Baltic Circle – Anna-Mari Karvonen, Anna Mustonen, Emmi Venna – Photo: Tani Simberg

Baltic Circle is committed to advancing social justice in its work; this includes the promotion of equality, diversity and gender equality.

Strengthening social equality and accessibility at Baltic Circle

  • Baltic Circle aims to be an organisation that is free of unfair discrimination and harassment. We actively examine and work on our festival practices and we closely follow the contents of the performances and the work of the working groups. We will intervene in the case of any kind of unfair discrimination and harassment and are committed to creating the safest possible spaces for our staff, artists and audience.

  • Baltic Circle creates events and platforms where artists have autonomy over their content as well as over how resources are spent. The festival is based on trust, listening and openness. We stand firmly behind the festival artists and give them the space to speak using their own voice.

  • The festival curation is subject to a gender quota: at least 50 % of the presented creators are cis women, transgender or non-binary individuals. Our programming and recruiting are also guided by cultural diversity.

  • The festival is held in a variety of different spaces in the Helsinki metropolitan region as well as online, with a primary aim of creating events in the best possible conditions to support artistic content. When planning our events, we take into account the factors of location, accessibility, barrier-free mobility and safety.

  • Baltic Circle communicates primarily in English to facilitate communication with non-Finnish audiences, professionals and partners. The festival also endeavors to offer a programme in English or in other languages; in recent years, Baltic Circle has hosted performances and events in e.g. Northern Sámi and Arabic.

  • There are also plenty of free events in the festival programme. We have a wish to support economic equality by maintaining an affordable price level for tickets and by doing away with different ticket categories that support inequality. We always attempt to also offer a “pay what you can” alternative for tickets.

A sustainable workplace

Baltic Circle strives to create an open and conversational working atmosphere. Employees have opportunities to shape the content of their own work, as well as to educate themselves and develop their own skills. Committed employees and long-term relationships with staff, partners and artists make it possible to share values, create programmes with a wide reach and continuity, forge allyships, and implant new operational models.

Baltic Circle pays appropriate and equal wages to its artists and festival workers. Our hiring processes and compensation for participating artists follow the collective labour agreements of Finland’s theatre field. Interns also receive compensation for their work.

Baltic Circle is actively developing a more sustainable working culture by tending to wellbeing at work, by investing in the continuity of employment contracts, by slowing down and deepening production and communication processes, as well as balancing resources and functions appropriately.

Starting in 2020, the duration of the festival has been extended. More performances will be held, and the festival will become a more prominent part of the cityscape. There will be more opportunities and more time for public discourse to take up topics that arise in the festival. This will enhance the potential for societal change and allow a deeper exchange between art and the audience.

The international performing arts circuit has seen huge growth and set a faster speed during the two decades of Baltic Circle’s existence. These days, travel is no longer self-evident. A division into ‘local’ and ‘international’ is also no longer relevant. One of Baltic Circle’s core functions continues to be supporting artist mobility and building Nordic, European and transcontinental communities and contacts. In order to be sustainable in the current situation, the frequency of artist and curator visits is being reduced, and instead emphasis is being put on visitors coming for longer periods. This is being done also as a way to widen the social impact of international exchanges.

The festival relies on allyships and strong networks. In addition to partnerships in the creative field, Baltic Circle is also collaborating with stakeholders working with the themes of social and ecological sustainability. Baltic Circle participates in efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change by collaborating with Landscape Rewilding, a nature restoration programme which is operated in Finland by the independent nonprofit Cooperative Snowchange (Lumimuutos).

Baltic Circle is one of eleven Helsinki-based arts organisations to have compiled a strategy addressing gender equality, anti-racism and the realisation of just employment practices in its work.

Baltic Circle is an ally member of the feminist, anti-racist NGO Fem-R. The aim of the organisation is to boost POC voices in Finnish society and participate in the creation of an equal and safe Finland for all.

Our organisation declares itself a discrimination-free zone and undertakes to:

  • Treat all customers and staff equally, irrespective of the person’s gender, age, ethnic origin, religion or belief, opinion, state of health, disability or sexual orientation.

  • Inform all employees that it has declared itself a discrimination-free zone.

  • Display the Discrimination-free Zone sign somewhere on its premises for all to see.

  • Take all reports or suspicions of discrimination seriously.

Baltic Circle – Anna-Mari Karvonen, Anna Mustonen, Emmi Venna – Photo: Tani Simberg

People in an industrial hall watching a presentation. On a screen there is a green and yellow illustration with an orange symbol in the middle. The symbol has a closed fist in the middle and a symbol representing all genders around it
Baltic Circle – New Solidarities – Photo: Tani Simberg.
There is a child and an adult in the picture. The child is interpreting the adults palm. The child has a metal helmet on. The helmet has a brim that is in the shape of a crescent and it hides the child's eyes.
In Francesca Grilli’s Sparks, children become oracles, bearers of mystical knowledge and wielders of magical powers. The perfomance was part of Baltic Circle’s festival programme in 2019. Photo: Tani Simberg.