In this series of stories, we present the Culture for Everyone services of the City of Espoo, the aim of which is to promote equality and the accessibility of cultural services by making culture available to residents of all ages. In the first part of the series, we explore the Culture Chain.
The Culture Chain service offers art and culture services to elderly people and care staff at nursing homes, residential care homes and service centres. The service was originally developed in Espoo in 2007–2008. In 2008, the Eurocities network awarded the Culture Chain as an administrative innovation.
The Culture Chain is used to bring culture to those citizens who, for health or other reasons, are unable to access the cultural offering themselves. The idea behind it is that all residents of the city have the right to a good life and cultural services, regardless of where they live.
Visits organised by the Culture Chain may include small-scale concerts, dance and theatre presentations, poetry and literature gatherings, organised dances with accompanying music or workshops. These stimulating and delightful cultural presentations and activities are provided by art and culture professionals and art enthusiasts from every age group. This means that the Culture Chain also employs local artists.
For residential care homes and nursing homes, the Culture Chain experiences are free of charge, as the artist fees are provided by the Cultural Unit of the City of Espoo. Residential care homes and nursing homes may order suitable programmes for their residents from the cultural selection available. In 2019, the Culture Chain reached over 8,500 customers.
In 2020, the coronavirus has restricted the operation of the Culture Chain. Despite the exceptional circumstances, various visits are organised by the Culture Chain in summer 2020, all of which take place outdoors. These include small-scale music performances, sing-alongs, dance theatre and poetry readings.
Musician Hanna Haapamäki says that the activities of the Culture Chain are also meaningful to the performers.
“The five-concert quota allocated to my duo was reached during the first 24 hours, with a number of enthusiastic concert enquiries sent to my email. Our performance seems to be a long-awaited event for this summer. Many of the contact persons at the service centres also stressed the importance of having live music in everyday life of the elderly after a hard spring in isolation due to the coronavirus. I am glad to have this opportunity to practice my profession as a musician to the delight of the elderly in my home town of Espoo,” Haapamäki says.
Are you an artist or art actor interested in the activities of the Culture Chain? Would you like to offer activities or programme to be part of the Culture Chain? Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.