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Project Updates in English

November 9, 2020

Becoming A Cultural Professional in Finland -workshop

Culture Open –project organizes Becoming A Cultural Professional in Finland –workshop on Saturday, Nov. 14. This workshop is intended for immigrants who wish to pursue studies or a career in the Finnish cultural industries.

Among the topics discussed will be study and employment opportunities in the visual arts, writing, design & architecture, performing arts and audiovisual culture.

The workshop will also look at artist paths and compiling an artistic portfolio.

Sign-up for the workshop by Thursday Nov. 12 to:

Henna Karhapää (Culture Open –project coordinator)

Tel. +358 (0)50 475 0362


The workshop will be coached in English. There is a 10 people maximum. The workshop will start at 12 noon and end at 4 p.m.

October 2, 2020

Photography trip to Koli National Park!

On Saturday, September 26, Culture Open organized a photography trip to Koli National Park in cooperation with JoMoni Photography Club. Culture Open –project has cooperated with the Photography Club since the beginning of 2020. JoMoni (Joensuu Multicultural Association) Photography Club consists of immigrant photographers; amateurs and semi-professionals who are passionate about photography.

In early 2020 Culture Open facilitated the club’s photography exhibition at Joensuu Main Library, which was seen by over a hundred people. Culture Open and the Photography Club have also organized a series of photography-themed workshops that have been aimed at providing the club members an opportunity for inclusion and self-actualization.

This autumn’s trip to Koli provided the club members an opportunity to practice nature photography and collect material for the next photography exhibition, organized in this November, also in cooperation with Culture Open. This autumn’s cooperation has also produced one photography workshop aimed at teaching basic photography skills. Coming up are two more photography-themed workshops, as well as a Culture Open –organized master class for the club members by a professional photographer.

The weather during the trip to the Koli National Park was unusually sunny and warm for the time of year, which greatly benefited our photographers! Culture Open Project Coordinator Henna also joined the Photography Club and got a chance to test her photography skills!

At the beginning of the day, the organizers for the club; Salseng Mrong, Jerin Thamby and Janvit Tippinit, gave instructions to the club members on the routes they may take and the assignments they must complete. Members of the club then dispersed to look for inspiration in the ethereal landscape of Koli.

In the late afternoon everybody gathered at the fire pit to grill some much needed nourishment. The day came to an end with the photographers climbing up the Koli hills to take pictures of the setting sun, before heading back to Joensuu.

We cannot wait to see what wonderful images the club members have captured!

Getting ready to leave for Koli!
Janvit Tippinit gives instructions to Photography Club members
Many club members decided to head first to the famous views of Ukko Koli
Zoya takes a photo of Trang
Even Project Coordinator Henna got to try out nature photography!
The fire pit came in handy for the hungry bunch
Group photo by Salseng Mrong

 September 1, 2020

A hand touching a tablet screen and a text telling about the guide on using alternative text on social media.

Culture Open publishes a guide on using Alternative Text in social media!

Alternative Text is a tool that allows you to include image descriptions on websites and social media. Alternative text is different from a caption and is utilized mainly by people who use screen readers.

Because screen readers read images as if they were text, each image should have its own Alternative Text, which describes the content of the image. This Alternative Text is embedded in the website’s HTML-code.

Nowadays, most websites and blogs make it easy to include Alternative Text to any images you may upload. However, social media posts can also include Alternative Text. Culture Open has now published a handy guide that instructs in detailed steps how to use Alternative Text on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The guide also explains how to compose a good Alternative Text.

Download our guide through the link below. The link will open to a separate tab.

April 30, 2020

Culture Open instructs on accessible online communication

Culture Open has created an English language video on accessible online communication. The video includes instructions on how to take into consideration aspects of technical and textual accessibility when communicating in online environments, such as websites of social media.

The video features written ja spoken instructions for online accessibility.

April 23, 2020

Joensuu City Immigration Services launches a WhatsApp-service for immigrants who need Coronavirus-advice

Joensuu City Immigration Services has launched a WhatsApp-service for Joensuu-based immigrants who suspect they or their family member might have Corona. The service is intended for those immigrants, who cannot access Finnish language health services and require these services in their own language.

The WhatsApp-service is open from Monday to Friday between 8.30 a.m. and 3.30 p.m.

To contact the service, text to number 050 310 1043

Include the following three pieces of information in your message:

  1. Your name
  2. The word ”korona”
  3. What language you would prefer to use

After receiving your message, the Immigration Services will contact an interpreter of your preferred language to discuss your symptoms.

April 20, 2020

Reliable Coronavirus information in Finland available in many languages

In this article Culture Open has compiled a list of reliable information sources on the COVID-19 epidemic provided by the Finnish authorities in many different languages.

The Finnish Government provides up-to-date information and advice on the effects of the Coronavirus epidemic.

Finnish Government: Information and Advice on the Coronavirus

Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) has compiled an extensive website of information on the epidemic. The website provides updates, advice and instructions and links to reliable international websites offering information on the Coronavirus.

THL: Coronavirus COVID-19

The Finnish national broadcaster YLE regularly updates Coronavirus news in English, Arabic, Somali, Kurdish and Persian.

YLE: Updates on Coronavirus

InfoFinland-website provides information on the Coronavirus in sixteen different languages. The website has several links to trusted information in languages such as Russian, Estonian, French, Somali, Turkish, Chinese and Thai. InfoFinland is published by the City of Helsinki, and it assists immigrants living in Finland and those who consider moving to Finland.

InfoFinland: Coronavirus COVID-19

There are also websites on easy-to-read Finnish that update information on the epidemic.

Selkokeskus has listed a number of realiable easy-to-read Finnish websites that present information and news on the epidemic situation.

Selkokeskus: Luotettavaa tietoa koronaviruksesta selkokielellä ja kuvin tuettuna has also a easy-to-read Finnish website. The website’s Coronavirus-section gives information on the symptoms of COVID-19, as well as advice on seeking treatment, if you suspect you have the infection.

Verneri/ selko: Koronavirus

The Social Insurance Institution of Finland (KELA) has information websites in both English and in easy-to-read Finnish. From these websites you may find updates on the situation brought upon the Coronavirus. These websites provide assistance with unemployment-, student-, sickness- and disability-, as well as family- and housing benefits.

KELA: Ajankohtaista koronatilanteesta selkosuomeksi

KELA: In English – Our Services

In conclusion, here is a handy infographic on how to protect yourself and others from infection:

Wash your hands, cough and sneeze on tissue or on your sleeve, avoid close contact and seek medical assistance if you experience difficulty breathing.

March 16, 2020

We are postponing project events due to the Coronavirus epidemic

Culture Open -project is postponing this spring’s project events in Joensuu due to the Coronavirus epidemic. The City of Joensuu has adviced that events organized in public venues and city venues are cancelled until the end of May.

This advice means that, for example, the Multicultural Storyhour Workshops at the Joensuu Main Library are postponed for a later date. We will notify the public later on regarding the new dates for these events.

You may follow the City of Joensuu’s guidance here: (in english)

Here’s a list of Culture Open -events that are postponed:

  • Multicultural Storyhour Workshops at the Joensuu Main Library on 17 and 24 March.
  • Portfolio-workshop for immigrants interested in becoming cultural professionals on 20 March.
  • Youth Able Art Group training for scheduled dates in March and April.

If you have signed up for a Culture Open -event, we will notify you personally in regard a postponement.

Culture Open -project and Project Coordinator Henna thank you for your understanding during this difficult time. Let’s make culture together, but at first let’s take care of ourselves and one another.

March 3, 2020

Portfolio-workshop for immigrants interested in becoming cultural professionals

Culture Open –project and JoMoni organize a free, one day portfolio workshop for people of immigrant background who are interested in becoming cultural professionals in Finland. The goal of the workshop is to enhance immigrants’ knowledge and their chances of becoming employed in the Finnish cultural industries.

The portfolio-workshop will include an introduction to the cultural industries in Finland, a look at different paths of becoming employed in the Finnish cultural sector, as well as the creation of personal portfolio-website.

The workshop is coached by Juha Lehtinen of Co-operative Sulatto. Also present is Maija Rämö, who is specialized in financial administration of creative industries. She will be speaking about the alternative ways artists can manage their billing and finances. During the day, the participants will also have the chance to meet local artists and become acquainted with their work.

The working languages of the workshop are English and Finnish.


On Friday, 20 March

From 12 noon until 5 p.m.

Location: Joensuu Suunnittelupaja, Sortavalankatu 2 (80100 Joensuu)

If you are interested in the workshop, or know someone who might be interested, please sign-up by 19 March, 4 p.m. to:

Henna Karhapää (Culture Open Project Coordinator)

Tel. 050 475 0362

There is a 15 people maximum for the workshop.

Workshop poster in blue, includes the same text as the blog entry.

March 2, 2020

Multicultural Storyhour Workshops Continue in March!

Culture Open, JoMoni and Joensuu Regional Library continue multicultural storyhour workshops in March. Organized on March 17 and 24 from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. these workshops feature discussion and storytelling around different topics and themes. The workshops are coached by people of immigrant background, who have chosen themes they are interested in.

The purpose of the workshops is to increase interaction with people from different backgrounds. These workshops are also a great opportunity to practice discussion skills in English!

The two workshops in March are coached by Celeste Richman. The March 17 workshop is organized during the Action Against Racism –week and it’s topic is ”The first time I met someone different and understood that they are also human”. The March 24 workshop is themed ”Siblings”.

These workshops are easy to come to; they are free and there is no sign-up. There is no mandatory talking at the workshops, so if you wish, you can come along to just listen!

Multicultural Storyhour Workshops in March 2020:

Tuesday 17 March, 3 p.m.-5 p.m.

”The first time I met someone different and understood that they are also human”

Place: Joensuu Main Library, 2nd floor Arts Square (Koskikatu 25)

Tuesday 24 March, 3 p.m.-5 p.m.


Place: Joensuu Main Library, 2nd floor Arts Square (Koskikatu 25)

Red and blue workshop poster with the same information as the text above.

January 16, 2020

Culture Open and JoMoni Photography Club cooperate on a photography exhibition!

”North Karelia through the Lens” –a photography exhibition by the Joensuu Multicultural Association’s Photography Club opens on 27 January, 2020. The exhibition will take place at Joensuu Main Library.

The exhibition is organized together with Culture Open -project and it is part of the project’s inclusive action. The JoMoni photography club consists of immigrants living in the Joensuu area. The photographs on display picture North Karelia through the eyes of immigrants. Most of the photographs have been taken in 2019.

The exhibition features fourteen photographers. Members of the Photography Club will also host two photography themed workshops, which are meant to facilitate interaction between native Finns and immigrants.

The first workshop will teach the basics of photography, such as camera settings and composition. The second workshop will be aimed at children, who will be taught to make a toy camera. More information regarding the workshops will be published later.

 North Karelia through the Lens –exhibition at Joensuu Main Library from 27 January until 15 February, 2020.

exhibition poster shows a view from Koli through some trees towards a lake.
The photograph on the poster is by Caroline Clèment.

January 8, 2020

Culture Open Multicultural Storyhour Workshops

Culture Open –accessibility project organizes a series of storyhour-workshops at the Joensuu Main Library. The workshops are coordinated in cooperation with the Joensuu Multicultural Association (JoMoni) and Joensuu Libraries.

The workshops are produced by artist Päivi Saarelma and instructed by people with immigrant background. Each workshop will have its own theme and the purpose of the workshops is to exchange experiences between different cultures through discussion.

January’s workshops will be instructed by Lori Stankovic and their themes will be ”Tales and Myths” and ”Special Objects”.

The schedule for January’s workshops is following:

Tales and Myth

Jan 14, 6-8 p.m.

Joensuu Main Library

Special Objects

Jan 28, 6-8 p.m.

Joensuu Main Library

The workshops are free of charge and no sign-up beforehand is necessary.

Come and listen, discuss and experience!

Blue and pink poster for the workshops illustrating the same information on the workshops as in the text above.

December 16, 2019

Joensuu Disability Council has awarded Culture Open –project!

The Joensuu Disability Council 2019 Accessibility Award has been awarded to Culture Open –project and Project Coordinator Henna Karhapää. Karhapää received the recognition on December 12, 2019 at the Disability Council assembly from chairperson Liisa Karvinen and vice-chairperson Arto Pippuri.

The award diploma states that the award has been given as ”a recognition of of the work done to advance accessibility in Joensuu”, and that:

”Culture Open –project and Project Coordinator Henna Karhapää have significantly brought forward suggestions for improvement regarding cultural services, which act as a good basis for the development of the city’s cultural services and institutions so that people with disabilities will find them more easy to use.”

Culture Open –project and Project Coordinator Henna wish to thank the Joensuu Disability Council for this great recognition and the support they have given to the project! Without the disability experts provided by the council, the Accessibility Mappings done by the project would not have been as thorough as they have been so far. The project and Henna have had the pleasure to work with the disability experts, who have afforded her the guidance and encouragement when charting the accessibility of local cultural institutions.

A big thank you also to the Karelia Cross-Border Cooperation programme, the support of which makes Culture Open –project possible. This first project year has been full of activities and next year the project will continue with as much enthusiasm and liveliness as it has thus far.

Read the news regarding this year’s Accessibility Award at Joensuu City website (in Finnish only):

Vuoden esteettömyyspalkinto Culture Open -hankkeelle

Henna stands with the award plaque and a boquet of flowers, Liisa and Arto stand beside her and smile.
Project Coordinator Henna (on the left) accepted the Accessibility Award from Disability Council chairperson Liisa Karvinen (centre) and vice-chairperson Arto Pippuri (on the right).

December 11, 2019

Update: Web-based training course for immigrants

We are postponing the start of the web-based training course until next week.

The course will begin on Monday, December 16.

The course dates are:

  • Monday 16.12. from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday 18.12. from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m.
  • Friday 20.12. from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.

This course is free of charge. The course is aimed towards immigrants who are interested in becoming employed in the Finnish cultural industry. During the course, the participants will learn about how the Finnish cultural industry works, how different financing models work, the various ways to work in the cultural industry, as well as the various paths to the cultural industry.

There is still time to sign-up for the course!

Please sign up via the link below:

Sign-up for the course

December 4, 2019

Are you interested in becoming a cultural professional in Finland?

Culture Open –project organizes a web-based training course aimed at immigrants who are interested in becoming employed in the Finnish cultural sector. Culture Open is an accessibility project by the Joensuu City Cultural services that aims to facilitate the participation of immigrants in making and experiencing culture. The training course is organized in cooperation with Joensuu Multicultural Association (JoMoni).

During the course you will learn about the different ways to become employed as a cultural professional in Finland, learn how to compile a portfolio and a CV, and learn how to apply funding for artistic work.

The course consists of a web-course and a series of interview videos with local immigrant artists, which will be made available via YouTube.

The website for the course is:

The course dates are as follows:

Wednesday, December 11, 2-7 p.m.

Thursday, December 12, 2-7 p.m.

Wednesday, December 18, 2-7 p.m.

Thursday, December 18, 2-7 p.m.

The course is free of charge. If you are interested in taking part, please sign up via the web-address below:

If you have any questions relating to the course, please contact:

Juha Lehtinen

+358 45 176 7060

November 21, 2019

Multicultural Storyhour Workshops at the Joensuu Library!

Culture Open –project in cooperation with Joensuu Multicultural Association (JoMoni) and Joensuu Libraries organize a series of storyhour workshops at the Joensuu Main Library. The workshops begin in December 2019 and run through the spring of 2020. The workshops are produced by artist Päivi Saarelma and coached by Lori Stankovic, Celeste Richman and Masomeh Nazari.

These workshops are a part of Culture Open –project’s co-creative activities. The coaches are all people with immigrant backgrounds, who will share stories of their experiences. Each workshop will have its’ own theme. The workshops are free of charge. The first two workshops will be organized in December, and their themes will be ”Grandmother” and ”Solidarity”. The location for the workshops will be the Main Library’s ”Arts Square” (Taiteiden aukio) on the second floor (Koskikatu 25, 80100 Joensuu).

Come along to listen, discuss and experience!

Schedule for the workshops – December 2019:

December 3, ”Grandmother”

Arts Square, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Coach: Lori Stankovic

December 17, ”Solidarity”

Arts Square, 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Coach: Lori Stankovic

The workshop schedule for spring 2020 will be announced in January.

For more information on the workshops and Culture Open –project, please contact:

Project Coordinator Henna Karhapää

tel. 050 475 0362

June 4, 2019

Culture Open Able Art Group begins training!

Culture Open Able Art Group is an inclusive performance group compiled in spring 2019.

In June they will begin training for their performance at this year’s Night by the River festival in Joensuu on August 23. Night by the River is an annual city festival of arts and culture.

Culture Open Able Art Group is instructed by the dance- and performance artist Minni Hirvonen.

The group has been created as part of the Culture Open project that creates accessible and inclusive cultural services for the disabled and immigrants in Petrozavodsk and Joensuu.

The practice schedule for the Culture Open Able Art Group is as follows:











Performance at Night by the River on August 23.

The rehearsal time is from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m.

March 26, 2019

Accessibility Mapping of Cultural Facilities in Joensuu

On Wednesday March 13, Culture Open Project Coordinator Henna Karhapää and an expert group assigned by the Joensuu Disability Council: Matti Maukonen, Pirjo Hoikkanen and Raija Kortelainen, examined the accessibility of Joensuu Main Library and City Hall.

The mappings were carried out by using an accessibility mapping template. The template has been divided according to the function of the mapped spaces. The template’s questions aim to determine the physical accessibility of the mapped facilities, as well as the accessibility of the services offered in each place. In addition, the accessibility of the information available for each mapped location will be charted, including guide signs and websites.

Example questions from the mapping template.

The first location mapped was the Joensuu Main Library. The mappers were met by the Customer Services Chief Satu Lihavainen and Caretaker Asko Reittu. The team of disability experts tested the library facilities to see how the building functions as a space and how well the it provides services to those with disabilities. The Project Coordinator made notes of the experts’ observations and asked the staff additional questions about how the library operates.

Pirjo Hoikkanen and Raija Kortelainen are testing the functionality of the library’s lift. Caretaker Asko Reittu observes.

At the Main Library, the team charted the disabled parking and the main entrance, the lobby area and the disabled toilets, the lift and the staircase, reading room, 2nd floor lending library and customer services, 3rd floor music section and toilets, and the toilet facilities of the children’s lending library. Moreover, Tuija-Kaisa Teikari from the library assisted the group in investigating the accessibility of the lending service for electronic materials, such as e-books, and the usability of the customer computers.

Tuija-Kaisa Teikari shows Raija Kortelainen how to borrow electronic material from the library.
Customer Services Chief Satu Lihavainen and Pirjo Hoikkanen examine the usability of the customer computers at the library.

After lunch, the mapping team moved to the City Hall where they were met by the Administrative Chief Riitta Himanka. At the City Hall, the team charted the accessibility of the lobby, the disabled toilet, the coat room, the lift and the staircase, as well as the 2nd floor voting places and the 3rd floor lobby of the city administration.

Pirkko Hoikkanen assesses the accessibility of the City Hall staircase.

Riitta Himanka explained how accessibility of the City Hall voting places has been taken into account for this spring’s elections. For example, the 2nd floor of the City Hall will have at least one voting booth where the voter may fill in the voting slip while seated and the voting place will have a dedicated voting assistant, who can help with the voting process. In addition, the dim lighting of the voting place will be improved with additional lighting, so that those hard of seeing can move in the space with more ease.

The disability expert team is ready to chart! Project Coordinator is included in the image as a shadow.

On Friday March 15, the mapping team: Kati Natunen, Matti Maukonen, Pirjo Hoikkanen and Raija Kortelainen together with the Project Coordinator Henna Karhapää charted the accessibility of Carelicum and the North Karelian Museum HILMA.

At Carelicum, the team mapped the ease of movement in the lobby space as well as the customer services desks. In addition, the team tested the customer computer available in the lobby and the disabled toilet. The accessibility of the downstairs auditorium was also examined. The main issues arising from the mapping were the echoing nature of the space and the dim lighting.

Digital expert Kati Natunen tests the Carelicum customer computer.

Next the team moved to the exhibition space of the North Karelian Museum HILMA, which is located in connection with Carelicum. Museum Director Tarja Raninen-Siiskonen, Curator Iiris Heino and acting Curator Emma Martiskainen assisted the Project Coordinator and the team of disability experts in the charting of the museum facilities. First the mapping team looked at the accessibility of the temporary exhibition rooms, after which the 2nd floor permanent ehibition space was mapped. At the same time, the team tested the lift and stairs used by the museum and Carelicum.

Pirjo Hoikkanen and Matti Maukonen test the lift at Carelicum.

Movement through the exhibition space was relatively effortless. The disability experts did comment on the dim lighting  and the lack of light- and colour contrasts, which would have eased the movement of someone hard of seeing through the space. The exhibition rooms contained an abundance of audiovisual technology, which acted as a guiding material for the visitors. It was also noted that wheelchair may be used to easily move around the large scale model of Sortavala, as well as to get next to a touch screen with more information on the historical Sortavala. However, Matti Maukonen, the hard of hearing member of the disability expert team, suggested that an induction loop would help with the understanding of the audio information available in the exhibition space.

Raija Kortelainen examines the touch screen at North Karelian Museum HILMA.

On Monday March 18, the mapping team charted the accessibility of Art Museum ONNI and Carelia Concert Hall. The Project Coordinator was once more assisted by the team of disability experts, comprising Matti Maukonen, Pirjo Hoikkanen, Raija Kortelainen and Ritva Silvennoinen. At the Art Museum the mappers were greeted by Exhibition Administrator Jaana Hämäläinen, and the team charted the museum’s yard and entrance, lobby, customer services desk, disabled toilets, museum shop, temporary exhibition space, and the permanent exhibition spaces of the 2nd and 3rd floors.

Pirjo Hoikkanen and Raija Kortelainen tour the temporary exhibition space of Art Museum ONNI.

At the Art Museum, doorsteps have been removed from the rooms connecting the permanent exhibition spaces, which will ease movement from room to room. The disability experts felt that some exhibition rooms had lighting that was too dim for the art works to be properly viewed. The large carpets in some exhibition rooms made it difficult to move with a wheelchair, while the hard of hearing member of the expert team noted that the carpets help to mute the echo in the rooms.

The dim lighting of the Madonna Room is atmospheric, but makes it difficult to differentiate art works from their backgrounds.

In the afternoon, the mapping team moved to the University of Eastern Finland where the Carelia Concert Hall is located. Real Estate Engineer Tarja Räsänen and Campus Manager Markku Saravo guided the mapping team on the premises and answered the team’s questions about accessibility and acoustics. The Carelia Concert Hall features an induction loop, as well as a map detailing the areas it covers. Moving to, and throughout, the concert hall causes some problems because of the many steps and the lack of a lift. In addition to mapping the concert hall, the team charted the accessibility of the entrance, the disabled toilet, ticket desk and the staircase.

Raija Kortelainen tests the accessibility of the Carelia Concert Hall disabled toilet. This door has a horizontal pull-bar!
Matti Maukonen has found a sign indicating the presence of an induction loop at the Carelia Concert Hall.

These mappings have gone swiftly in good company. Many thanks to the disability experts of the Joensuu Disability Council, who patiently gave their time to map each of the facilities. Additional thanks belong to the staff of the mapped facilities, who were very positive about the mappings and answered the many questions posed by the team of experts and the Project Coordinator.

The results of the Accessibility Mapping will be presented later in the spring.

The team of disability experts discuss with the University of Eastern Finland staff at the Carelia Concert Hall.

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