Supporting Youth Culture

Anton Schalin & Miikka Pyykkönen


This study examines cultural hobbies and the use of cultural services among young people aged 15–20 in Central Finland and presents a set of self-assessment tools developed for cultural youth work. The study was carried out in cooperation with Young people and participation in cultural activities: Development of young people’s art and cultural activities in the municipalities of Central Finland, a project coordinated by the City of Jyväskylä, and students from the Cultures, Communities and Change (KUMU) degree programme of the University of Jyväskylä. This study arose from a need to identify and develop young people’s cultural activities and cultural youth work in Central Finland. Most young people have at least one creative hobby, such as playing an instrument, visual arts or photography. The use of cultural services is also common during childhood and early youth. However, long distances and high prices can hinder young people’s participation in cultural services and hobbies. Young people’s cultural activity is also somewhat gendered: girls have more cultural hobbies and they use cultural services more actively than boys. The research material consists of interviews with young people in Central Finland and cultural youth work experts. The interviews contain the views of young people with many cultural hobbies, but also young people whose main hobbies are sports and cars. Cultural hobby opportunities are quite limited in small municipalities, which is why many young people often travel to larger towns to engage in cultural hobbies. Young people would like to have more hobby opportunities in their residential areas, and they also provided practical suggestions to this effect. The experts presented innovative ways to reach young people, emphasised the need for closer cooperation with various operators and stressed the importance of the continuity of activities. The regular evaluation of the quality of youth work and young people’s participation is important, but tools for the self-assessment of cultural youth work have not been available until now. The set of self-assessment tools presented in this study has been designed for the needs of cultural youth work in particular, but it is useful for everyone who works with young people.

Keywords: culture, young people, youth work, hobbies, Central Finland