Andrei Kureichik. Kuva: Jukka Lintinen

Afterwork Art Criticism: Art, Activism, and the Freedom of Speech in Media


December 9, 2021, at 17:00
Duration 1 hour
Musiikkitalo (Mannerheimintie 13)
Free of charge

The weakening of civil liberty in Europe is an issue for both journalism and art. In Belarus members of the opposition as well as individual activists have been persecuted and killed since the presidential election in 2020.

The Belarusian director and author Andrei Kureichik’s play Golosa Belarusi (Uuden Valko-Venäjän äänet), is a documentary play featuring people who have been subjected to political terror and their witness testimonies. The play paints grim picture of today’s Belarus and is a reminder of the fragility of democracy.

How can and how does the media and individual art critics address activist artworks?

The project Shine On Critique and Theatre Info Finland TINFO warmly welcome you to an afterwork panel discussion on art, activism and the freedom of speech on December 9th at 17:00. The discussion will be held in English on the ground foyer (alalämpiö) of Musiikkitalo. The event will be streamed live both on Facebook (@tinfoteatterintiedotuskeskus) and on Instagram (@kritiikkinakyy).

In addition to Andrei Kureichik, the panel will include Annu Kemppainen (Artists at Risk), Soila Valkama (YLE) and Heikki Valkama (YLE). The discussion will be moderated by Maria Säkö (Finnish Critics’ Association).

The play “Uuden Valko-Venäjän äänet” is available as an audio drama on Yle Areena (only in Finnish).


Andrei Kureichik is an internationally performed playwright, screenwriter, and director as well as a political activist of significance in Belarus. Kureichik is a founding member of the Coordination Council of Belarus (CCB) alongside notable figures such as Belarusian President-Elect Svetlana Tikhanouskaya and Nobel Prize laureate Svetlana Alexievich. Forced into exile during the brutal crackdown that ensued, Kureichik relocated to Finland, with the support of Artists at Risk. Kureichik has written and/or directed 27 feature films, as well as over 20 plays that have been staged in 37 countries worldwide. Recent notable works of his include the 2017 feature film Moving Up (as screenwriter), which became the highest-grossing film in Russian cinema history, and 2020’s Insulted.Belarus.

Annu Kemppainen is a cultural producer at Artists at Risk. Kemppainen has previously worked as a director at Arte and Reality Research Center and features regularly on the YLE radio show Kulttuuriykkönen. Artists at Risk is a non-profit network institution at the intersection of human rights and the arts, mapping persecuted art practitioners, facilitating their safe passage from their countries of origin, and hosting them at AR-Residencies and curating related projects.

Soila Valkama works as a director and content developer at YLE broadcasting company. Valkama is the director of the audio drama Uuden Valko-Venäjän äänet.

Heikki Valkama is a journalist and writer. He has worked as an editor-in-chief of the Mondo and Image magazines. Today he is the financial editor at the YLE broadcasting company, which among other things produces the Viimeinen sana (Last Word) program, that investigates media critically.


Maria Säkö is a freelance journalist and theatre and dance critic at Helsingin Sanomat, and other news outlets. Säkö teaches writing at the Theatre Academy and has published numerous articles in anthologies and other literary works on the performing arts. Säkö is chair of the Finnish Critic’s Association.

The discussion is a part of “Reimagining Art Criticism” by the Shine on Critique project. The project focuses on the visibility of art criticism in the media, and on finding new means for it. The project is organized by Finnish Critics’ Association and funded by Kone Foundation.

Theatre Info Finland TINFO is an expert organization in the performing arts field. TINFO produces statistics, offers mentoring for theatre professionals interested in international mobility and increases awareness of Finnish theatre, plays and performing arts.

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