Oud-studentenleider Tommi Laitio, lid van de Redactieraad van ScienceGuide, schreef een beschouwing over deze opzet en plannen, waarin hij enkele kritische noten kraakt. “The bigger issue is the traditional Finnish view on the world. The national identity still starts from the notion that Finland lives in its own universe – a world with fixed borders and national structures. A world where we interact with the rest of the world but are not part of it.” U leest zijn analyse hier.
A working group has just published a proposal for a new creativity strategy for Finland. The report was commissioned by the Minister of Culture. I read it through with a high level of confusion. I would so much like to support its direction but find this to be somewhat difficult. I will elaborate why.
I did my Master’s thesis on the information society policy of the current Finnish cabinet. In my thesis I analysed the reasoning for the investments and the position of the citizen in the implementation process. It feels somehow disappointing to see exactly the same problems in the creativity strategy as I pointed out in the conclusions of my thesis. I am starting to be quite convinced that Finland has a big issue to solve in the relationship between the state and the citizens. The policy documents of the Finnish government put the citizen over and over again into a passive role. The belief in the power of the state is enormous. Even though the report talks about the responsibility of parents and individuals, the approach follows the lines of the information society policy: the government strengthens certain qualities in individuals.
If the citizen approach would be the only problem in the creativity strategy, I could avoid falling into despair. However, the bigger issue is the traditional Finnish view on the world. The national identity still starts from the notion that Finland lives in its own universe – a world with fixed borders and national structures. A world where we interact with the rest of the world but are not part of it.
A look into the composition of the working group gives us more tools for understanding the tone and approach. It consists mostly of people who have worked their entire life in Finnish national stuctures. The working group was led by Mr Esko Aho, the Prime Minister during the severe economic recession of the 1990s. Only two members of the working group come from the cultural sector. Twelve out of the twenty-one members are civil servants – most from ministries. Most of them have sat in half a dozen of these committees during the last ten years. Only eight of the twenty-one members are women. Nokia is of course represented.
This may not come as a surprise but not a single member is under the age of fourty. And this shows. I don’t think most of my generation would start a document with the following sentence:”The Finnish society is economically and socially stronger than ever.” This makes most of the document useless. I remember Aho himself saying in a seminar in 2004 that only the atmosphere of a crisis made it possible to make the difficult decisions in the 1990s. The working group does not seem to follow the strategy once outlined once by its Chair. By painting a rosy picture, they dissolve all the ground for brave actions. Most of the eleven recommendations are about increasing, widening or strengthening.
A relaxed translation of what is proposed:
1. Fostering children’s creativity – stressing the responsibility of parents
2. Complete school day – innovative combinations of leisure and educational activities, more skills and arts in schools
3. Cultural policy integrated more to other policy areas, widened funding basis (corporate) and new funding methods for culture
4. Increased efforts into debating and discussion skills, bigger commitment in international cooperation and intercultural dialogue
5. Creativity playing a bigger role in urban planning
6. Experiments and research on the links between working conditions and creativity
7. Management of creativity a priority, new ways for cycling jobs
8. Creativity a component in regional and business funding structures and support actions
9. Entrepeneurship more integrated in education, closer links between educational institutions and companies
10. More flexible public administrations, new ways of working with NGOs
11. Policy programme on creativity for the next cabinet led by the Ministry of Education