Turku's common Cultural Promise: “A Time of Art and Culture!” is the product of a participatory process and provides a direction for the future Cultural spearhead project. After the launch of an extensive planning phase in the autumn, a strategic and visionary view of the development of culture in Turku has been created. The Cultural and Youth Committee will discuss the Cultural Promise at its meeting on 24 March. After it has been discussed in the committee, the matter will proceed to the Turku City Council for approval.

Art, culture and cultural well-being have a visible role in Turku's new city strategy. The Cultural Promise is the basis of the Cultural spearhead project included in the Mayor's Policy Programme. The aim is to develop and promote the operating conditions of art and culture in Turku in cooperation with the operators in the field. The spearhead project will support the well-being of the city’s residents and the vitality of the region. 

‘The Cultural Promise contains five key themes and related goals. The key themes are happy Turku residents, art and culture as work, unlimited structures, renewing and creating spaces for encounters as well as inviting and attractive cultural offerings’, says Minna Sartes, Recreation Director of the City of Turku. 

The content of the Cultural Promise was implemented as a participatory process. The city organised a total of nine workshops for different groups of participants and also gave an opportunity for a broader group to express their views online.  

‘The Cultural Promise is something for the entire city, so it has been wonderful that a large number of city residents, employees and city operators have been involved in its planning; from art professionals, associations and other independent operators to representatives of companies and educational institutions. Together we are also working on further action as part of the cultural key project‘, says Sartes. 

The participatory process and the result of the Cultural Promise were interpreted by Turku artists, animation artist and illustrator Sade Lahti, and the Aboa Prize winner and literary artist Veera Vähämaa. Lahti visualised the work on the Cultural Promise and its final project as a cartoon diary, with pictures produced using different styles and techniques. Vähämaa compiled a communal work - a text collage - from the discussions during the participatory events related to the Cultural Promise using the so-called “ear poem” method.