Accessibility and diversity of culture
The Ministry of Education and Culture aims to provide linguistic and cultural minorities, persons with disabilities and other special groups with opportunities to participate in culture and express their creativity on an equal basis with the rest of the population.
Arts and culture must be accessible to all. The realisation of equality and non-discrimination requires often that the special needs of the different minority groups are taken into account when designing services and support forms.
The Access to Art and Culture committee set as a goal in its final report (2014) that the cultural rights of especially the linguistic and cultural minorities and persons with disabilities shall be reinforced.
In the Meaningful in Finland action plan (2016), the Ministry determined measures to be undertaken to enhance multiculturalism, inclusion and equality and to combat hate speech and racism.
The Arts Promotion Centre grants subsidies for the promotion of accessibility of arts and culture and the promotion of multiculturalism.
Celia, the Finnish Library for the Visually Impaired, serves print disabled people and functions under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and Culture.
Accessibility of culture
Cultural supply is accessible when different groups and communities are able to use it and participate in it easily and without obstacles.
Accessibility of culture may be improved through removing obstacles for participation. These obstacles may have to do with sensory difficulties, communication, difficulties in understanding, attitudes, physical or economic factors, or shortcomings in the decision-making.
Lack of means may also constitute an obstacle. The project Kulttuuripassi and its follow-up project Kaikukortti, both supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture, aim to improve the possibilities for financially hard-pressed young people, adults and families to participate in the cultural life and to do art as a hobby.
These activities are coordinated by the service Culture for all.
Promotion of languages and cultures of cultural minorities
There are strong minorities with long traditions in Finland, such as the Swedish-speaking Finns and the Saami people. Other linguistic and cultural minorities include sign language users, the Roma, Old Russians, Tatars, and various immigrant groups. Immigration continues to increase multiculturalism in Finland. The various groups of persons with disabilities, members of different religious communities, sexual minorities, and different age groups also have their own cultural special features.
Of the national cultural minorities, the Saami, as an indigenous people, as well as the Roma and certain other groups have a statutory right to maintain and develop their own language and culture. The Saami have a cultural autonomy, which the Saami Parliament is responsible for.
An action programme to revive the use of Skolt Saami, Inari Saami and Northern Saami was adopted by government resolution in 2014. The programme aims to reinforce early childhood education and care and language nest activities in Saami as well as to develop the instruction of the Saami language. Language planning, recording and research as well as the Saami culture are being promoted within the programme. The objective of the programme is to increase the number of Saami speakers, to promote the provision of services in Saami, and to enhance the respect for the use of the Saami languages.
The Ministry of Education and Culture also aims to introduce a revival programme for the Karelian language to support the preservation and use of the Karelian language and culture. In 2017, the Ministry will grant subsidies for the launch of the programme.
Subsidies granted by the Ministry are also used to support the publication of newspapers and online publications in Swedish, Saami, Karelian, Romani and the sign language, and to support the production and publication of other materials in Saami and Karelian.