S Creatives has been created in 2021-2022 as a bottom-up network of designers, artists and artisans. The formation of the network was a spin-off of the (unsuccessful) Savonlinna bid for European Capital of Culture in 2026. S Creatives has brought creative people together and started organizing also public events with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Education grant.

According to the Creative Savonlinna Action Plan (PP5) developed in the Local Flavours Interreg Europe project, the goal was to launch the development of SME networking in the cultural and creative industries in order to create an ecosystem capable of attracting new actors from outside to the city and valorizing cultural heritage and potential in the city. The Creative Savonlinna Action Plan could not be supported from the policy instrument (ERDF Skills and Innovation in Finland) due to the timeframe and managerial issues, but funding from the Ministry of Culture and Education was secured for 28.2.2022-31.12.2023 from national funds for the S Creatives project administered by the Culture department of the city of Savonlinna. The aim of the project is to pilot new operational models to support creative fields and to activate new collaborations.

During the project S Creatives has already started taking form as a community and consortium bringing people together from different creative fields, strengthening the role of creative industries and keeping up the dialogue in the field by also cooperating with the city of Savonlinna culture services. Through joint effort they promote developing and rooting the ecosystem of cultural and creative industry into Savonlinna.

The concrete goal to facilitate collaboration includes creation of shared information channels to culture and creative fields, conceptualization of co-working spaces, promoting contacts to the local companies and developing a versatile city festival of creativity. The project’s website tells about the people in the network and their professions, but in the future also about the creative spaces and education opportunities in culture fields in Savonlinna. Additionally, S Creative is testing possibilities of digital services on the website. One main thing is to launch regular meetings in the field in Savonlinna and bring topics into the discussion.

So far, the achievements include among others, organizing the first S Creatives Festival in June 2022 and developing visibility campaigns. Plans are being developed for a city culture magazine, organizing annually the Savonlinna Culture Forum and the second S Creatives Festival in 2023. Work continues in the building of permanent networking platforms and services in order to provide peer-to-peer support and to develop co-working spaces.

A good example of the potential of the CCIs is Heidi Tamminen – a Finnish artist and illustrator educated in Edinburgh - who decided to move back to her hometown Savonlinna. For her S Creatives offered important peer support, which is not something taken for granted for being a creative professional in a small city. Heidi Tamminen was asked to create a visual appearance for S Creatives Festival 2022. She has been also interested to bring visual art to the city, like creating illustrations to the quiet business premises at the main street of Savonlinna. “Curious greenhouse” is an illustration work of a strange indoor garden livening up empty storefront windows in Savonlinna city centre. People of Savonlinna appreciate Heidi’s state-of-the-art visuals in the public spaces.

For more information:

S Creatives website: https://www.screatives.fi/ 

Heidi Tamminen: www.heiditamminen.com