Love in a cold climate: Creative ageing in Finland

Love in a cold climate: Creative ageing in Finland

By The Baring Foundation


How is Finland approaching the creative and cultural rights of and provision for older people? A series of case studies and reflections aimed at practitioners, policy makers and funders anywhere in the world with an interest in creative ageing.

The report is aimed at practitioners such as artists and carers, as well as policy makers and funders anywhere in the world with an interest in what more can be done to support older people, especially vulnerable older people, to take part in culture and creativity.

It includes a set of 18 case studies, as well as useful information about the Finnish context and reflections in relation to the field of creative ageing in the UK.

A Baring Foundation report written by David Cutler, Director of the Baring Foundation based in London, Raisa Karttunen, Producer, The Cable Factory, Finland and Jenni Räsänen, Development Specialist, Helsinki.


The world of creativity and culture has always flourished from the exchange of ideas and learning from others across international borders, leading to collaborations, friendships, and inspiring works of art and literature, performances and exhibitions. It is in the same spirit of understanding and co-operation that the Baring Foundation has published this independent report on the work being done to encourage a culture of creative ageing in communities across Finland. Once more this report demonstrates the power of the arts and culture to allow older people to take control of their own lives and express themselves creatively, and through that help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation, improve physical and mental wellbeing, and restore self-confidence.

This report comes at a time when many, whatever their age, have turned to creativity and culture to help maintain their wellbeing during the pandemic. Whether that is rediscovering, or for the first time exploring, their own creativity through music, art, writing or performance, or using technology to virtually visit the theatre, opera, galleries or museums. At the same time the creative and cultural sector has had to face challenges, including financial ones, as in many countries public health measures meant cancellations or closures. In England, and the rest of the UK, the sector’s survival has relied on unprecedented investment by the Government through the Culture Recovery Fund, allowing creativity and culture to continue to bring inspiration and joy into the lives of millions.

Recognising the contribution that creativity and culture can make to our wellbeing is familiar territory to the Arts Council. Celebrating Age, one of the programmes we have worked on with the Baring Foundation, has empowered older people as creators, artists, and curators. Around 64,000 older people have taken part in more than thirty projects since the inception of Celebrating Age. More than two hundred organisations have been involved, including the creation of new partnerships beyond the traditional realm of the arts with health and social care providers.

Our ten-year strategy Let’s Create reaffirms our commitment to use art, creativity, and culture to improve the health and well being of communities by building more partnerships of this kind, while our recently published Delivery Plan outlines how we intend to put the strategy into action in the years up to 2024.

Of course, each country has a unique political heritage and context and therefore different views on how to best implement projects of this kind in their own nations. The learning and best practice in using creative and cultural experiences to help older people in Finland which are described in this report will feed into the debate. It will no doubt be adapted, reshaped, and reused by practitioners in other countries in much in the same way as artists and creatives have done for generations by looking for inspiration beyond the borders of their home countries.

Head and shoulders Nicholas Serota

Nicolas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England

Download the report (PDF) 


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Resource type: Research | Published: 2022