Exchange and Artist In Residence Programs

Residencies in Japan

The Finnish Institute in Japan offers Artist in Residence programs to support emerging Finnish artists and art researchers who wish to pursue creative activities in Japan. All of our Artist in Residence programs are jointly operated with local artist residency organisations. In recent years we have had residencies in the fields of visual arts, ceramic arts, literature and performing arts. In the future we are planning to broaden our horizons even further and bring in new forms of art and research.

The aim of our Artist in Residence programs is to offer Finnish artists and researchers an opportunity to live and work in Japan. Participating in our Artist in Residence program gives the artists a great opportunity to deepen their knowledge of the Japanese culture as well as to network and work in collaboration with the local artists. Working in a different cultural environment also gives the artists a new perspective to their work.

We have Artist in Residence programs in Tokyo and other parts of Japan as well. The artists can choose whether to work in a big metropolitan city or in the rural areas surrounded by nature. Outside of Tokyo we co-operate with such residency organisations as Akiyoshidai International Art Village in Akiyoshidai, The Museum of Art in Kochi and Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park in Shigaraki. All of these organisations have long traditions in cultural exchange as well las excellent connections with the local artists and art galleries.

There are also many other opportunities for artists interested in living and working in Japan. You can find information about Artist in Residence programs in Japan from the Artist in Residence Program database updated by The Japan Foundation.

Writers' Residency

Youkobo Art Space

There are long traditions of artist exchange between Finland and a Tokyo based Artist Residency Organisation Youkobo Art Space. Youkobo Art Space provides Artist in Residence Programs for both writers and visual artists.

The Finnish Institute in Japan has started a new Artist in Residence Program in collaboration with the Finnish Writers Union and Youkobo Art Space in 2016. In this program, 6 Finnish writers will be invited to live and work in Youkobo Art Space, Tokyo, Japan. The first writers visited Tokyo in the end of the year 2016.

Youkobo Art Space is located in western Tokyo, close to Ogikubo station. Youkobo Art Space provides artists with accommodation and studio space as well as a non-profit gallery for the presentation of their latest works, while also promoting community engagement through art and culture. As a ‘studio (‘kobo’) for ‘you’ (‘you’ in Youkobo meaning ‘play’ in Japanese), Youkobo aims to create a space which gives many people the opportunity to experience art and culture on a more familiar level by supporting the autonomous activities of artists.

To date, over 200 artists from 20 countries have been welcomed to Youkobo, and exhibitions of over 150 Japan-based artists have been held in the Youkobo Art Space gallery, which has become known as a place for rich cultural exchange.


Catharina Gripenberg

Catharina Gripenberg. Photo: Lærke Posselt

Catharina Gripenberg. Photo: Lærke Posselt

Finnish author and poet Catharina Gripenberg is participating in an Artist in Residence Program by the Finnish Institute in Japan and the Finnish Writers Union at Youkobo Art Space, Tokyo, in May 2017. Gripenberg is a well-known Finland-Swedish author, born in 1977 in Pietarsaari, Finland. She has published four collections of poetry and written plays for the theater. Polyphonic or multi-voiced texts and investigating norms and social codes are some of the focal points in her works.

Handbok att bära till en dräkt

Gripenberg has graduated as Master of Arts in Literature from the University of Helsinki. Her poetry has received prizes such as the Swedish National Radio’s poetry prize. She also works as a literary editor at Ellips, a small press specializing in poetry, essays and mixed genre writing. Gripenberg currently lives in Copenhagen, Denmark.

“Spaces and places, scenographies and surroundings influence my writing. My latest book of poetry Handbok att bära till en dräkt (2016), which took the form of a handbook/guidebook and employed the use of imperatives and motion found in guidebooks, will lead me into the surroundings, guides and codes of Tokyo. It will be an expedition of new poetry texts”, Gripenberg says.

Maria Matinmikko

Maria Matinmikko

Maria Matinmikko

Finnish author and poet Maria Matinmikko participated in an Artist in Residence Program by the Finnish Institute in Japan and the Finnish Writers Union at Youkobo Art Space, Tokyo, in April 2017.

Matinmikko writes books that combine elements from poetry and prose. She considers her work to be an examination beyond the usual concepts of comparative literature. In her works she combines elements from poetry, prose-poems, shorts stories and even novels and aphorisms forming surprising but very carefully considered aesthetics.

She creates textual fragments that are often based on either observations or imagination – or both. The situations, characters, abstract verses, landscapes and fleeting moments appear in absurd, surrealistic or hyper-realistic style carrying sociological, cultural, economical and political awareness.


Matinmikko has recently (February 2017) completed a trilogy comprising books Valkoinen (White, 2012), Musta (Black, 2013) and Värit (Colors).

During her stay in Tokyo Matinmikko will work on two projects. First of all she will work on her fourth book Kolkka (Corner). At the beginning of the book the main character arrives to a land that does not exist. The book examines among other things the cultural-related ideas about right and wrong, pure and impure.

Matinmikko’s writing holds a great understanding about the bodily existence; everything that happens to a person, happens also the body and the body is always located in a physical environment. The book challenges the reader by mixing different worldviews, consequences and affections. Matinmikko is also working on a project in collaboration with a Finnish writer and researcher Markku Eskelinen. They call the project ”a time-fiction”. It will be realized in virtual form as a part of post-Oulipo anthology written by a group of Finnish writers. The anthology will be published in spring 2018.

Saku Heinänen

Saku Heinänen

Saku Heinänen

Saku Heinänen is a Finnish author, illustrator and designer. He has written and illustrated two praised children’s novels, Zaida and the Snow Angel (Finlandia Junior nominee 2014) and Zaida and the Thunderbolts (Topelius prize nominee 2016).

Zaida ja elovalkeat

Zaida ja elovalkeat

He has worked previously as a professional type designer and as professor of graphic design at Aalto University.

Residency plan:

Heinänen is going to concentrate on his first novel for adults, planning to write a final version of it.

He is looking forward to explore Japanese visual culture, and believes that it will inspire his illustration work in the future. If there is time left over, he will start to write down ideas for his next book.

Illustrations by Saku Heinänen

Illustrations by Saku Heinänen

Hannele Mikaela Taivassalo

Hannele Mikaela Taivassalo, Photo: Cata Portin

Hannele Mikaela Taivassalo, Photo: Cata Portin

Hannele Mikaela Taivassalo stayed at the Youkobo Art Space as a part of the Artist in Residency Program by the Finnish Institute in Japan and the Finnish Writers Union in November 2016.

Taivassalo is a well-known Finland-Swedish author. She has written seven books and her first novel Kärlek, kärlek – hurra, hurra was published in 2005. Taivassalo won the Runeberg prize with her novel Fem knivar hade Andrej Krapl in 2008.

In Transit

In Transit

Her latest novel In Transit was published in September 2016. The novel talks about the constant movement of modern life, about feeling like you have no roots and yet you belong everywhere.

Taivassalo is one of the founders of theater-group Skunkteatern and has also written scripts for the group.

During her residency in Youkobo Art Space Taivassalo worked on both her writing and a performance project they prepared together with author Malin Kivelä. She also gave a speech together with Kivelä at the Finland-Swedish Culture Event held by the Finnish Institute in Japan together with the Swedish Embassy in Japan in November 2016.

Malin Kivelä

Malin Kivelä, Photo: Tina Axelsson

Malin Kivelä, Photo: Tina Axelsson

Malin Kivelä stayed at the Youkobo Art Space as a part of the Artist in Residency Program by the Finnish Institute in Japan and the Finnish Writers Union in November 2016.

Kivelä is a well-known Finland-Swedish author and journalist. She has written ten books, three of which are novels and two of which are children’s books.

She won the Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland prize with her novel Du eller aldrig in 2007 and both the Svenska YLE litteraturpris prize and the Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland prize with her novel Annanstans. Kivelä writes in Swedish but many of her books have also been translated into Finnish.



Kivelä has studied both Journalism and Drama and Theater. She is also the editor of the literature magazine Plump.

She has also translated many children’s books from Finnish to Swedish and taught classes in creative writing. Kivelä has also written theatrical scripts for theatres Taiminelle and Radioteatern. She is also one of the founders of theater-group Skunkteatern.

During her residency in Youkobo Art Space Kivelä worked on both her writing and a performance project they prepared together with author Hannele Mikaela Taivassalo. She also gave a speech together with Taivassalo at the Finland-Swedish Culture Event held by the Finnish Institute in Japan together with the Swedish Embassy in Japan in November 2016.

You can find out more about Malin Kivelä and her work from her website.

Tiina Lehikoinen

Tiina Lehikoinen, Photo: Marko Niemi

Tiina Lehikoinen, Photo: Marko Niemi

Tiina Lehikoinen is a Finnish poet. She has published five collections of poetry and contemporary aphorisms. In her work, the fragmentation of language reflects the interruptions rendered by the gagging information of the internet age.

Lehikoinen is especially interested in how it correlates with the ways we perceive reality and the density of the world. The historical moment we are currently living in is characterized by loss of ability to dream and experience freely, and, in consequence, she finds it of paramount importance that imagination and sensibility be released again.



Lehikoinen is perpetually intrigued by disorders, affects, the body, transmissions of mental state, mediascape, and history.

In her poems, she mixes the personal with the political. Her texts are at the same time frisky, thick, clear and “holey”, which reflects the attempt to explore the manifold connections between to the clumsy and the sublime. In her fifth poem collection Multa (2016) Lehikoinen talks about the death of language that comes with memory disease as well as the circle of life.

Lehikoinen has teached creative writing since 2005. Teaching is an essential part of her work as a poet – one always finds something new from being around people. She is a member of The Union of Finnish Writers and ex-editor of Finnish poetry magazine Tuli&Savu (Fire&Smoke; 2013-2015).

In addition to being a poet, she is also a visual artist. She works with different media such as moving image, installations, drawings, and collages.

Hannu Väisänen

Hannu Väisänen

Hannu Väisänen, Photo: Jouni Harala

The first writer chosen to the Artist in Residence Program by the Finnish Institute in Japan and the Finnish Writers Union is Hannu Väisänen. Väisänen is a true all-rounder in arts. He is best known for his autobiographical novels, theatrical scripts, paintings and photography. He was born in Oulu, Finland, but has lived in France for many years.

His first novel Vanikan palat, the first part of his autobiographical Antero-series, was published in 2004. The novel received a Kiitos kirjasta -medal as the best novel of the year. The next part of the series Toiset kengät won the Finlandia prize in 2007.

Väisänen also wrote a collection of short stories titled Piisamiturkki ja muita kertomuksia, which was published in 2015. The fifth part of the Antero-series Elohopea was published in 2016. Väisänens upcoming novel is a humoristic fairytale book for adults. The theme of the novel is ancestors. Väisänen will also make the illustrations for the book.

Väisänen is very interested in Japan and Japanese art. He is planning to continue working in co-operation with Japanese artists after the residency in Japan. After his stay in Youkobo Art Space, Väisänen will move to Osaka to prepare a Bunraku theatre play with a local theatre group. They are planning to bring the play to Finland and other European countries, when it is finished.

Photo: Hannu Väisänen

Photo: Hannu Väisänen

This is not the first time Väisänen has worked in Japan. In fact he quite recently worked on a photography series in Kumano Japan. In this series titled Pystyyn nostetut joet (vertical rivers) he photographed waterfalls, hot springs and the use of water in temples. He used long shutter times to capture the movement of light and water.

In the recent years, Väisänen has broadened his horizons even further. For example, he designed a new fabric collection for a famous Finnish design brand, Finlayson. You can find out more about the collection on Finlaysons website.

Väisänen also participated actively in the Tokyo International Book Fair in 2016. He gave a speech at both the press conference organised jointly by the Finnish Institute in Japan and the Embassy of Finland in Japan and at the Institutes booth at the book fair. Väisänen introduced his work and talked about his relations to Japan. His books were also on display for the duration of the book fair.

Ceramic Art Residency

Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park

The Finnish Institute in Japan has made an agreement about a new Artist-in-Residence Program with Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park (SCCP). In this program, one Finnish ceramic artist will get the opportunity to live and work in the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park in Shigaraki, Japan.

Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park is a renowned ceramic art centre in Shigaraki, close to Kyoto. SCCP has long traditions in international artist exchange and has welcomed artists from many different countries including 15 Finnish ceramic artists since it’s opening in 1990. As a region Shigaraki is known for it’s ceramic arts. Visiting artists have an opportunity to use local materials as well as meet the local professionals.

SCCP is located in a secluded area surrounded by nature and is the perfect location for independent work. Since there is no curriculum as such, artists are free to pursue their work in the creative space according to their own schedule.

At any given time, there are about ten visiting artists working at SCCP. The Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park was built as a part of the peoples recreation land project. The SCCP is intended to support various activities around the theme of ceramics, including artistic creation, training, and exhibitions.

The Artist-in-Residence program by the Finnish Institute in Japan and Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park offers Finnish ceramic artists an opportunity to work in Japan. The residency includes accommodation and shared working space at SCCP. The artists travel expenses will also be covered.

The artist participating in the residency program in the autumn of 2017 is Matias Liimatainen.

More information about the working spaces and accommodation:

Working spaces

Read more about other residency opportunities at Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park at: Studio Artist

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Visual Arts Residency

Akiyoshidai International Art Village

Akiyoshidai International Art Village has supported cultural and philosophical exchange among international artists since 1998. AIAV offers accommodation and work spaces for artists from different fields. This art village is fully equipped for various artistic activities such as music, art, dance and drama.

The Finnish Institute in Japan has an Artist in Residence Program together with the Akiyoshidai International Art Village and Frame. So far three Finnish artists have participated in the program: Minna Kurjenluoma (2015), Mari Mäkiö (2016) and Kastehelmi Korpijaakko (2017).

Akiyoshidai International Art Village, designed by the architect Arata Isozaki, was founded in 1998 with the aim of providing a platform for artists in residence as well as for a variety of art forms and cultural activities. AIAV’s main hall has a capacity of 300 and its residence hall can house 100, and the village also features a restaurant, seminar room, studios, gallery and café. Akiyoshidai International Art Village is located far away from the noise of city life and is surrounded by natural resources.


Private room with private bathroom and mini-kitchen. There is a common kitchen at the residence hall, where artists can cook for themselves. Artists are not allowed to be accompanied by anyone for the program. When artists’ family or friends visit AIAV, they can stay with charge of accommodation fee for approximately 3,000 yen per night (prices differ according to room types).


There are various types of studios (shared or private): the allocation of studio is decided by AIAV, artists may have to share with others.
Main Building: Concert hall, amphitheatre, outdoor stage, 3 seminar rooms, 7 studios, gallery.
Residence Hall: 36 bedrooms, darkroom, salon, communal kitchen, restaurant.

Technical Information

Equipment: Stage equipment, sound equipment, musical instruments, darkroom equipment, easels. Check all the facilities on the Akiyoshidai International Art Villages website.

The artists are requested to participate in all of the pubic programs such as the open studio day. The artists are also expected to produce new pieces while staying at Akiyoshidai and to to present the results of the residence program through exhibitions or presentations.

Akiyoshidai International Art Village

Akiyoshidai International Art Village


Kastehelmi Korpijaakko

Photography artist Kastehelmi Korpijaakko was chosen for the Artist-in-Residence program at Akiyoshidai International Art Village for spring 2017. The Finnish participation is a collaboration between the Finnish Institute in Japan and Akiyoshidai International Art Village. The theme of the program is The Future of this Land. The program consists of workshops and lectures as well as projects with local artists.

Kastehelmi Korpijaakko

Kastehelmi Korpijaakko

Kastehelmi Korpijaakko lives in Helsinki and studies photography at the Aalto University Graduate School. She previously studied at Tokyo Musashino Art University in Japan as an exchange student. During her exchange studies she was inspired by Japanese aesthetics, and the Japanese way of thinking. Korpijaakko graduated from Aalto University Graduate School in 2011 with Arts Education as her major.

Some of the main themes Korpijaakko examines in her work are her concern for the environment, and photography’s role in building ethical consensus. Her latest exhibition Raskas Huoleton was on display at Art Gallery Hippolyte, Helsinki, in September 2016. In her works she studied the impact that humans have on their environment.



The theme is also relevant in Akiyoshidai, an area that once was covered by a forest, but now bare due to human actions. The forest was cut down and replaced with fields of pampas grass. The grass was used as cattle feed and for building shelters. The area is still burned once a year to stop the trees from growing.

During her residency Korpijaakko photographed everyday objects found in Akiyoshidai. Her photography series titled The Declaration of Uncertainty is a collection of images of objects found from Akiyoshidai, composed on a white background.

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Declaration of Uncertainty

The final work resembles the Japanese way of writing, every object becomes a word that tells a story about our time through it’s material and origin. “The act of using tape to attach the objects to the white surface is a reference to both forensic photography and the structure of our language driven way of thinking”, Korpijaakko explains.

Mari Mäkiö

Finnish artist Mari Mäkiö participated in the Artist-in-Residence program by The Finnish institute in Japan and Frame at the Akiyoshidai International Art Village in 2016.


Mäkiö is an artist living and working in Helsinki, Finland. She works with video, sound, photography, text and installation. Mäkiö has graduated as Master of Arts from Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture.

Mäkiö is interested in the relationship between the sense of sight and other senses as well as translations between the visual world and language. An important part of her work is creating content together with people from different positions and backgrounds. In addition to artistic work Mäkiö also works as a freelance photographer.

During her residency at Akiyoshidai International Art Village Mäkiö created a piece called The Sound of Darkness. It was recorded in Kagekiyodo cave in Akiyoshidai. 300 million years ago the Akiyoshidai plateau was a coral reef, and the karst topography that we see today is the result of gradual dissolution of limestone by rain throughout millions of years. There are over 400 limestone caves in the Akiyoshidai area created by limestone dissolving away in the ground water. The limestone caves are complete dark and the space can be perceived only through the sense of hearing.

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The Sound of Darkness was a co-operative project created with people living in Akiyoshidai. Based on the experience in the dark cave improvised soundscape was made by using different kinds of sounds and Japanese onomatopoeic words. The soundscape was recorded with binaural microphones while walking in the cave to create a spatial experience. The result of the project was presented in an exhibition at AIAV in a completely dark room with headphones, giving the viewer an experience of how space can be perceived without the sense of sight.

During her residency Mäkiö also created an interactive installation called Local Lights together with artist Tamás Szvet. In the installation the visitors most memorable places in Yamaguchi Prefecture were collected. After writing down the coordinates, infrared lights were placed under the map of Akiyoshidai. The lights are not visible with naked eye, but the content becomes visible when observed through the camera of a mobile phone. In this way an invisible map of memories was created by the participants.

Local lights

Local Lights. Mari Mäkiö ja Tamás Szvet. Interactive light installation, infrared light, handmade mino washi paper, dimension variable, 2016.

Minna Kurjenluoma

In spring 2015 Akiyoshidai International Art Village’s, Frame and The Finnish Institute in Japan’s artist in residency was Minna Kurjenluoma. Kurjenluoma is a visual artist with photography and video as her mediums. She graduated from University of Arts and Design in Helsinki 2005. Since then she has exhibited in both solo and group exhibitions in Finland and Scandinavia, and participated in several residencies in Iceland, Norway and Greenland.

Kurjenluoma’s photography studies and earlier work focused on landscape photography, greatly influenced by traditional landscape painting. Recently Kurjenluoma has shifted towards more minimalistic and conceptual approach. This was visible in some her works in AIAV as well. The “Stone Landscapes” shows images of marble and limestone tiles, with their wearing patterns create shapes resembling a landscape – which in turn reminds of the way landscapes are born in nature. Another conceptual piece “Eternity”, part of a body of work started several years ago, features stones gathered from Akiyoshidai cave. The name of the piece derives from the shape the stones were arranged to: The Fibonacci spiral, a mathematical form that is widely found in nature in countless forms.

Photos from Minna Kurjenluoma's Onsen series presented in  Akiyoshidai International Art Village's residence program book TRANS_2014-2015.

Photos from Minna Kurjenluoma’s “Onsen” -series presented in Akiyoshidai International Art Village’s residence program book TRANS_2014-2015.

Other works Kurjenluoma created during her residency portrayed local women and tradition. The “Onsen” series features elderly women enjoying a bath in a Japanese hot water spa. With the photos Kurjenluoma wanted to showcase the effortless and natural beauty of aged women, in contrast to current time’s obsession with youth and retouched images. The photos also offer a beautiful glimpse of the Japanese onsen – a place where the bathing is communal and naked bodies of all shapes are regarded in a relaxed, accepting manner.

Another series focused on Japanese women was Grandmother’s kimono, for which Kurjenluoma photographed kimonos passed on in a family, worn by their owners. The series shows the importance of family line in Japanese culture, and with forest as the background of the images, the series also touches on themes like history and nature.

Performing Arts Exchange Programs

The Museum of Art, Kōchi

The Museum of Art, Kōchi, the Finnish Institute in Japan and Tanssin Tiedotuskeskus have a one year contract for an Artist In Residence Program in the field of modern dance at The Museum of Art in Kōchi, Japan. Within the program, two Finnish artists, dancer / choreographer Virva Talonen and lighting designer Nanni Vapaavuori spent five weeks in Kōchi in the end of 2016. During their residency in Japan they created a new performance together with local artists.

The Artist in Residency Program included accommodation and studio space as well as a 30 euro grant per day and travel expenses from Finland to Kōchi. The artists were chosen by The Museum of Art, Kōchi, Tanssin Tiedotuskeskus and the Finnish Institute in Japan.

The Museum of Art, Kōchi was established in Kōchi city in 1993. The museum holds excellent art works by both domestic and foreign artists such as Marc Chagall, Ishimoto Yasuhiro and other celebrated artists with connections to Kōchi Prefecture.

The Museum of Art, Kōchi

The Museum of Art, Kōchi


Viva Talonen

Viva Talonen

Virva Talonen

Virva Talonen is a freelance choreographer/dancer and one of the artistic directors of Katve. Katve [blind spot] is contemporary dance collective producing fresh and versatile danceworks for adults and young audiences. Talonens artistic works originate from the profound questions of humanity and are based on such themes as recycling, kinship, collective history and time. She prepares for her performances through observing the people around her. She focuses on movement and behavior in different spatial, psychological and social situations. In addition to dance performances, Talonen works on different art research projects. She has received her Master of Arts in Choreography at Theatre Academy of (the University of the Arts) Helsinki. Her works are performed at venues all around Finland.

Nanni Vapaavuori

Nanni Vapaavuori

Nanni Vapaavuori

Nanni Vapaavuori is a Finnish lighting designer. After she studied Interior Architecture, she obtained a Master of Arts in Lighting Design at Theatre Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki. ​Her work is based on the principles of space. She wants to bring out the essence of the space, and yet, make it suitable for the intended use. Her work is not only limited to stage performances. Vapaavuori has designed the lights for many museums, galleries and outside performances alike. Vapaavuori works tightly with dancers and choreographers in order to create the right kind of space and atmosphere for the performance.

Portable home

During their residency at the Museum of Art, Kōchi, Talonen and Vapaavuori designed and performed a new production titled Portable Home together with local artists. Taloned designed the choreography, Vapaavuori designed the lights and the space and Jaakko Kujala designed the sound for the performance. The piece was performed by local dancers Mayumi Isshiki, Mayu Ito, Etsuko Kagawa, Ayumi Hamada and Mambei Masakuni.

Portable home is a piece that studies personal space, home and homelessness. There is a saying ’the Home is where you’re Hat is’, meaning wherever you go in the World, you need to create or mark your own space. What kind of elements and properties are essential for an experience of home?

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Annual Rings

The dance performance Annual Rings that premiered in Helsinki in 2014 and has since toured around Finland, was a collaborative work with Talonen as the choreographer and Vapaavuori as the lighting designer. By working together as a choreographer-designer unit, they aimed towards a unique creation that incorporates movement with spatial and visual elements. Annual Rings is a piece that builds on personal and collective history. The piece features five dancers, women of various ages, each born in a different decade. Five characters, five minds, five bodies. Five histories and futures, five entry points and exits.

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The Awaji Art Circus

The Awaji Art Circus offers exchange programs for foreign performing artists on Awaji island, Japan.

The program is open to artists of all genres of performing arts such as street theatre, bodily expression, musical instrument performance, street performance, singing, drawing, live painting, dance, contemporary circus. Awaji Art Circus also welcomes artists who are looking to break the barriers of existing genres as well as artists with interactive performances.

Both professionals and amateur artists as individual performers or groups of maximum three member are eligible to apply. Applicants must be over 18 years old.

Awaji Island, located in Hyogo Prefecture, is considered to be the Island of Japan’s origin and is known for its beautiful nature and tasty food. However, in recent years, the island has been facing issues of population outflow, decreasing birthrate and aging population.

The Awaji Art Circus (AAC) has three missions:

– To bring about increase in population flow and local economic consumption leading to regional vitalization whilst utilizing local resources.
– To let the world know the appeals of Awaji Island and more broadly Japan. AAC aims to become a new local tourism attraction.
– To develop art and culture on Awaji Island and to create a chance for Japanese people to get to know international art of different genres.

The application period for 2017 has ended.

Awaji island

Awaji island

In 2016 contemporary circus artist Sari Mäkelä from Finland participated in the Awaji Art Circus exchange program.

Read more about opportunities on Awaji Island on AAC website at:

Akiyoshidai International Art Village

Akiyoshidai International Art Village also offers great spaces for practicing performing arts. So far the Finnish Institute in Japan has sent mainly visual artists to Akiyoshidai.

Tokyo Wonder Site

Tokyo Wonder Site has many different locations in Tokyo. In 2011 HIAP, Tokyo Wonder Site, Sibelius Academy and the Finnish Institute in Japan collaborated on a Tokyo-Finland Residency Exchange. The programme was part of a larger effort to gain mutual understanding of differing cultural enviroments, and consider new, shared culture together. Find out more about the program here.