I’m back from Helsinki where I was invited by Creativity, Culture and Education (CCE) to help produce and oversee an intense week-long framework for young people in Helsinki to take over 6 specific museums.
Young people think up new ways of working #munmuseo events
Young people between 16-20 years of age and art museums in Helsinki will be working together to find new ways for the youngsters to embrace the art museums´ artistic content and facilities.
The establishments involved are Amos Anderson Art Museum, Ateneum Art Museum, Design Museum, HAM Helsinki Art Museum, Kunsthalle Helsinki, Sinebrychoff Art Museum, thirty youngsters employed by the City of Helsinki and six youth workers coaching the youngsters. The munmuseo project run by the City of Helsinki Youth Department co-operation of the British Creativity, Culture and Education organization.
As with any project, the conversations started way before we landed in Helsinki. What we knew going in:
- There were 30 young people
- 6 Museums who signed up
- 6 Youth Leaders (who work for Helsinki government)
- 6 Museum personnel
- Helsinki youth organization with resources
- Marketing (including advertising on bus stops)
- Social Media
- Web site
- Money (although limited!)
- Young people would get a day of training
- Adults would get a day of training
- From meeting on Monday they have 3 weeks to produce an takeover day for June 21 2016
Paul Collard from CCE and I created a framework that allowed freedom to the young people that folded in the museums missions and outcome needs. It was intense, with daily deliverables and overall probably looked intimidating.
The idea/concept was simple: devise a step by step process that leaves enough scope for creativity for young people but guides the youth leader and museum person to steer them to what is feasible in the timeframe allowed. The key was to listen to ALL their ideas and acknowledge they might not be added into this project they will be addressed at a different time.
The young people were divided into their groups and knew what museum they would be working with before we arrived. We found it important, as we would be working together, that everyone knew each museum…. So Tuesday was a field trip to all 6 museums. It was a very tiring but incredibly eye opening day as after we all met up again and had each group discuss their thoughts and ideas after the quick 25 minute visit to their museum. However, everyone was allowed to add to the conversation with their own observations.
This was important – that everyone felt they could contribute even if it wasn’t their museum, but also that everyone could hear other ideas and if they wanted to fold them into their own takeover day.
During the week we had a daily task with objectives and deliverables. They worked closely with the museum staff and their youth worker who helped tease new ideas and pathways – not for the young people to have to take but to leave suggestions. The control is always with the young people and by Wednesday, they started to really understand that and you could see the transfer of ownership from the unknown to ‘No this is OUR project!’. This was about the name time the young people had to come up with names for their projects:
Group and Project Name
(highly recommend you follow on FB and Instagram to support them!)
HAM it up! HAM Helsinki Art Museum
Taidehalli – Tom´s Pleasure Garden
Ateneum – Ateneum Unleashed ( Instagram )
Designmuseo – ide@design (Instagram )
Sinebrychoffin taidemuseo ( Instagram )
Amos Andersonin taidemuseo ( Instagram )
I’ve been checking the social media and noticed something special – the young people are not only running their own accounts but the museums are generously sharing on their own channels also. That is vital – buy in from everyone and in Helsinki it seems that there is.
When we left, each group had a strategy for the event/activity, approval with the museum and was working on gathering resources needed. Each group has two deliverables everyday until the event: Write a To Do List and at the end of the day write a paragraph reflecting on the day.
We won’t know the results until June 22 but I have complete confidence these young people will create some amazing events and activities!
Kulttuurisen nuorisotyön toiminnanjohtaja /Head of Cultural Youth Work
We are really exciting to see what will happen on Tuesday the 21st. The kids are working very hard (we get emails from them all the time) and they are truly committed. We are doing everything we can to make sure people will hear about this, because it would be awful if nobody came to the events. Although to us it is far more important what happens on the 22nd when we will discuss the long-term effects of the project with the directors of the museums. Will this help to deepen the cooperation between the museums and the young people? Will this open up creative spaces for young people in the city? What will be the next steps? In other words: do the museum directors get it?
Nina Brunberg Social Media Cultural Youth Work
If only one of the teens will have his or her creativity unleashed during this museal intervention,
our rollercoaster ride has been worth while. It´s all about rebelling against conformities and
I’m hoping we can update this after June 22 2016 – assuming they aren’t too exhausted! Watch this space!