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For schools

Helsinki Biennial 2023 is an international contemporary art event in Helsinki’s Vallisaari and HAM Helsinki Art Museum. Artworks and other biennial programmes extend over various parts of the city, such as Central Library Oodi, Cultural Centre Stoa and other public spaces. Helsinki Biennial 2023 also has a strong digital presence with six online works of art on the biennial’s website.

The Helsinki Biennial 2023’s title New Directions May Emerge refers to an alternative way of living in and understanding the world and of imagining other possible futures. The artworks discuss burning questions of our time, including environmental destruction, political conflicts and the impact of technological development. The biennial invites us to pay attention to what surrounds us – people, plants and animals – and to become aware of any possibilities for change. It also invites us to explore human and more-than-human scales, real islands and imaginary new worlds. The biennial tickles imaginations and teaches about compassion, sustainable development and the mutual dependencies between humans and others.

Helsinki Biennial’s opening times and map

in Vallisaari from 11 June to 17 September 2023

Tue–Sun 11–18

in HAM from 11 June to 22 October 2023

Tue 10–17.30, Wed–Sun 11.30–19

Helsinki Biennial in Vallisaari

There are about 16 artworks in total displayed on the island. The artworks located indoors are open to the public from 11 am. However, you can come to the island in the morning as soon as the waterbus services start. In addition to the island’s nature and historical sites, it is possible to experience about 5 of the Biennial’s artworks that are located outdoors on the island before 11 am.

Please explore Vallisaari Island using the marked paths, as the island’s natural environment is sensitive to erosion. This historical island also has many dangerous structures and cliffs.

Dogs are welcome on Vallisaari, but the indoor areas are not accessible to pets. Let’s keep Vallisaari neat and tidy for visitors and the island’s organisms. Please put your rubbish in the bins; there are several recycling points along the route.

On the island, you can recycle bio and energy waste, as well as bottles and cans. Read more about the rules and regulations on Metsähallitus’ website.

Arrival in Vallisaari and waterbus reservations

Waterbuses to Vallisaari depart from the Lyypekinlaituri pier in the Market Square. Waterbuses on the circular route depart from the Parrulaituri pier in Kalasatama. The journey to Vallisaari from the Market Square takes about 20 minutes.

Groups are required to make a reservation for the waterbus in advance. You can view the waterbuses’ timetables and fares and make reservations for your group here.


Services on Vallisaari

View the Vallisaari services map.

Vallisaaren palvelukartta (pdf)

Services for schools

Have you ever seen Vallisaari’s water spirit? Learn about the Helsinki Biennial artworks through materials intended for independent work.

The ThingLink online learning platform for school groups is available on the biennial website in Finnish and in Swedish. ThingLink’s material is intended for children in grades 4–6. Its content combines art, nature and history in a fun and age-appropriate way, considering broad learning objectives. The material is designed to be used primarily in Vallisaari but can also be explored without a visit to the island. The ThingLink material has been produced in cooperation with expert teachers from the City of Helsinki Education division. The material on ThingLink is available in Finnish and Swedish. For teachers and other educators, ThingLink includes an additional section, which can be used for phenomenon-based learning modules or for elaboration after the island visit.

Online learning material

The ThingLink online learning material introduces the biennial’s themes through tasks that combine various school subjects. ThingLink is a virtual learning environment with interactive elements, including images and sound. The tasks on ThingLink can be completed during the visit to Vallisaari or at school. The virtual tour has eight  control points, and each point includes open questions, multiple-choice questions and questions to be completed at school. The free-of-charge learning material on ThingLink will be available from early August.

Learning material (in Finnish)
Map the Helsinki Biennial artworks 

The biennial’s map optimised for mobile devices is an agile data bank for planning a visit for a school group and during the visit to the island. The map includes a map for the biennial and information about the artists as well as the artworks.

Culture Path trip for Helsinki’s 5th graders

Helsinki’s Culture Path activities ensure that pupils are offered the opportunity to learn about a wide range of cultural content and events during basic education. Helsinki Biennial is located on the Culture Path followed by schools in Helsinki and it is recommended as a place for 5th graders, in particular, to visit.

Read more about the Culture Path trip for Helsinki’s 5th graders

Lisätietoa kulttuuripolusta
Join Helsinki Biennial in cultural centres around the city! Video screenings for schools

Curator Joasia Krysa an coordinating curator Petronella Grönroos have picked a selection of video art from HAM’s collection. This 45-minute selection will be screened in cultural centres around the city in August and September. The screenings include a brief introduction of Helsinki Biennial and a learning material package intended for lower secondary–level students.

Duration: 1 hour
Price: free
Locations: Stoa, Vuotalo, Kanneltalo, Maunula-talo

More information and reservations (in Finnish)

Helsinki Biennial in HAM Helsinki Art Museum

In 2023, Helsinki Biennial can be experienced in HAM as well. HAM will display artworks by artists Tuula Närhinen, Diana Policarpo, Bita Razavi and Tabita Rezaire, as well as the INTERPRT collective of artists and researchers.

You can book guided tours and workshops for schools in HAM from August 2023.

Guided tours for schools in HAM

This year, Helsinki Biennial will extend to HAM with artworks from five artists. The guided tour will introduce the Helsinki Biennial’s themes. The tour will include an exploration of the seabed’s hidden secrets, from cable networks to entire cities and traces left by humans.

Duration 45 min
Price €25
Intended for all age groups, specifically 5th to 9th graders and upper secondary–level students

Book a guided tour
Workshop: Microscopic views of seaweed paints

Paint microscopic views using seaweed paints! In this workshop, you will explore aquatic micro-organisms and plant tissues using microscopes and a video projector and  then paint images of them on watercolour paper using plant based colours and superfood powders.

Duration: 1.5 h
Price: €35
Intended for 1st to 9th graders and upper secondary–level students

Book a workshop

Online artworks

In 2023, Helsinki Biennial has a strong online presence. One of the biennial’s central themes is agency – more specifically, questions of shared agency and artificial intelligence.  The Helsinki Biennial website presents six online artworks that have not been displayed before.

Experience the online artworks!

Give us feedback!

Did you visit Helsinki Biennial with a school group? Please give us feedback.

Questionnaire for school groups (in Finnish)

Questions about the services for the schools?

Please contact us!

Pinja Petäjä
Producer of Education
+358 40 773 1509