A cliff-face with the ocean and a blue sky in the background.

A Utopia on the Independent Field of Performing Arts

HTT skrift is Hangö Teaterträff’s online publication. In 2021, HTT skrift shifts its focus to texts that address the independent field’s situation that has been worsened by Covid-19 and government actions. It gives voice to various people and points of view, and the themes related to the situation are examined through different job roles and positions. The series begins with a utopia on what the field of Performing Arts should look like in the future, as written by the Hangö Teaterträff team.

A Utopia on the Independent Field of Performing Arts

The independent field offers support networks, peer support and communality, which are made possible and upheld by its surrounding structures.

Freedom means freedom to do and experiment with art, including taking risks, but not freedom from economic safety and fair treatment.

Instead of a competitive relationship, collaboration and the sharing of both knowledge and resources are favoured.

The field’s newest arrivals enter a system that encourages bravery. They are given resources, opportunities, and support to practice and examine their own practices.

More Finnish and international collaborations are created and in a more diverse way. They are born out of curiosity, not forced into existence by the financial system.

Collaboration is appreciated and practiced even outside of the independent field. Collaboration between institutions and the independent field is fair and not based on the terms and structures of bigger organisations alone.

New and sustainable international networks are funded. Financing methods recognise that internationality means more than travel and art gigs abroad.

Artists can use premises that belong to cities and municipalities where they can practice and realise small performances and workshops, which allows the artist to experiment, fail, and develop in their work.

Even businesses and others who own real estate offer empty premises for people to practice and perform in. This is called being a patron of the arts, which lifts the brands’ value.

People working on the independent field share a co-op or other rental that is based on circular economy: props, costumes, and such are stored and reused for free or for a reasonable price.

Even institutes share their resources such as props and costumes more freely with the independent field.

Technical residencies are offered where sound, light, and set designers are able to experiment ambitiously.

There is a boldness to do things, to take risks, because people working in the independent field know there is a support network and that art and culture are appreciated.

There is also a boldness to commit to artists who take risks. Artists are allowed to be responsibly slow, sensitive, and demanding.

It is recognised that art holds an intrinsic value. It is recognised that the field of art is polyphonic.

Ecologically sustainable structures are an important part of the independent field. There are enough resources for the field of art to help end the climate crisis.

In the independent field, it is possible to create works in the long-term. In terms of administration, odd jobs and temporary and part-time work become sustainable wholes.

Producers are considered to be a meaningful part of the communities and working groups, and at best, even as part of the artistic planning.

Even productional workers are allowed to be responsibly slow, sensitive, and demanding.

It is recognised that work is work: it is for working hours, it enables rest and recovery, not just day-to-day survival. It is recognised as work even by the officials.

Enough stipends are granted and they accumulate social security and pension.

Cultural journalism is investigative, it originates from the viewer, and it creates something new. Investigative journalism is part of cultural journalism, it examines and addresses abuses, and takes part in cultural policy. Culture is seen as a matter of politics and economics by the editorial staff.

Art criticism is not afraid of new forms of art, and there is room for rising art as well as diverse, curious writers to write it.

The field of art is open and respectful. Decision-makers, financiers, and all of society understand how the independent field functions, how things progress, and at what pace.

Matters can be discussed calmly and openly, taking into account both your own feelings and the feelings of others.

Capitalism no longer drives the field to the brink of despair. A new and changed society allows for the ecological catastrophe to be defeated, and art blossoms anew.

A Utopia on the Independent Field of Performing Arts is part of a series called Messages from the Independent Field that consists of porous and interconnected texts. The series addresses the realities of the independent field and as such, is an attempt to unfold its problematic aspects and perhaps even offer some solutions.