• Image: Syd Shelton, Rock Against Racism

    The Finnish Institute in London has invited four culture professionals from the UK and Finland to discuss how culture can drive social change 13 November at the Autograph Gallery in London.

    Journalist and Cultural Broker Umayya Abu-Hanna and Activist and Rap Musician Karri “Paleface” Miettinen represent Finland at the event – and Photographer Syd Shelton and Professor Carol Tulloch from the University of Arts London are bringing the British angle to the conversation.

    Frustrations of rock musicians and cultural activist at the racist atmosphere in 1976-81 in Britain were channeled through the Rock Against Racism movement.

    According to the photographer Syd Shelton, who participated in the movement, it united artists and activists to work towards a common goal. Shelton has documented the movement in photographs, which he calls “graphic arguments”.

    “In Rock Against Racism movement we wanted to make antiracism popular and to point out the whole absurdity of racism. We were all very different and had different political views. The unity of it all was that we were all very committed anti-racists and all loved music.” Shelton says.

    Writer-Journalist Umayya Abu-Hanna says that conflicts can crush buildings, cities and even nations, but the hundreds of thousands of refugees who will form a part of future Europe will bring in a new seed of (counter) culture.

    According to Abu-Hanna, in the last five years The Arab Spring, has explored the post-modern renaissance in the Arab world, specifically, through culture.

    “I am a Finn with roots in Palestinian and Middle-Eastern cultures. Today hundreds of thousands of refugees represent countercultures also in their own culture. We have the privilege of a peaceful and prosperous society, and we can turn the power of different counter cultures into a dynamic new world."

    Culture Has the Power! is part of the Finnish Institute in London’s Society Programme which raises the issues of equality and diversity as one of its main focus areas.

    “There has been similar movement recently in Finland to Rock Against Racism in the UK. Thousands of people took part in demonstrations, such as Meillä on unelma (We Have A Dream) and Suomi Says Welcome, against racism all over Finland last summer and autumn,” says Johanna Sumuvuori, Head of Society Programme at the Finnish Institute in London.

    The Finnish Institute in London identifies emerging issues and strives to make a positive impact on society.

    The Director of The Finnish Institute in London, Pauliina Ståhlberg says the Institute will focus on the very current questions around equality and multiculturalism in the future.

    “Culture Has The Power addresses these themes that are affecting Europe right now – and looking for solutions through culture.”

    18:30 - 20:30 Friday 13 November
    The Autograph Gallery, Rivington Place, Hoxton, EC2A 3BA London

    The event is open to public and free of charge - please find the details of the Facebook event here

  • Meillä on unelma (We Have A Dream) event gathered over 15 000 Finns to demonstrate against racism in Helsinki 28.7.15
Wednesday, 4th November 2015