What is the role of art institutions in the reconciliation process? – The Sámi Truth and Reconciliation Commission Debate

Valokuva vaaleasta betonisesta seinästä, jossa näkyy osittain seinällä olevat sanat omilla riveillään: "finl, norv, svez" - oletettavasti jollain kielellä suomi, norja ja ruotsi. Tekstin päällä on tuohesta tehty tasku tai veistos.

Kuva: Maaria Ylikangas

The primary mission of the Sámi Truth and Reconciliation Commission is to listen to the Sámi people, individuals, and groups. The Commission aims to raise awareness of the Sámi as Finland's indigenous people and strengthen the realization of Sámi rights in Finland.

The work of the Sámi Truth and Reconciliation Commission has finally begun this autumn in Finland. What does it mean, and how does it relate to Finnish art institutions? Baltic Circle Festival has invited the commission to present its political mandate and discuss the role of art institutions in the reconciliation process. 


16:00 On Being a Peacemaker
Baltic Circle Festival’s Artistic Director Hanna Parry

16:10 Introduction of the Mandate and the Commission
Commission’s Chair Hannele Pokka

16:25 Truth and Stories as Part of Trauma Processing
Project Manager of the Sámi Psychosocial Support Unit Uvja, Heidi Eriksen

16:40 What Does Reconciliation between Nations Mean Politically and Culturally?
Mediator and Conflict Resolution Professional Miriam Attias

16:50 What Future Does Truth and Reconciliation Work Build?
Secretary-General of the Commission Ulla Aikio-Puoskari

17:00 The Role of Art Institutions in Promoting Reconciliation
Curator, Expert on Art World Structures Taru Elfving

17:15 How Can Art Institutions Support the Commission’s Work? – Panel Discussion
Pokka, Eriksen, Elfving

17:30 Audience Questions to Speakers

18:00 The Event Ends

In addition to the public discussion, Baltic Circle organizes a workshop for art institutions, with the aim of dismantling structural discrimination and seeking concrete forms of reconciliation work.

According to the Finnish Government, the institution of truth and reconciliation commissions has its roots in the 1970s. Internationally, truth commissions or truth and reconciliation commissions are processes that examine collective injustices in history. The Sámi Truth and Reconciliation process finally began this autumn with the hearing of the Sámi people, and the truth and reconciliation report is expected to be completed by the end of 2025.

The public discussion introduces the truth and reconciliation commissioners and their mandate, and asks how the truth affects Finland’s identity and historiography. What are the new narratives that reconciliation requires, and what is the responsibility of art institutions in spreading them?

The events are realized in cooperation with the Finnish-Norwegian Cultural Institute (FINNO), Nordic Culture Point and the Goethe Institut Finnland. 

Fri 17.11. 16.00

Cafe Willensauna
Bergbominkuja 1, 00100 Helsinki

Duration: 2h
Language: Finnish, English interpretation available

For participant:

The event is free.


Read more about the accessibility of the space here.