Cross-sectoral cooperation meets the needs of a changing city – cultural actors seen as a resource and opening new viewpoints

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2018-12-11 8:00

Cross-sectoral cooperation meets the needs of a changing city – cultural actors seen as a resource and opening new viewpoints

“When engaging in cross-sectoral cooperation, results are usually better and impact is stronger.”

The EspooCult project studied the realisation of cross-sectoral cooperation in line with the City of Espoo’s strategy, the Espoo Story. The CultureEspoo 2030 Programme actions are also cross-sectoral, and their realisation requires commitment from the different sectors.

The EspooCult project interviewed City of Espoo staff and office-holders working at various sectors and studied strategic and administrative documents. This made it possible to comprehensively sum up the status of cross-sectoral cooperation at the City of Espoo’s organisational branches.

Cross-sectoral development programmes are a central tool whereby to engage in cooperation within the City. The study shows that, in the work of City employees, the programmes are distant from everyday work and objectives. Core operations leave no time or resources for cross-sectoral cooperation. Based on the study interviews, an individual person may hinder or promote the building of cooperation and trust. In addition, employees often have an established idea of the contents and limits of their own work. This makes it difficult to adopt new operating models. “It is difficult to instil working together as part of operations”, sums up one interviewee.

The Cultural Unit’s expertise is considered important in developing residents’ participation and inclusion. Those operating in the field of culture open up new viewpoints and may thus serve as a resource for other sectors. Yet culture is only somewhat evident in the plans and actions of cross-sectoral development programmes. Actors’ work processes are out of phase with each other. Indicators, funding and operations are monitored by sector and by profit centre. There are virtually no indicators monitoring cooperation and the realisation of cross-sectorality.

The study shows that, in order to promote cross-sectoral cooperation, we need new network-like structures and methods, various funding instruments, expertise in strategic development, opening of premises for shared use, dialogue, involving different stakeholder groups and residents in processes, and more.

“It should be irrelevant to city residents what profit centre takes care of their affairs; instead, everything should come across as a uniform service and support produced by the City of Espoo.”

The two-year EspooCult research project studies what kind of a city of culture Espoo is. Commissioned by the City of Espoo’s Cultural Unit and realised by the Center for Cultural Policy Research (Cupore), the project offers extensive and solid knowledge for the development of the city. The research project was launched in January 2018. As research progresses, a total of four fact sheets will be published at set intervals. The first fact sheet was published on 26 April 2018 and the second on 11 December 2018.

EspooCult Fact Sheet 2 (pdf 11.12.2018)

More information:
EspooCult research project 

The Espoo story, and cross-sectoral development programmes 

CultureEspoo 2030 Programme 

Contact persons:

Senior Researcher Anna Kanerva, Center for Cultural Policy Research (Cupore)
tel. +358 50 302 1414,

Cultural Director Susanna Tommila, City of Espoo, Cultural Unit
tel. +358 43 825 5074,

Development Officer Katja Koskela, City of Espoo, Cultural Unit
tel. +358 43 827 1080,