Open Up and Shape Helsinki Symposium

Open Up and Shape Helsinki Symposium




12:00 – 16:00


broken clouds

With: Kohta

The Open Up and Shape Helsinki Symposium’s objective is to widen institutional knowledge, and to open up more sustainable collaborative methods for working with more equal, diverse and ethical practices for small to medium scale art organisations. Speakers will include Carolina RitoBassam El Baroni and Cynthia Cruz, and the full program will be announced during May 2022. The symposium will mobilise synergies around SHAPE (Spaces, Helsinki, Art, Projects, Events) platform, initiated in 2021 by PUBLICS and Kohta.

Over the course of three days Open Up and Shape Helsinki is structured around a position paper, a moderated discussion, followed by performed propositions in the form of rants and raves. The symposium, taking place at PUBLICS in Vallila is focused around three key thematics:

• Institutional reimagining and future publics
• Infrastructure of power, and (re-)distribution
• Money, class and access

How do local organisations respond to the urgencies of our current moment? In planning this symposium, we keep in mind our many immediate and common challenges with view to: opening up and making resources, funding and their institutions more transparent and productive. At the same time, acknowledging how art organisations with short-term funding are too often in a reactive mode, so how can we build strategies for redistributing and decentralising power for the foreseeable future? This symposium begins by opening up how questions of equity, labour, money and structures of power are configured globally, and connects to Helsinki’s local context.

The symposium programme is planned in collaboration with Kunsthalle Kohta in the framework of the three-year Open Up (Creative Europe) project, for which PUBLICS is a partner. Through Open Up and Shape Helsinki, PUBLICS will map out, invite, and nurture new audiences for its activities. Frame Contemporary Art Finland joins the collaboration by co-hosting one session in the context of Rehearsing Hospitalities public programme.

Bassam El Baroni is assistant professor in curating at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Aalto University, Finland. Formerly, he has lectured at the Dutch Art Institute, ArtEZ University of the Arts, Arnhem and was artistic director of the now folded non-profit art space ACAF – Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum in Alexandria, Egypt (2005–2012). His current research engages with financialization in relation to artistic practices, artists’ engagement with infrastructural futures and histories, and new forms of artist-led activism. Recent curatorial projects include: Infrahauntologies at the Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art, Oldenburg, Germany, and La Box, ENSA Bourges, France (2021, 2022). He is the author of various essays on artists, art and curating, and editor of Between the Material and the Possible: Infrastructural Re-examination and Speculation in Art (Sternberg Press and Edith Russ Haus, 2022) and co-editor, together with Ida Soulard and Abinadi Meza, of Manual for a Future Desert (Mousse Publishing, 2021).

Cynthia Cruz is a PhD student at the European Graduate School where her dissertation work focuses on Hegel’s concept of Verrüktheit and the possibility of emancipation. The author of The Melancholia of Class: A Manifesto for the Working Class, and Disquieting: Essays on Silence, she is currently at work on a book exploring negative freedom and the working class.

Carolina Rito is Professor of Creative Practice Research, at the Research Centre for Arts, Memory and Communities (CAMC), at Coventry University; and leads on the centre’s Critical Practices research strand. Rito is a researcher and curator whose work explores ‘the curatorial’ as an investigative practice, expanding practice-based research in the fields of curating, visual arts, visual cultures and cultural studies. Rito is the co-editor of Institution as Praxis – New Curatorial Directions for Collaborative Research (Sternberg, 2020), Architectures of Education (e-flux Architecture, 2020), and FABRICATING PUBLICS: the dissemination of culture in the post-truth era (Open Humanities Press, forthcoming). Rito is editor of “On Translations” (2018) and “Critical Pedagogies” (2019) issues (The Contemporary Journal). From 2017 to 2019, she was Head of Public Programmes and Research at Nottingham Contemporary, leading the institution’s research strategy with Nottingham Trent University and University of Nottingham. She holds a PhD in Curatorial/Knowledge from Goldsmiths, University of London, where she taught from 2014 to 2016.

Visit for more information:
→ Open Up

This event is being held as part of the Open Up, a project that has been co-funded by the European Commission under the Creative Europe Programme.

Thu 09 Jun 2022 – 10 Jun 2022 12:00 – 16:00


broken clouds

Sturenkatu 37-41 4b
00550 Helsinki