null The Finnish Observatory for Arts and Cultural Education collaborates with a research project related to the Finnish Model for Leisure Activities

The Observatory for Arts and Cultural Education, Finland (later referred to as the Observatory) will partner with a research project led by Associate Professor Risto Marttinen from the United States. Associate Professor Marttinen (Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Teaching in Physical Education, Teachers College Columbia University) has been teaching and carrying out research at George Mason University for several years. His research revolves around implementing sustainable and educational after-school physical education programmes in elementary and middle schools in urban areas with poor availability of services. Marttinen’s visit is made possible by the Fulbright Finland Foundation.

The research project will focus on the Finnish Model for Leisure Activities and examine how the leisure activity instructors, participants and their parents, as well as coordinators and financial supporters of the model view the functionality of the model. The project will be planned in autumn 2024, and it will be carried out in spring 2025 in cooperation with the Observatory, the University of Jyväskylä and the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture.

The main goal of the Finnish Model for Leisure Activities is to increase the well-being of children and young people by enabling every child and young person to have a pleasant and free hobby in connection with the school day. The selection of leisure activities will be selected according to the children’s and young people’s wishes. In the 2023–2024 school year, the model was implemented in 262 municipalities and financed with 17 million euros by the Ministry of Culture and Education.

The Observatory, which is based at the Uniarts Helsinki Research Institute, has monitored and commented on the model pilot since its planning. Among its most recent activities, the Observatory teamed up with the Ministry of Education and Culture by providing instructors involved in the Finnish Model for Leisure Activities project with the opportunity to develop their pedagogical competence through a course at Uniarts Helsinki’s Open Campus. This collaboration took place in 2022–2024.

The Observatory for Arts and Cultural Education, Finland is a network-like collaboration between eight arts education organisations, which gathers and shares information on the practices, research and policies in the field of arts and cultural education in Finland. It also reinforces the connections between research and practical work and collaborations between operators in the field of arts and cultural education and supports the field’s operating environments and international cooperation. Currently, partners in the network are universities that offer a major subject that falls under the field of arts education, as well as some of the most impactful NGOs in the field.


More information:


Sunna Maijala

Research coordinator

Observatory for Arts and Cultural Education, Finland

Research Institute, University of the Arts Helsinki


Apulaisprofessori Risto Marttinen

Associate Professor Risto Marttinen