There’s local stuff going on in Tampere that is worth sharing20.2.2015
Many Finns returning to Finland after a long stay abroad experience a kind of a reverse culture shock upon their return. I know I have and I truly hope the other Finns bear over with our cultural criticism as long as our landing phases lasts. Eventually, the most of us seem to turn it into something constructive. This post is triggered by two things that have delightfully proven me wrong in some of the cultural criticism that I have expressed. They both concern my very own home town.
Firstly, Tredea and Jukka Salminen have started producing a series of Tampere stories that tell about the stuff Tampere is made of. “This is Tampere” is the first one of them. Finns have always been good at expressing things shortly and factually, but what do you know, it doesn’t mean we cannot hit the nail in the storytelling era as well. Or perhaps I shouldn’t be so surprised, knowing the respect the Finnish movie enjoys abroad. However, in online writing, this is the type of storytelling that I surely haven't got enough of yet in Finland. In addition, it goes down to the street level and finds the stuff that makes us proud of living here. As such it also contributes to the evolvement of our place narrative as we move forward. Hence, I like to put in spotlight. For all Tampere-minded people this is also the chance to make Tampere better known in the world - in a cool way - with just a few mouse-clicks!
But it isn't the only thing happening in Tampere. Right now, also at initiative of Tredea, people from different national backgrounds have started talking with each other about how to make Tampere a more diverse and international place. It is a kind of initiative that I think was mainly born out of the simple thought that nothing will happen, unless you bring people and stakeholders together to talk with each other. The initiative addresses an important, but big and not very tangible challenge - how to make a city more international and preferably still in this decade. As such it could just as well have got stuck at the idea-stage; there is no predefined format or pre-chewed path for such effort and not much of a budget either. But it did get kicked off - it started with one event (Twinkle 2014) at the end of last year, where a couple of hundred internationals (foreigners and Finns) were brought together to talk about the challenge. Everyone agreed it was worth taking the bull by the horns and figure out how to move forward with it. The format will need to evolve as the initiative (Twinkle 2015) moves forward. Tredea provides the platform, tools and overall leadership and then pulls the initiative forward together with a broad and enthusiastic group of international volunteers with multi-disciplinary backgrounds. As one of the volunteers and supporters I'm really thrilled to join the journey.
Cultures (local, regional, national, company-specific etc.) are frameworks that influence our thinking and actions. This initiative of Tredea represents to me the kind of an explorer culture that I think we urgently need in our times; it dares to move into a huge unknown area without knowing exactly what's ahead in the fog. As principal fuel it uses the collective drive and intelligence of people. In Finland we were able to enjoy from more prosperous and easy times the past decades and I had the feeling it had made our culture a little rigid and dull. This is a proof of exactly the opposite. It is wonderful to see yourself proven wrong in this way!
The writes is a remigran living in Tampere whose heart beats for international and open Tampere Region
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