How is the IHME Artist chosen?

How is the IHME Artist chosen?

The name of IHME’s tenth invited artist will be revealed later this autumn. The invitation is preceded by a multi-step selection process. Who decides who is invited to create the IHME Project? What are the criteria in the decision-making process?

Frequently asked questions are answered by Tuula Arkio, Chairperson of the IHME expert team, and Paula Toppila, who is IHME’s Executive Director and the Secretary of the expert team. Additionally, the five-person expert team includes Hanna Johansson, Professor of Contemporary Art Research at the Academy of Fine Arts, Leevi Haapala, Director of Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, and critic–curator Timo Valjakka.

Choice of artist: frequently asked questions

Do artists propose their works to the festival, or does the festival get in touch with the artists?

Tuula Arkio: ”The IHME Artist is selected by invitation. The expert team closely follows contemporary art, developments in the field and topical debates. Together we make a list of interesting artist and when the choice is made we make an approach.”

What are the criteria for choosing an artist?

Paula Toppila: ”An internationally-acclaimed artist or artist group is chosen to make the IHME Project. One criterion is topicality, which can refer to both the themes the artist handles as well as their method. As there are many potential artists that would fit the bill, we want to offer this opportunity to artists with very different profiles. The goal is that the artist we choose to make the IHME Project would bring something new to the table, with regards to the previous projects. On the other hand, we do not require artists to have any experience of projects that exhibit art in a public space..”

Why are all IHME Artists from abroad? Could a Finn also be chosen as the IHME Artist?

Tuula Arkio: ”Our foundation acts internationally, and nowadays so does contemporary art. Artists are more mobile these days, just like the rest of us, and it would be artificial to approach them or their work base on nationality. In the selection process the artist’s home country is irrelevant.”

Does the artist’s age, gender or nationality have any bearing?

Paula Toppila: ”In principle, if we are in agreement that we are interested in the artist, everything else is secondary. The fact that the IHME Artists have had diverse backgrounds, however, has contributed to enriching the perspectives opened up by the works. It is also up to art institutions to promote equality, for instance by ensuring that people from different backgrounds are given employment opportunities.”

Does the provider of the festival’s funding have any say in the choice of artist?

Tuula Arkio: ”Neither the Kone Foundation, which finances IHME, nor the founder of the foundation, have any executive or operational role in IHME’s operations. All decisions regarding artist selection are made by the expert team.”

At what point is the invitation issued to the prospective IHME artist?

”By the time the IHME Project is completed, the artist has been working on it for a couple of years. Sometimes the time between the invitation being issued and accepted is longer when schedules must be agreed between the artist and the festival. On the other hand, the process can move along faster if the invited artist’s other commitments allow the project to be developed and implemented within the proposed timetable.”

Would you like more information regarding artist selection? You can send your question to or through the feedback form. We will also be happy to answer any questions on IHME’s social media channels: Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.