You need to be brave to live here. Brave too to pack up and leave, starting a new life elsewhere. But even braver to stay and try to change things.
Far away from everything, on the periphery of Europe we face an uncompromising nature, extreme climate (change), enormous distances and wild vastness, excessive light and excessive darkness. Only a few in Europe are willing to live with extreme hardship and extreme beauty.
Yet Europe is much more than just its geographical core. We want Europe to get excited by its edges in 2026!
Finally, actual Climate Change impacts us more visibly here than almost anywhere else in Europe with biodiversity already significantly diminished. The global response to climate change has so far been too timid. We explore this topic in our theme Brave Hinterland.
The clock is ticking, the snow is melting. Time is limited if we want to keep our planet from overheating. In 2026 we want to highlight these issues in a public art commission embracing local environmental concerns within a European context.
Climate Clock will explore how climate change is affecting Sub-Arctic life; its effects on the weather, nature and culture. The project will create six permanent artworks across the region and the city of Oulu, forming a new cultural heritage route for Oulu2026 region.
Climate Clock is curated by Alice Sharp, Invisible Dust (UK). Alice has worked with artists and scientists since 2009 and is an international advisor and presenter on arts and climate change, including talks at Davos 2020 and the UN Development Programme 2019.
”I think it is vital to tell the story of how climate change is affecting the subarctic climate in the region. There is not enough knowledge or press coverage across Europe on how it is affecting the colder regions. I hope that my project ‘Climate Clock’ and the other Oulu2026 projects will raise awareness and profile of the local situation and enable a broader vision of climate change across the length and breadth of Europe.”
Climate Clock will enable high level art/science collaboration and professional development through a capacity building project. Over the coming years the international artists commissioned for Climate Clock will work with scientists to explore local stories. For example, the effects on daily life and people’s wellbeing during the shorter snow season. Less snow reduces ambient winter light as the snow acts as a reflector under the trees. People love the snow and the frozen sea. A reduction in the amount of seasonal snow and ice is seen as a cultural loss.
The fairy tale wall is a large interactive touch screen that creates a magical immersive space for children. In addition to watching and getting involved with a fairy tale, the screen has an option to create a snowstorm, make waves in a river, build a pile of colourful autumn leaves and even chase northern lights – all that simply by drawing with fingers. There’s also a panel where users can play musical instruments. What makes the screen even more unique is that you don’t even have to touch it: the surface is so sensitive that it reacts to hand waves.
Oulu2026 lounge offers free multicultural performances and live music during Qstock festival weekend
The traditional Qstock Festival takes place in late July, but this year the festival features also free-entry Oulu2026 park in Linnansaari from Thursday 28th to Saturday 30th July. The park is located near the Qstock festival area offering visitors a relaxing place to enjoy festival and culture atmosphere free of charge.
Oulu2026 Producer Heikki Myllylahti tells us that the Oulu2026 programme for the park is now ready for publication!
The travel and event management specialist Go Arctic is the latest business to join the Arctic Food Lab network. Established in 2008, the enterprise is owned by Sipe Åqvist together with Kirsi Eskola. Åqvist says that sourcing locally has always been at the heart of...
The eighth ART Ii Biennial that took place this June featured ecologically sustainable environmental and sculpture art for the northern environment within the areas of significant cultural heritage in Ii and the Ii Environmental Art Park. Involved in the ART Ii Biennial organisation since 2018, Jetta hails from Oulu but has also lived in Lapland for long periods of time.
The first ever whole-weekend Maakinen Martinniemi (the Magical Martinniemi) festival took place this June. The event’s host, Jukka Takalo, says that a multi-artistic community event is extremely important for the entire region. The event was first launched in 2009 when Takalo and J.A. Mäki came up with the idea of staging a cultural event in the controversial Kurtinhauta seaside area.
Music, participatory art and delicious food – Oulu2026 park opens in Linnansaari during Qstock weekend
Oulu was recently elected the European Capital of Culture, which will give us the opportunity to enjoy its growing and enhanced cultural offerings. The European Capital of Culture programme can also be seen in the production of the largest music festival in Northern...
In the Air – Felt by a number of people to be happening, or about to happen. In co-operation with the Oulu2026 –organisation the Art Ii Biennial will present an afternoon of art and art/science discussions in Ii, Thursday 16th June. The event will highlight the art...
Oulu is covered with snow for an average of five months a year. Organising outdoor events is a challenge in this climate: freezing temperatures and limited daylight make most people think twice before they venture outside to see a concert or a play. Oulu2026 will...
The Finnish city of Oulu, European Capital of Culture 2026, announces an Open Call for cultural programme partners
Finland will take the cultural centre stage in Europe in 2026 as the City of Oulu, together with 32 municipalities in Northern Finland, holds the title of the European Capital of Culture 2026. The year will be full of inspiring, diverse and unique cultural offerings...
Folk music and folkdance day is celebrated again on May 14th in Finland. Are you interested in Finnish folk music and folk dance, curious to find out more about the "kantele", the "jouhikko" or national costumes in Finland? What on earth is a "mänkeri" and how many...