By SAMI TANSKANEN
UEF project team members Dr. Juha Kauppila, Jenni Korhonen and Sami Tanskanen entering the Nurmes cultural centre to host a lecture seminar and discussion.
The Sus21 project team of the University of Eastern Finland (UEF) helped organise a theme week for sustainability, creating visibility for social and cultural sustainable development in the town of Nurmes!
UEF took part in the sustainable development week titled “Pulaviikko” in the town of Nurmes in North Karelia, Finland, within the non-formal training activities of the Sus21 project.
While the original plan of the project team was to conduct a small training activity for regional NGOs related to the topic of education as a promoter of social and cultural sustainable development – as with many good ideas – things went a bit farther than anticipated.
While the project team was planning trainings with regional NGOs from Nurmes and the administration of the City of Nurmes, an idea was born to create a whole theme week around the very important topic of sustainable development, in which all associations and people living in Nurmes could participate. Thus, the “Pulaviikko” sustainable development week was born. The event was organised from 2-6.5.2022. Throughout the week, regional associations and NGOs planned a range of activities from story-telling activities, arts and crafts from sustainable materials, sustainable home economics, lectures connecting sustainability to local history, as well as many others. The project team of UEF also contributed to the programme by hosting a lecture of the university professor Arto Salonen regarding the relationship of wellbeing and sustainable development in the Nurmes museum and library centre.
The regional organisers in Nurmes thanked the Sus21 project in their help in planning the week during the opening event and informed of their intention to have the event organised in the future as well, on an annual basis.
The chairman of the Nurmes city council, Matti Kämäräinen, opened the event week in the Nurmes museum.UEF project worker Sami Tanskanen also later gave an opening lecture on the relationship of intergenerational learning and cultural sustainability.
In conclusion, the training activity was a success, since rather than simply training regional associations on the topics of sustainability, it also facilitated a remarkable amount of associations and people to come together to explore the theme through various activities, bringing different people together.
It was not only a great showcase of “learning by doing” as well as “learning by teaching others” to the regional actors of Nurmes, but it was also a learning experience to the project team of UEF, since the event week showcased how whole communities and towns could be united to come together and explore the theme of social, cultural and ecological sustainability. From local schools, authorities, associations as well other locals, the week brought visibility to how important the topic is in our contemporary lives – but also reminded us, that sustainable practices have been incredibly important to us in our history as well.
The project team was also invited to try coffee substitutes prepared by the Nurmes museum, some without any coffee at all, made from dandelion root and other ingredients. These substitutes were in widespread use in Finnish history during economic strife or times of war, when coffee imports became scarce.