Three Reasons Why Creatives Should Tune into BSR Cultural Pearls

The Baltic Sea Region (BSR) Cultural Pearls project has just set sail on its #CultureForResilience mission, aiming to promote resilience in cities and regions (read more about it here). If you’re a professional in the creative and cultural fields, you may be wondering what this means for you.

As one of the ambassadors for creative and cultural sectors (CCS) within the project, we have compiled three core reasons why you should follow the project’s journey of cross-innovation.

1. Expanding Horizons: The Influence of the Variety of Opportunities

Art has always found ways to connect with society through various creative and academic fields. Artists use their work to think about, respond to, and engage with the world around them.

Recently, the NDPC launched a policy brief elaborating on arts and design-based collaboration and cross-innovation, and the potential systemic impact this can have. At its core, this offers numerous advantages to creative professionals.

By teaming up with sectors such as research, technology, health, business, sustainability, urban development, democracy and participation, peace, and more, you can expand your horizons and diversify your work while generating new income streams and offering fresh perspectives into other fields.

Read more about the brief here.

Here are some specific examples of cross-sectorial collaborations from our policy brief:

This leads us to the second reason you should tune into the BSR Cultural Pearls project.

2. Nurturing the Win-Win: Diversifying Art Practices with New Perspectives

In the previous examples, you can see creative professionals not only possess valuable transferable skills, but can also contribute to the growth and adoption of socially and environmentally sustainable practices that benefit both communities and organisations.

Jaakko Blomberg, the Executive Director of Helsinki Urban Art, and a pioneer in connecting art and culture with community building, has worked extensively on projects that illustrate the transformative power of art in fostering a sense of community and social resilience among locals. For instance, he has organised events such as “Dinner Under the Helsinki Sky” (read about the most recent event here), where residents bring their tables outdoors for communal meals. As he aptly put it during a workshop for project stakeholders:

“Through art and local participation, the communal feeling of social resilience is embraced. It gives locals a feeling of ownership over the activity.”

Photo: Jaakko Blomberg archives

In the BSR Cultural Pearls project, the NDPC has been tasked with introducing municipalities, cities, and towns to a seed-money initiative. The Seed Money Initiative serves as the project’s way to support the awarded BSR Cultural Pearls in piloting activities together with their local Creative and Cultural Sector (CCS) practitioners. The initiative offers financial support to enable the Pearls in addressing social resilience challenges through collaborating with their CCS practitioners.  

Within the project, social resilience refers to “the ability of individuals, communities, and societies to withstand and recover from social, economic, and environmental shocks. It involves the capacity to adapt and learn from these challenges, as well as to maintain or improve social and economic well-being”. However, the seed-money initiative is only one of the project’s elements — find out more about the project here and here.

The project nurtures a win-win situation where all parties involved benefit from a mutual exchange. Creative professionals use their unique skills to support local communities, developing innovative solutions for stronger social resilience while broadening the spectrum of their creative methods and diversifying their income.

You may be wondering: “But how can I get involved? What if my hometown doesn’t participate in the programme?” Let’s get to the final reason for following the project’s development!

3. Innovating the Future: Paving a Path to Sustained Opportunities and Inspiration

In the Baltic Sea region, there will be two rounds of the BSR Cultural Pearl title competition over two years: The first —the pilot — is no longer taking applications, but the second will take place next year.

If you are interested in expanding your horizons, while embracing a win-win set-up within your local community, follow the developments of the pilot and look for updates regarding the next open call! Become an advocate for the practice and its numerous opportunities by sharing the project updates within your community!

In addition to providing seed funding, the project allows those involved to develop their skills and capacity for future collaborations with the CCS. The aim is to ensure that local cross-collaboration opportunities, like Pearls, can continue beyond the project.

The seed money initiative can also be used outside the title context, serving as a ready-made tool for any city, town, or municipality that is ready to harness the power of #CultureForResilience.

When acknowledging the benefits for creatives outside the applicant cities, the Pearls, and the region as a whole, it is important to note that the project will also create eight case studies for wider audiences and will build on the array of examples of arts and design-based collaboration and cross-innovation helping communities address social resilience.The case studies will serve as an inspiring and valuable resource, not only within the awarded Pearl towns, cities, and municipalities in the Baltic Sea region, but also in other contexts and regions — nurturing more mutually beneficial collaborations for creatives and communities around the world.

Stay tuned for further updates! We look forward to bringing you updates about our innovative #CultureForResilience journey. And remember — by sharing our updates with your community, you are advocating for the transformative power of #CultureForResilience. Let’s innovate the future together!

The title is part of the BSR Cultural Pearls project that seeks to strengthen culture-driven social resilience in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR). The 3.5M euro project is running for a period of three years until December 2025 and is funded by the Interreg Baltic Sea Region programme.

For further details about the BSR Cultural Pearls programme, interested parties can visit

2 Artistic work in social and healthcare sector | Dance Artist Helena Ratinen (YouTube)