fbpx

Cool contrasts

Oulu2026 valo ja hahmo

Oulu is the kingdom of great contrasts – positive, but also challenging. Contrasts such as the nightless nights of the midnight sun and sunless days in the heart of winter. Contrasts have the power both to connect and disconnect, but also to create something new.

Cool Contrasts is about rebalancing our communities. There is already a recognised European need to use culture as a means to help reduce health inequalities. Oulu2026 will work with our citizens and with European partners to develop cultural practices that promote positive engagement to re-balance these inequalities. People are literally dying of loneliness in parts of Europe, both in big cities and in struggling rural hinterlands.

Oulu2026 wants to help Europe to reconnect with itself, promoting community life and face-to-face connection and exploring mental wellbeing  through sensitive and thoughtful projects.

Programme Lines – Cool Contrasts

Flagship Production

 

Underground Clash

The world is changing at an unprecedented pace, often without consensus on how best to navigate our future through this metamorphosis. This shift affects every aspect of our cultural, political, environmental and technological landscape.

In 2026 we propose to cooperate with artists who work within a similarly shifting paradigm, where technological innovation and traditional art practices meet. This year-long exhibition will tackle issues around climate change and humanity’s relationship with the environment, with
artists who will be engaging locally to shape the content and activities of the exhibition.

Superblue, a social change initiative and ground-breaking new enterprise created by Pace Gallery and The Emerson Collective, is our curator and partner. It is dedicated to presenting large-scale, immersive, experiential art which is as meaningful as it is spectacular, encompassing the belief that art has the potential to change the way we see the world around us.

The heart of The Underground Clash is a specially commissioned piece from Danish artist, Jakob Kudsk Steensen. A ‘digital gardener’, Jakob brings together physical, virtual, real and imagined landscapes in mixed reality, interactive installations, focusing on how humans, technology and natural environments connect. His physical commission will be accompanied by online platforms, allowing the project to be experienced remotely.

kuvassa naisen kasvot

Latest

Oulu2026 Cultural Personality:Kristian Heberg

Oulu2026 Cultural Personality:Kristian Heberg

Our Cultural Personality of the Week is Kristian Heberg, a 33-year-old professional choir director from Oulu. Heberg conducts the Cassiopeia choir, Oulu Chamber Choir, and Oulun Laulu. In addition, he works as a freelance pianist and teacher across Finland. Kristian...

Oulu2026 Cultural Personality: Nelli Milan

Oulu2026 Cultural Personality: Nelli Milan

Our Cultural Personality of the Week is Nelli Milan, a singer-songwriter and producer. Music and writing songs are something Nelli has been passionate about from a very early age – it is a natural way for her to make sense of her experiences and the world around her....

Congratulations European Capital of Culture Novi Sad, Kaunas and Esch

Congratulations European Capital of Culture Novi Sad, Kaunas and Esch

The European Capitals of Culture of 2022 in Kaunas (Lithuania), Novi Sad (Serbia) and Esch (Luxembourg) will celebrate their opening in the coming weeks. Novi Sad will officially open the European Capital of Culture on 13 January with the opening play Zeniteum: 2022....

Oulu2026 Cultural Personality: Peltokurki Duo

Oulu2026 Cultural Personality: Peltokurki Duo

Our cultural personality of the week is the Peltokurki duo which is formed by Anna Peltomaa and Emma Kurkinen. Both of them are music creators and entrepreneurs in the creative industries. Anna and Emma have been making music together since 2016 and they released...

Piia Rantala-Korhonen and Samu Forsblom Selected to Lead the Foundation

Piia Rantala-Korhonen and Samu Forsblom Selected to Lead the Foundation

Piia Rantala-Korhonen has been selected as the Chief Executive Officer of the Oulu Cultural Foundation and Samu Forsblom as the Programmer Director of the Foundation. The Oulu Cultural Foundation's Board made an unanimous decision regarding these selections. Oulu will...

Oulu2026 Cultural Personality: The Vaara Collective

Oulu2026 Cultural Personality: The Vaara Collective

Our Cultural Personality of the Week is the Vaara Collective. Vaara is an independent team of practitioners and artist collective in the performing arts from Kajaani, active since 2014. Vaara’s activities include premieres, applied art, and events. The collective...

Oulu2026 Cultural Personality: Luovat Askeleet

Oulu2026 Cultural Personality: Luovat Askeleet

  Our Cultural Personality of the Week is Luovat askeleet, a multiprofessional, cross-disciplinary artistic group comprised of Johanna Aromaa, Pauliina Lappi, Päivi Mettovaara, and Merja Männikkö. The working group weaves dance, music, community art, pedagogy,...

Oulu2026 Cultural Personality: Marko Karvonen

Oulu2026 Cultural Personality: Marko Karvonen

Our cultural personality of the week is Marko Karvonen, 52-years-old enthusiast and inspirer from Kajaani who identifies themselves as a person of Kainuu by birth and heart. Marko recently started as Sotkamo's new Cultural Producer, and looks forward to the extensive...

We are hiring: Chief executive officer, Oulu Cultural Foundation

We are hiring: Chief executive officer, Oulu Cultural Foundation

Oulu will be the European Capital of Culture in 2026. Our guiding theme is cultural climate change, which combines things in surprising ways, creates encounters and creates interaction. The ultimate goal is a city bursting with creativity, a vibrant and enchanting...