Finding the Leader in Yourself

26.04.2017 |

During the Creative Climate Leadership (CCL) course at the Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth, Wales, we talked to five participants. Read below what Anna-Kaisa Koska from Helsinki, Finland thinks about the course and what she will put her focus on now.

What were your expectations about the course before you got here?

The application form was quite demanding and set the bar quite high, and you got the impression that this is really well-thought-out. I had a lot of trust in the organizers. I was hoping for meeting people, who are in a similar kind of situation but in a different context. Which means basically that they would be super worried about climate change, working in a field, that is not directly addressing the problem and that needs to start creating ways how to incorporate this massive problem into soft practice, that we mainly deal with in the cultural sector and the arts.

Why do you think the creative sector can make a difference in raising awareness about climate change?

Culture is about emotions and communication and climate change has neither one of these qualities. Climate change is this very distant thing that is really difficult to communicate. I believe when the cultural field overcomes the fear of talking about something, that they don’t fully understand, they can offer perspectives on the issue of climate change that can really touch and move the people and in this way raise awareness about this issue, but also make people start thinking about a better future where we live in harmony with the environment.

Meet Anna-Kaisa Koska, who's both a curator and an activist against the use of coal and fossil energies

What have you been doing so far in Finland and does the Baltic Sea also concern your work?

In my spare time – if I can say so being a freelance curator – I’m also an activist in the initiative coal-free Finland, where we’re doing this very traditional environmental campaign in order to get the Finnish coal plants and fossil energy production to shut down as quickly as possible, preferably in the early 2020’s. The initiative is working on a very local level and so I’m really engaged in Finland. I also tried to educate myself on the future energy system that Finland could build to replace the old one.

The Baltic Sea really is a big part of my life, as I live in Helsinki, maybe 300 ­or 400 meters from the seaside. On the very seaside, where there’s also the big coal power plant in Helsinki. The sea being so close is really effecting the way of life in Helsinki. About a month ago I noticed that the pollution of the Baltic Sea feels a bit like a taboo. Helsinki Sanomat, the biggest newspaper in Finland, published a survey about ways to reduce the pollution of the Baltic Sea from a Finnish perspective. The survey’s key point was that animal farming should be stopped, and this caused quite a lot of opposition in the papers, because of course, it’s agriculture. Especially now with the centre party, representing mainly the people from the countryside, having the power, everything is done to protect the Finnish agriculture as it is. They’re not willing to implement any changes.

Hanasaari Coal Power Plant right in the middle of the city of Helsinki

Talking about your artistic work, what have you done so far addressing these issues?

I haven’t done much yet and I’m just starting up a project as part of a festival; which one I cannot reveal. But we’re planning a communal art work that is about trees, addressing both the environment and also the challenges of the migration crisis. We want to find out how we all relate to trees and try to build a common ground for discussion.

The course is about to end now: Were your expectations met? What will you take along from here?

The focus on leadership has been interesting. I wasn’t expecting this definition of leadership that was introduced here, which deals with recognizing the leader in yourself. Being a leader doesn’t mean that you’re the boss of an organisation, but that you’re taking the first step to start a movement. That’s been a really valuable, empowering lesson for me.

Also, as I have so many ideas and material I had the chance to get encouraged to go ahead with what I’ve got planned. This course will definitely affect the attitude with which I will move the projects forward.

Thank you very much, Anna!

Click here to read on about Sigrid Pawelke and her work in academia. Go back to the main article about the first CCL course. 

The next Creative Climate Leadership training course will take place in Slovenia in October 2017, facilitated by Julie’s Bicycle and PiNA. Applications will open soon. To register your interest, sign up to our newsletter at

In the CCL partner consortium, ARS BALTICA represents the Baltic Sea Region and considers it extremely worthwhile to be part of this international project highlighting what the cultural sector can do to fight climate change. Staying up-to-date with international trends and being a part of such a network helps us to bring even more substance to the fight for more sustainability and against climate change, that several cultural players from the BSR have already begun.

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"Culture includes not only culture and arts, but also the way of life and system of values. In this sense culture becomes the major power for intellectual renewal and human perfection." (European Council Report on European Cultural Policy)