Glowember is coordinated by the Oulu Culture Foundation, also known as Oulu2026. Oulu is the European Capital of Culture in 2026. The extensive operating area spans 39 municipalities in northern Finland, which are all participating in the culture program. Across 12 municipalities in the area, November will be brightened by a wide range of events and artworks. The events are organized by various entities, including municipalities and associations. Some of the events are already well known, while others are being organized for the first time.
The Lumo Light Festival has demonstrated how the union of darkness and light inspires people and creates new experiences. This play of contrasts is now being extended over a longer period and supplemented with additional content and new themes. The whole spectacle takes place over a broader area, as part of the journey toward the Cultural Capital Year in 2026.
The first Glowember includes Ii, Kajaani, Kemi, Kempele, Liminka, Lumijoki, Muhos, Nivala, Oulu, Tornio, Tyrnävä, and Ylivieska. Events are free of charge, but some require registration in advance. In some municipalities, artist Pia Leppänen and lighting designer Indrek Virronen have conducted workshops to create a community art installation called ‘Water, My Beloved.’
Illuminating Everyday Life Together
“We want to expand the concept of culture and introduce people to the Oulu2026 area. The darkest time of the year may tempt people to stay at home, but we encourage participation and sharing one’s experiences of the joy that light brings. There are numerous opportunities across a wide region,” says Mirja Syrjälä, Oulu2026’s Community Engagement Coordinator.
Syrjälä adds that individuals can participate in Glowember in ways that suit them, such as illuminating their everyday surroundings, like their backyards or workplace windows, in a new way. Light can also be shared on social media, and those who publish light-themed images on their social channels using the hashtags #Glowember and #Oulu2026 will have a chance to win Oulu2026 merchandise, such as t-shirts.
Articles about light from various perspectives will be published on Oulu2026’s website. Contributors include producer Veikko Leinonen from Kajaani’s Kekri Festival, researcher Henrika Pihlajaniemi from the University of Oulu, creativity coach Virve Saaranen from Hyvän Mielen Talo, executive director Virve Leikola and curator Anna Björklund from the Finnish Light Art Society FLASH, as well as CEO Roope Siiroinen from VALOA design.
First to ignite the flame – Marrastulet
One part of the Glowember is Marrastulet (November Fires), an immersive and participatory series of light events in the municipalities of Rantalakeus. Tyrnävä takes a head start on Glowember; Marrastulet events will be available there starting from Monday, October 30th. Events will be held every week throughout November. Kemi, for example, is participating in Glowember with permanent artworks that can be visited at any time.
Check out all Glowember events at: oulu2026.eu/en/glowember
What kind of postcard would you send from Oulu? What is the heart of your neighbourhood? Take part in a survey!
We are looking for interesting, intriguing, or even forgotten stories and places to bring up through arts and culture. Share your stories by taking part in our survey!
Oulu is the European Capital of Culture in year 2026. The heart of the Culture Capital is the Cultural Programme that spreads widely through Oulu. This questionnaire is a preliminary survey on where and how the Culture Programme should be implemented in the area.
The questionnaire is open from January 9 to January 31. Answering the questionnaire will take approximately 5-10 minutes. We would like to get answers especially considering stories and places of Haukipudas, Kiiminki, Oulunsalo, Yli-Ii and Ylikiiminki.
This questionnaire is published in co-operation by the Urban Environmental Services of the City of Oulu and Oulu Culture Foundation.
Take part in the survey with the following link in English https://query.eharava.fi/3882 or in Finnish https://query.eharava.fi/3880
+358 (0)44 703 7558
The City of Oulu, together with 33 Northern Finnish municipalities and cities, will be the European Capital of Culture in 2026. The year will be full of inspiring, diverse and unique cultural offerings delivered by thousands of actors from Europe. The Open Call 2022 is aimed at large-scale projects that take several years to prepare. The Oulu2026 team will support international applicants to find local collaborators within the Oulu2026 region.
Join information webinar in English via Zoom on 19th of OCT at 14:00 (EEST) https://oulu2026.eu/en/opencall (register for the webinar)
The goal of Oulu2026 is to achieve a permanent Cultural Climate Change and to use culture to fuel positive development in Northern Finland. The Oulu2026 programme is built around three programme themes: Wild City, Cool Contrasts and Brave Hinterland. All Open Call proposals should relate to these themes.
Brave Hinterland brings to the fore narratives about life and the conditions of life on the periphery, climate change and a region that Europe has yet to truly discover. Wild City explains how cities and villages emerge from the barren and harsh northern wilderness, whose unique and untamed creativity is channelled into supporting and sustaining the dreams of young people. Cool Contrasts highlights questions and connects the polarities that dominate life in northern Finland, light and darkness as well as technology and art – the divisions that apply not only in northern Finland but anywhere in Europe.
“We are looking for projects with far-reaching impacts. We hope that the projects are delivered in collaboration with contributors based in the Oulu2026 region,” says Samu Forsblom, Programme Director.
The Open Call is open until 9th of December 23:59 (EEST).
For more Information:
The Finnish city of Oulu is the 2026 European Capital of Culture. ECoC is one of the widely known European Union initiatives. It highlights the significance of cities as hubs of cultural life. Our main theme, Cultural Climate Change is about reconnecting through culture, art, and technology in an exciting and unexpected way. The European Capital of Culture 2026 is coordinated by Oulu Culture Foundation. The City of Oulu is the capital of northern Finland. The Oulu Region has about 250,000 inhabitants and it is the fastest growing region in Finland.
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 delivered by thousands of contributors from all over the world.
The Open Call for international partners of the Oulu 2026 cultural programme will be launched in October 2022. The preliminary announcement of the Open Call is available on the Oulu2026 website www.oulu2026.eu/en/opencall The information event in English for the first Open Call is held via Zoom on 13th of June 2022 at 1 p.m. (Helsinki, UTC+3).
The 2026 cultural programme is international
The goal of Oulu2026 is to achieve a permanent cultural climate change and to use culture to fuel positive development in Northern Finland. The Oulu2026 programme is built around three themes: Wild City, Cool Contrasts and Brave Hinterland. The Open Call launched on 3 October 2022 is aimed at projects related to these themes.
Samu Forsblom, Oulu2026 Programme Director, recommends that all applicants familiarise themselves with the Bid Book and the themes.
“We are looking for unique projects with far-reaching impacts. Combining art and technology and artistic experiences created through this process are of particular interest to us. We hope that the projects are delivered in collaboration with contributors based in the Oulu2026 region,” says Samu Forsblom.
The operative focus of the projects is on the capital of culture year 2026 but they may be launched earlier.
The Open Call for applications in October is open to Finnish and international actors. The project plans are expected to be suitable for independent delivery.
The application forms are available from 3 October 2022 onwards, but the application criteria have already been published on the website www.oulu2026.eu/en/opencall. More detailed information and instructions for the applicants will be published on the same website in the autumn.
The Open Call closes on 9 December 2022. The information event for the first Open Call (in English) is held via Zoom on 13th of June 2022 at 1 p.m. (Helsinki, UTC+3). REGISTER HERE
Information about other meetings and webinars are available on the website www.oulu2026.eu/en/opencall.
Be part of the Cultural Climate Change!
For more information, please contact
+358 44 703 7558
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