Peer Group for non-EU Artists and Arts Workers

a scanned map showing part of Uusimaa
Image by Paola Jalili

This peer group aims to support, listen, and collectively find ways and strategies to deal with Migri (Finnish Immigration Service) as non-EU artists and art workers.

We understand the term “non-EU citizen” as a transient identity defined by larger political and historical processes. We are aware that it falls under broad and ambiguous terminology (migrant, immigrant, diasporic) which may often be problematic too (“alien”, “expat”). We are critical of these concepts, and during the group sessions we will try to find ways to think about ourselves outside these institutional frameworks.

We wish for this peer group to become a space in which we collectively accompany people through their experiences of temporal identities and interactions with immigration authorities. Together as a community, we want to create networks of care, and gather practical advice to share amongst ourselves and with others who might experience similar circumstances in the future. We also want to use art-making as a way to channel our lived experiences as non-EU artists and art workers, and showcase our activities as a peer group. 

Independent publisher, artist, and cultural worker Paola Jalili will host 4 monthly sessions (October 2021-January 2022). Each session is divided into two parts: 

Migri clinic 

During each session, the group leader(s) will host a Migri clinic to provide information and resources related to the different processes of applying for residence permits in Finland in the art and culture field and beyond. The clinic is also conceived as a space where we accompany each other through different stages of our interactions with Migri; lend an ear or hold a hand while others ask, complain, or rant about Migri; and share resources, tips, and hacks about how to deal with Migri. We understand this topic can be triggering, so no one is obligated to participate/share/actively listen during the clinic or the group sessions in general. Participants are also welcome to simply sit and listen without saying anything or sharing personal information. Safer Spaces guidelines apply. 

Workshop: What ties you to a place?

We will explore what makes us feel connected to a place, and the different types of relationships we create there: with people; with natural and urban landscapes; with objects and materials; with professional circles. This is a way to examine and subvert the normative and restrictive definitions of what immigration authorities define as valid ties to a country—bloodlines or romantic intimate relationships. The participants will be invited to share their thoughts on the topic while they create a zine/poster/collage that represents their ties to the place where they live. 


Session 1: Tuesday 12.10.21, 17-19:30 at Vaasankatu 15. 
Session 2: Tuesday  2.11.21 
Session 3: Thursday 16.12.21, with special guest Hayfaa Chalabi. This link takes you to Hayfaa’s website, where you can learn more about her practice. 
Session 4: Tuesday 11.01.22, with special guest Riikka Kuoppala (Vegan & Legal) This link takes you to Riikka’s website, where you can learn more about her practice.  


We aim to host around 10 participants in each session. It’s nice if you can join every time, but it’s not essential. If you’re interested, but unable to attend, please let us know so we can share collective resources in the future / add you to our Discord channel. 

You can sign-up to the first session by emailing (until 11.10), or you can sign-up for all or some of the following sessions in advance as well.  

In your email, feel free to share a couple of lines about you, and what you’d like to do/learn/share/ask in the peer group, and any dietary requirements—snacks will be provided. 


Vaasankatu 15 in Helsinki is located on street level, but there are two steps in the entrance. The door is 65 cm wide. The toilet is very small, and there are two steps on the way there. If you have particular access needs, please let Katie know in your sign up email and we will do our best to accommodate them.

A person holding a cup of coffee
Paola Jalili, image courtesy of the artist

Paola Jalili (she/her)

Paola Jalili (b. Mexico City, she/her) is an independent publisher, artist, and cultural worker currently based in Helsinki. She works with a variety of visual media to reflect on the intersections between labor, gender, and the contemporary workplace. In 2017, she co-founded the independent publishing project quince ediciones together with Daniel Bolívar. In her self-publishing practice, Paola experiments with do-it-yourself production methods, and aims to reach criticality through small, quiet, & humorous minutiae.

Follow this link to read about the 2019 Peer Group, Occupying Margins / Occupying Uncertainty. 
This link takes you to the website of the 2019 host, artist Martina Miño Pérez.

In 2020, the group reformulated its aims and focussed on the experiences of international students living in Finland during the Covid pandemic.
Follow this link to read about the 2020 Peer Group, Painting a Picture Together. 
This link takes you to the website of the 2020 host, artist and curator Zahrah Ehsan.