Seminar: Commissioning and Curating within the Ecology of Artistic Practice

Friday, 12 May 2023 at 10am–3pm
HAM Helsinki Art Museum seminar room (2nd floor, Eteläinen Rautatiekatu 8, 00100 Helsinki)

Frame Contemporary Art Finland together with Uniarts Helsinki’s Praxis Master’s Programme in Exhibition Studies is organising a seminar Commissioning and Curating within the Ecology of Artistic Practice on 12 May 2023 at 10am–3pm. The one-day event brings together international curators, young artists and curatorial students to discuss their experiences on curatorial and institutional practices around artistic work and labour.

Art institutions’ role as a supporter of artistic practices is constantly changing. Many institutions today commission new works of art and thereby provide working opportunities and employment for the artist. This leads to curatorial work being both substantive curatorial collaboration with the artist as well as expertise related to the production and presentation of new works.

The seminar focuses on discussing the role of curatorial and organisational work in evolving art organisations. It considers what these changes mean for the artistic work, both in terms of production and financial support and content-based collaboration: How are the roles of the curator and the artist organised, and what does this require from art institutions?

Speakers include Curator Olivia Aherne from Chisenhale Gallery, London, Curator and Co-director Johan Gustavsson from 1646, The Hague, Silja Lehtonen, Director, Lönnström Art Museum, Rauma, and Uniarts Helsinki Praxis Master’s programme students Krister Gråhn and Joonas Pulkkinen, and artists Oskari Ruuska, Hanna Hyy and Iida Pii, participating in the Nuoret (Young Artists) 2023 exhibition.

The seminar is organised in collaboration with Frame, Praxis Master’s Programme, HAM Helsinki Art Museum and Artists Association of Finland in the context of the Nuoret (Young Artists) 2023 exhibition.

The languages of the seminar are English and Finnish. The morning session from 10 am to 12 noon will be held in English and the afternoon session from 1 pm to 3 pm in Finnish.

Attending is free and open for all, but due to limited space (max 60 people) registering is required. Please sign up by 5 May 2023 by using this form:


Tennis Palace is fully accessible. HAM’s seminar room is located on the second floor of Tennis Palace, which is accessible using lifts located in the vicinity of all the exits. There is also an accessible toilet located on the same floor as the seminar room. Read more about HAM’s accessibility.


10.00 Introduction 
10.10 Presentation by Olivia Aherne, Chisenhale Gallery
10.40 Q&A with Olivia Aherne 
11.00 Break
11.10 Presentation by Johan Gustavsson, 1646
11.40 Q&A with Johan Gustavsson

12.00 Vegan lunch served for registered attendees

13.00 Presentation by Silja Lehtonen, Lönnström Art Museum
13.30 Q&A with Silja Lehtonen 
13.40 Break 
13.50 Panel discussion with Krister Gråhn, Joonas Pulkkinen, Oskari Ruuska, Hanna Hyy and Iida Pii. Moderated by Annukka Vähäsöyrinki, Artists Association of Finland.

Speakers’ biographies

Olivia Aherne is a curator from and based in London. She currently works as the curator at Chisenhale Gallery, London where she devises and delivers an annual programme of new artist commissions. Prior to Chisenhale Gallery, she worked as curator at Nottingham Contemporary developing new commissions by Carolyn Lazard, Meriem Bennani and Mélanie Matranga.

Johan Gustavsson is a curator and educator based in The Hague, The Netherlands. Gustavsson is a Co-director and Curator at 1646, Lecturer at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, Co-founder of Alternative Art Guide and The Hague Contemporary and head of the board at Page Not Found. Gustavsson curates the large-scale exhibitions Prospects for the Mondriaan Fund from 2020-2023 at the Van Nelle Factory in Rotterdam, in conjunction with Art Rotterdam. Gustavsson further worked as a Cultural Ambassador for the city of The Hague and has curated several international exhibitions.

Silja Lehtonen is director of the Lönnström Art Museum in Rauma, on the west coast of Finland. The museum operates without a permanent exhibition space producing large-scale Lönnström Projects with artists selected yearly. She is deeply involved in the production and curating of the works. Before her current position, she had a long experience in curating exhibitions of contemporary art in museum spaces.

Krister Gråhn has worked as a visual artist since 2001. He graduated with a Master of Fine Arts from the Academy of Fine Arts, Department of Sculpture in 2009. Gråhn has produced and curated exhibitions since 2004 and is currently studying at the Praxis Master’s Programme. He also got a special vocational qualification of Museum Technician from Raseko in 2021.

Joonas Pulkkinen is a student in the Praxis Master’s programme at the Academy of Fine Arts, a journalist and a postal employee. Before joining the Academy, Pulkkinen studied aesthetics and philosophy at the University of Helsinki.

The biographies of Oskari Ruuska, Hanna Hyy and Iida Pii can be found on the Nuoret 2023 website.

A tall exhibition space with a textile work on one of the walls and next to it a large sculpture resembling a flower pot with flowers growing out of it.

Anna-Karoliina Vainio’s textile work and Iida Pii’s sculpture in Nuoret 2023 (Young Artists) exhibition in Kunsthalle Helsinki. Image: Patrik Rastenberger.