ecological values are also being highlighted in many projects, such as cultural collective Uulu’s series of acoustic forest concerts or the ‘Hands-on Nature’ handicraft camp pilots by Taito Pirkanmaa.

Urban folklore and skating showcased through cinema

Kaarikoirat, a big name in Tampere’s skating scene, is collaborating with Tampere Film Festival to organise a variety of programmes including quality movies, skating, music and a panel discussion that probes the progress of equality in skating and the thematic of safer spaces.

The urban folklore builder Folk Extreme, on the other hand, is making an ambitious 30-episode multidisciplinary art movie series called Kalevala X – The High-Suspense Commando Comics. The Kalevala-inspired grand project is a combination of silent film, music video, modern folk music and dance.

Operation Pirkanmaa utilises work for ECoC bid

The joint bid for ECoC 2026 by Tampere and its nineteen partnering municipalities from the region collected 1,500 programme suggestions in an open call for programmes. The flood of project ideas was curated into an bid book of 150 project items for the bid.

Since Oulu took the title, Tampere Region began implementing its plan B: Operation Pirkanmaa. Its budget for 2022–2024 totals 2.6 million euros, of which Tampere’s share is 1.9 million euros. The operation can fund cultural projects worth 600,000 euros each year.

Operation Pirkanmaa will support dozens of projects brainstormed during the ECoC bid, although the projects will mostly be scaled down since the legacy project’s funding is approximately 5 percent of the planned ECoC budget. In addition to projects, the operation will develop expertise by providing training and will support operators in the process of internationalisation when making EU funding applications, for instance.

Even before the launch of the legacy project, several projects involved in the application have succeeded in obtaining approximately EUR 1 million of funding for developing creative fields in the region. Operation Pirkanmaa hopes that its projects will help to achieve sizeable extra funding for the region’s cultural activities.

Tampere’s partners in implementing Operation Pirkanmaa are Akaa, Hämeenkyrö, Ikaalinen, Kangasala, Kuhmoinen, Lempäälä, Mänttä-Vilppula, Nokia, Orivesi, Parkano, Pirkkala, Pälkäne, Ruovesi, Sastamala, Urjala, Valkeakoski, Vesilahti, Virrat and Ylöjärvi.

Further information about projects and updates on their implementation will be posted on Operation Pirkanmaa’s website at www.operaatiopirkanmaa.fi/en.

You can subscribe to Operation Pirkanmaa’s newsletter (currently in Finnish only): uutiskirje.operaatiopirkanmaa.fi.