Michaël Delafosse, Mayor of Montpellier, President of the Métropole de Montpellier, Sophie Léron, General Manager of Montpellier 2028 and Thomas Corolleur, International Relations Manager of Montpellier 2028 traveled to Helsinki and Oulu as part of Montpellier 2028’s application for the title of European Capital of Culture.
3 intense days of meetings and exchanges with Finnish counterparts to better understand their cultural strategies and explore collaborations. Officially welcomed at the French Embassy by her excellency Agnès Cukierman, the Mayor of Montpellier and his team then travelled up North, where Oulu will be in 2026, European Capital of Culture. Oulu’s mayor, Seppo Määttä, along with the team of Oulu 2026 – Piia Rantala-Korhonen, Henri Turunen – spent some valuable time showing and explaining how the city will be showcasing their cultural program, with a participatory approach and special focus on climate change issues. The two cities found common ground for future projects, like the Delta Life initiative supervised by Pia Alatorvinen, Director of Oulu August Festivals.
In Helsinki, the team of Montpellier 2028 toured major cultural landmarks and exchanged with key cultural players of the city: Anna-Maria Soininvaara, director of the Helsinki Central Library Oodi, Reetta Heiskanen, in charge of the Helsinki City Museum and Arja Miller, director of the Helsinki Art Museum and Helsinki Biennale. Montpellier 2028 even had the chance to meet Julia Ojanen who runs the Villa Karo, a finnish residency program in Benin.
Another opportunity to reaffirm Montpellier’s strong stand on European and African Cultural Collaborations.