Jakobstad elected Cultural Pearl 2024

An international jury has announced the cities awarded the BSR Cultural Pearls title for the year 2024. The municipalities of Jakobstad (Finland), Svendborg (Denmark), Kiel (Germany) and Rūjiena (Latvia) were chosen from among 12 candidates from the countries around the Baltic Sea Region. These cities prepared Culture and Social Resilience Action Plans aimed at making their communities more resilient through culture and creativity.

The application from the town of Jakobstad, which shortly is about involving the residents and cultural associations of the town in the future use of the old fire station, was considered one of the most impactful and convincing action plans and it was selected by an international jury comprised of experts in social resilience, urban planning, arts and culture. This jury also included representatives from pan-Baltic and European organisations and networks of cities.

“We are deeply impressed by the dedication each city has shown in the competition. Their creative and inclusive approaches to strengthening social resilience have exceeded our expectations,” says Felix Schartner Giertta, BSR Cultural Pearls project manager representing Lead partner Council of the Baltic Sea States Secretariat. “Embracing the power of culture and creativity as a vehicle for engaging, inspiring, and connecting people is the core of this initiative and we are excited to now see their action plans come to fruition together with the communities of these cities,” he adds.

Cultural and leisure manager Päivi Rosnell and development manager Johan Lithén, are the ones who worked the most on Jakobstad’s application, but many others within the town and representatives of associations have contributed to the whole.

– It is a nice and exciting opportunity to develop the cultural offer in the city together with the residents according to the low-threshold principle. Every resident is a pearl, says Rosnell.

The town of Jakobstad will now together with Svendborg, Kiel and Rūjiena enrol in a year-long Cultural Pearls programme. This includes mentorship to support the implementation of the action plan, capacity-building with expert interventions and networking, international exchange, and a ready-made model for procuring service providers from the local Culture and Creative Sector, covered by the project.

– We have a plan on how we will proceed with our idea, and we will shortly inform more about how we will now put the plans into action, says Lithén.

BSR Cultural Pearls is a title for towns, cities and municipalities that provides awarded candidates a programme to strengthen their capacity to use culture in building social resilience. By engaging and involving their citizens, enhancing the quality of life, fostering a sense of belonging and building trust, they aim to make their communities stronger and more resilient. The project is co-financed by the Interreg BSR programme and the next call for application will be open in April 2024.

More information: Päivi Rosnell, Culture and Leisure Manager, tel. 044 785 1249, paivi.rosnell@jakobstad.fi Johan Lithén, Development Manager, tel. 044 785 1653, johan.lithen@jakobstad.fi