Conference: Norm Critical Leadership. Challenging Norms and Nordic Exceptionalism


Wed Feb 08 2023 at 09:00 am to Thu Feb 09 2023 at 05:00 pm


Caisa | Helsinki, ES

Streaming links:
Wednesday, 8 February:
Thursday, 9 February:
Many art and culture institutions and funders are now working actively towards more equal and inclusive practices. At the same time, the awareness of inequality in Nordic societies and in the Nordic art and culture field is increasing. Nonetheless Nordic art and culture organizations continue to be exclusive when it comes to working conditions, recruitment and curation practices.
In the conference Norm Critical Leadership. Challenging Norms and Nordic Exceptionalismwe ask, how one can become a changemaker and dismantle discriminatory norms, normative structures and hierarchies within the arts and culture sector? What does norm critical leadership mean in different situations and contexts?
The aim of the conference is to critically analyze the rhetoric of and the passionate engagement with narratives of “Nordicness” and “Nordic exceptionalism”. Openness, equity, equality and sustainability are seen as the foundations of Nordic societies and Nordic cooperation and the keys to Nordic Exceptionalism. However, the positive narratives often ignore the existence of unjust structures in our societies, and art and cultural institutions, too.
What are the technologies that reproduce the discriminatory norms of, for example, whiteness, racism, ableism, sexism and homophobia? What does it take for the art and culture organizations to make the positive narratives come true? What kind of leadership is needed to put the diversity strategies to practice? How to be accountable?
This two day conference is aimed at professionals and people in leadership positions within the arts and culture field in the Nordic countries. The conference will go beyond ‘talking diversity discourse’ and work concretely with the goal of creating a Nordic art and culture field in which accessibility, inclusion, participation and accountability are the starting point.

The conference is organized by the Nordic Network of Norm Critical Leadership and Culture for All Service in cooperation with the City of Helsinki, Cultural Centre Caisa, Goethe-Institut Finnland, IMMART, Embassy of Sweden in Helsinki and University of the Arts Helsinki. The conference is supported by the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Speakers and topics
Check out the web page for the conference:
The speakers at the conference will be artists, cultural workers, practitioners and researchers who work with accountability, questions of leadership, and practices of de-stabilizing current discriminatory structures within our institutions. All keynotes, artistic talks and panels will focus on which practices that have give impact, a critical approach to norms, leadership and – the role of vision strategies, and one of the sessions will be arranged by the participants of the Future Leaders. Changemaking and Challenging Norms workshop (7.2.2023).
A list of all the speakers can be found here:
Live streaming at the Conference
Wednesday, 8 February:
Thursday, 9 February:
a) Accessibility of the conference (online and on site)
The language of the conference is English. There program will be interpreted to International Sign Language.
The streaming will have live captions in English.
b) Accessibility at the venue:
The accessible entrance to Caisa is from Kaikukatu 4. The main entrance to Caisa is in the courtyard of Leipätehdas. Caisa’s facilities are accessible: no obstacles or height differences are present in rooms or corridors.
There are clear signs at the premises. In the auditorium, the seats designed for wheelchairs are accessible by elevator via the 3rd floor. The Festivity Hall, gallery and auditorium are equipped with a hearing induction loop. Assistance dogs are welcome. Read more about accessibility at Caisa.
See the event web page for further information:

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the event coordinator:
Ruka Toivonen (they/them)
Culture for All Service
[email protected]

Where is it happening?

Caisa, Kaikukatu 4,Helsinki, Finland, Helsinki, Finland

Event Location & Nearby Stays:

Kulttuuri Helsinki

Host or Publisher Kulttuuri Helsinki

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