Culture programme

Oulu2026 -programme aims for Cultural Climate Change!

Inspiring. Sustainable. European. That is our vision for the Oulu 2026 cultural programme. A vision which meets our goal of Cultural Climate Change. Creating a movement. Supporting artists, creative producers and citizens to work together to build a new Oulu. Fit for the future. Building on our past. Connecting our Arctic
Hinterland to Europe’s heartland.

First and foremost, our vision is built on creating new connections. Creativity, curiosity and ingenuity are the result when different ideas and people meet. Our movement will encourage Cultural Climate Change to radiate out from Oulu right across Europe. Promoting things that thrill, challenge and change.

There are three cornerstones to our artistic vision

  1. We are committed to building an inspiring programme and to do it sustainably. We live in a region where the effects of climate change are visible every day.
  2. We need to bring culture to new arenas, opening it up to new audiences through different experiences in incredible places.
  3. we need to revamp the way our cultural system works. To de-institutionalise and to de-centralise. Not least through involving children and encouraging young people to become major co-creators, letting them run wild in a city whose future belongs to them.

Oulu2026 wants to be a European laboratory, to find solutions to the changing cultural climate in which we find ourselves, finding the right balance between fear and freedom. We argue that technology had separated us and disconnected people. Of course, technology has enabled us to stay connected and to continue to function. Yet we all know that functioning is not the same as really living and that the imbalance in our communities between those who are connected by technology and those who aren’t has become even more obvious. This is what we were trying to get across with Cultural Climate Change.

We want to shift Oulu’s emphasis from being a hard-tech, functional city to one which is full. Full of soul. Full of possibilities. Full of Culture.


How the Culture Programme is structured

The structure of the cultural programme divides the story of Cultural Climate Change into three chapters or themes. Each chapter includes a group of exciting projects which bring our story to life. Together they combine to produce a compelling glimpse of what the future could hold.

Wild City theme tells how, out of a harsh, unforgiving Northern wilderness, grows a city with a unique wildness of creative spirit, focused on encouraging and supporting the dreams of young people.

Cool Contrasts celebrates, challenges and connects the contrasts that are such a strong feature of Northern life. The differences and divisions – both here and in Europe – between the connected and the disconnected, between light and darkness and between technology and art.

Brave Hinterland tells stories of life at the edge and on the edge, of climate change and of an area yet to be fully discovered by Europe.


Three major international flagship projects kick off the chapters while a fourth new reconnecting flagship provides a dynamic and fitting prologue to our Cultural Climate Change story. Each of the three theme chapters is divided into programme lines which enable us to group connected projects together to maximise synergy and impact.


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