Saari Residence


2025 Saari Residence residencies are announced

Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa

In 2025, 24 individual artists, 3 two-person teams and 11 artistic working groups from around the world will be working at Kone Foundation’s international Saari Residence in Mynämäki, Finland.

Kone Foundation has made its decisions on the artists to be awarded a place at the Saari Residence in 2025. Next year, in addition to offering residencies to artists living in Finland, the residence will award artists and artistic working groups from Egypt, the Philippines, Lebanon, Nigeria, Singapore and Taiwan, among others. 

Record number of applications 

This spring’s open call for the 2025 Saari Residence spots received applications from 1,200 individual artists, work partners and artistic working groups from 91 countries. More than 1,000 artists and over 100 two-person teams applied for individual residencies. Nearly 150 artistic working groups or communities applied for a group residency. In the open call, the Saari Residence received over 100 more applications than last year and the open call reached 5 new countries. The award rate for 2025 residencies was 3.2%. Half of the residency spots have been awarded to artists living in Finland and the other half to artists coming from abroad. The selection represents various fields of art, including both emerging artists and artists with longer careers. 

More than half of the applicants for individual residencies are representatives of the visual arts, while more than 60% of the applicants for group residencies represent performing arts.  

Travel grants prove popular

For a few years now, applicants have been able to apply for an ecological travel grant when travelling to the Saari Residence from abroad, as well as for a travel grant from the Global South. The purpose of the ecological travel grant is to motivate applicants to avoid flying as part of their journey to the residence while also encouraging them to consider different modes of travel and to travel more slowly. The Global South travel grant is designed to make attendance possible for applicants who would otherwise find it financially infeasible to travel to Northern Europe.  

“Ecological, social and psychological sustainability are key principles of our activities at the Saari Residence, and travel grants are one way to implement them. In the evaluation of residency applications, we aim to safeguard diversity and pay special attention to under-represented groups among applicants. Their time at the residence is designed not only to nourish the artist but also to provide them with a break and collegial support in the demanding and sometimes very uncertain world of artistic work,” says Leena Kela, Residency Director at the Saari Residence. 

Social and environmental aspects highlighted in applications

Evaluators praised the artistic quality and appeal of the applications. “They were innovative and used a variety of artistic means to address social and, in particular, environmental issues. Using multidisciplinary approaches, the applicants reflected on the human condition, addressing cross-generational and even traumatic experiences while exploring through art various levels of sensory experience and knowledge,” summarises one of the evaluators.  

Art can be used to study issues bubbling under the surface of society and to create new perspectives on the future. Recurring themes in this year’s applications included the global ecological crisis, plants and communication with them, examination of the concept of time, queer issues, family stories, diaspora, and collective insecurity and anxiety amidst ongoing wars. The applications also displayed hope for the future, as many artists believe in the power of art to empower a sense of community in today’s insecure world. They also looked to the future by reflecting on the possibilities presented by new technologies and how they can change the boundaries of artistic expression. Many applications highlighted the ways augmented reality and AI can be used to deepen the connection between the self, the community and different forms of art. 

Two of our evaluators shared their experiences of the assessment process and wrote an article for our Anonymous Evaluator series. One of them wrote about the assessment process and what it feels like as a specialist in their field to be on the other side, reviewing and assessing applications based on their expertise in relation to the other applications. You can read it here

The second evaluator reflected on how the evaluator and applicant meet through the application process and the contradictory feelings associated with it. Read it here

Next year’s residencies will feature a documentary about wolves, trance-like poetry and a contemporary circus performance 

Next year, the Saari Residence for artists will host artists such as Filipino poet Mark Anthony Cayana, Finnish work partners Anna Törrönen and Eveliina Pasanen, and a contemporary circus group known as Akropatit

Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa

Eveliina Pasanen and Anna Törrönen will spend their residency writing a TV series about wolves and people 

At Saari, work partners Eveliina Pasanen and Anna Törrönen will work on writing a television series about wolves and people. They are seeking ways to combine documentary and fictional narratives. 

“The Saari Residence is located in wolf territory, which allows us to continue our site-specific preliminary research. During our time there, we plan to meet some locals, wander through the forest and beyond and, of course, write,” they say. 

They became friends while studying film at the Turku Arts Academy and have been working together on a wolf-themed TV series for several years. They have carried out background research along Finland’s eastern border and in the wolf territory of the Turku region. In addition to their interest in the wolf itself, they aim to explore the roots of the animosity towards these predators and the need of the wolf pack and humans to control their territory, themselves and others. 

“We are working on a long-term basis to explore ways to bring attention to the wolf and to understand the wild animal in humans. The wolf is a fascinating topic due to its contradictions. There is a heated debate about the animal, bringing together different views on the place of humans and wolves in nature, as well as views on social justice. The wolf is probably the most media-sexy animal in Finland,” they maintain. 

Eveliina Pasanen is a Turku-based scriptwriter and filmmaker whose short films have toured both domestic and international festivals. Pasanen’s background is in documentary film. She is an alumna of the Turku Arts Academy and is currently studying for a master’s degree in film and television screenwriting at Aalto University. Pasanen has always hoped to meet a wolf in the wild and dreams of this finally happening at the Saari Residence. 

Anna Törrönen is a filmmaker and writer who grew up in Lahti and whose roots are in Virkkala. Törrönen is currently studying documentary filmmaking in Aalto University’s master’s programme and is particularly interested in the interface between documentary and fiction. 

Mark Anthony Cayanan writes about the concepts behind and experience of ecstasy 

Filipino poet Mark Anthony Cayanan intends to write their latest work of poetry at the Saari Residence, combining hybrid forms of poetry and exploring the ability of these forms to short-circuit normative routes of comprehension, while also nudging us towards different ways of exploring the world. The project they intend to work on, titled Ecstasy Facsimile, combines research and creativity and builds on both Saint Teresa of Ávila’s experience of divine ecstasy and the author’s experience of precarity, a consequence of pursuing writing in milieus that prove hospitable to their literary production. Cosmopolitan and yet intimate, Ecstasy Facsimile is a lyrical and critical reflection on issues of mental health, religion, diaspora, class and queer sociality. Cayanan’s work reflects their desire to use lyric poetry to broaden and discombobulate our understanding of the world. 

Cayanan holds a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and a PhD from the University of Adelaide. Their works include Narcissus (2011) and Except You Enthral Me (2013), and most recently Unanimal, Counterfeit, Scurrilous (2021) published in Australia. They teach literature and creative writing at the Ateneo de Manilla University and are currently a post-doc researcher at the ICI Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry. 

Photo: Silje Lien

Akropatit challenge old-fashioned gender roles through positive energy

In the summer of 2025, Saari Residence will welcome the working group Akropatit and their project Ammeshow (Tub Show). Tub Show (working title) is a contemporary circus piece set in a bathtub. The bathtub at the centre of the work serves as an instrument and a prop, in and around which the working group implement demanding circus techniques that bring the small and intimate space to life. Tub Show highlights a moment of preparation in the bathroom where some of the most bizarre rituals are made, aphorisms about beauty are contemplated and secrets are shared. 

“The residency allows us to focus 100% on our project in an inspiring environment. It also gives us the opportunity to work intensively with Jaakko Sirainen, the working group’s lighting designer, who will devise specific lighting equipment for this piece that will travel wherever we take the show. We also want to focus on putting the whole thing together. Our goal is for most of the dramaturgy and lighting design to be complete at the end of the residency,” the working group says. 

Akropatit (Iitu Kivimäki, Kamilla Nisso and Anniina Peltovako) is a Finnish contemporary circus group specialising in human pyramids. The trio have been performing together since 2014 in a variety of circus acts and at various events and festivals. 

Made up of three strong women, the human pyramid trio challenges old-fashioned gender roles and celebrates women through positive energy and demanding skills. In their works, Akropatit combine exacting pyramid techniques, physical expression and humour.  Jaakko Sirainen is a lighting designer from Tampere who works on various performing art projects, and he also designs sets, projections and the overall visual look of performances. 

A peaceful place for work, inspiring encounters and eye-opening insights

Maintained by Kone Foundation, the Saari Residence in Mynämäki provides artists with a work grant, accommodation and versatile workspaces in a beautiful and inspiring rural environment. Throughout the year, a variety of representatives of different art disciplines work at the residence. They are encouraged to engage in communal interaction and potential collaboration. With the help of the Saari Residence’s Invited Artist, artists are also offered opportunities to deepen their thinking relating to sustainability and ecology. 

In a meeting held on 7 June 2024, Kone Foundation’s Board of Trustees decided on the grantees to be awarded a Saari residency in 2025. 

List of the grantees awarded an individual residency 

List of the grantees awarded a group residency 

For further information, please contact 

Leena Kela, Residency Director 

+358 40 732 3628,