Report: Finland’s centenary year strengthened networks and inspired action
According to a report published on 4 September as part of the research project on the centenary of Finland’s independence, the implementation of the centenary celebration year was successful in generating enthusiasm for new forms of cooperation, but this cooperation has continued only sporadically following the centennial year. The research is being conducted by the Center for Cultural Policy Research Cupore, Owal Group and Demos Helsinki.
According to the report, it is clear that the Finland 100 Secretariat and the Prime Minister’s Office were able to generate enthusiasm for the unique centennial year. In the end, the scale of the centenary phenomenon could even be considered surprisingly large. On the other hand, the administrative bodies in charge of the centenary were not always able to keep up with the ideas of the public and organisations. That said, the organisers were successful in what can be seen as a minimum objective: as a public actor, the centenary organisation did not stand in the way of cooperation and action by enthusiastic players in civil society. The centenary year as a whole encouraged cooperation and inspired new ideas.
The implementation of the centenary year mainly utilised and strengthened existing networks and cooperation relationships, but it also led to the creation of new networks. Since the centenary year, these strengthened connections and networks in the various sectors of society are still largely in existence and have the potential to be reactivated. On the other hand, it is still difficult to determine the impacts of Finland’s centenary celebration year on a wider scale.
The report finds that the primary goal of the secretariat's activities was to organise a unique centenary year. However, we could also consider whether the massive “mobilisation” of operators could somehow have been utilised in a more conscious, systematic and goal-oriented manner to strengthen cultural activities and the activities of associations and to preserve newly established forms of cooperation even after the centenary.
Despite the theme of Finland’s centenary, Together, the objective of the centennial year was not to boost networking or cooperation among different operators, let alone to ensure the continuity of cooperation. Overall, the 2017 centenary year appears to have been a momentary phenomenon consisting of unique celebratory events and happenings. However, the significance of the centenary year for cooperation between various operators in society can be seen in the scale of the celebrations: the more than 5,000 centenary projects and the cooperation relationships initiated or strengthened through their project organisations constitute a strong and significant, albeit somewhat haphazard impact.
In 2020–2021, the impacts of the centenary year will be examined in two further publications dealing with inclusion and issues related to national image and identities. A summary of the results of the project will be prepared in spring 2021.
Open citizen survey on Finland’s centenary celebration year in progress
During the autumn, a survey will be carried out to collect experiences and memories of Finland’s centenary celebration year. The survey is open to all members of the public. You can respond to the survey in Finnish, Swedish or English by 9 October 2020 at http://owalgroup.com/kansalaiskysely-suomi100/.
Mervi Luonila, Senior Researcher, Center for Cultural Policy Research Cupore, tel. +358 46 921 7076, [email protected]
Marjo Mäenpää, Director, Center for Cultural Policy Research Cupore, tel. +358 50 586 0414, [email protected]
Mia Toivanen, Partner, Owal Group Oy, tel. +358 40 566 7536, [email protected]