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Joint Congress & Festival Project 2020–2022

Tampere is a lively conventions and congress destination, hosting dozens of international science events and cultural festivals every year. The joint project involving congress and festival organisers was born of the need and desire to enhance cooperation and synergy between different events held in the city at the same time. Under the auspices of funding from the Ministry of Education and Culture, Tampere Region Festivals and local congress organisers set out to find ways to develop cooperation between congresses and festivals and harmonise their content and audiences. The aim was to pilot a cooperation between the Life Biosciences Congress and the World of Tango Festival, to organise a joint urban event and, based on the experience, create a model which could be applied to cooperation between science and art events on the whole.

While planning the joint event between the Life Biosciences Congress and the World of Tango Festival, the congress organiser wished to expand the collaboration, and festival organisers were offered the opportunity to additionally produce the social programme of the congress. Thus, members of the Tampere Region Festivals association were given the opportunity to design and implement a relevant evening programme for the 2,000 participants of the congress. The objective was to meet the needs of the scientists attending the congress, on the one hand, and to showcase local culture in a unique way, on the other hand. 

Festival organisers carried out different workshops where the contents for the event were developed, in cooperation with the members of the Tampere Region Festivals association, Tampere University congress organisers as well as experts from the Tampere Convention Bureau, which is part of Visit Tampere. The events that took part in the designing of the contents were Fest Afrika, Pispala Schottische, Tampere Film Festival, Tampere Theatre Festival, Tampere Dance Current – Contemporary Dance Festival and Workers’ Music Festival. The three-day programme package designed by the festival organisers was presented to the congress organisers in the autumn of 2021, and the aim was to start the realisation in early 2022. 

The prolonged Covid-19 pandemic, however, changed the plans drastically – holding an international congress was not possible at any point during the project. Since cooperation between the different parties and the productisation of services had got off to a good start during the project, it was finally decided to put the plan into practice in the form of training sessions over 2022. 

The needs and desires of art and science events as a starting point

Since the content of the project had to be substantially changed compared to the original plan, the different actors participating in the project were summoned to a dedicated workshop where the main objectives of the project were crystallised following the design thinking methodology. The workshop successfully clarified the wishes and needs of congress organisers, parties bidding for congresses to be held in Tampere and festival organisers alike: 

Congress organisers want to offer congress visitors: 

  • interesting and professionally organised social programme; 
  • activities that introduce visitors to local culture, enable networking and provide a memorable experience;
  •  meeting places and opportunities for informal discussions.

Parties bidding for congresses to be held in Tampere need: 

  • a clear, functional and tested collaboration concept for the organisation of social programme; 
  • examples of distinctive social programmes that showcase local culture; 
  • attractive, high-quality marketing material related to Tampere.

Collaboration with congress organisers may provide festivals with: 

  • new networks, audiences and partners;
  • more work and income; 
  • new marketing channels and means; 
  • the opportunity to develop the festival organisers’ own competence and artistic operations.

Among the various measures promoting cooperation between congresses and festivals, the development of productisation was seen as the easiest to accomplish even during the pandemic. Consequently, the project placed particular emphasis on developing the competence of festival organisers through training and workshops and by providing personalised support and advice.

Training sessions and workshops included in the project:

Productisation of event production

Customer profiles, management, development targets

28/10/2021 Productisation of event production

Project management, sales of event services

Presenting the congress programme developed by the festival organisers

Models of corporate partnerships and sponsorship

Services provided to congresses, businesses and other entities during festivals


Services provided by festivals to congresses, businesses and other entities all year


Presenting the service products developed by the festival organisers

Project outcomes:

  • The project surveyed the kinds of services that congresses, businesses and event agencies need and would be willing to order from festivals.
  • Festival organisers received training in the development and pricing of the required services.
  • A major revamp of the www.pirfest.fi website was implemented, and a dedicated event services section was built on the website for the purpose of marketing the festivals’ various service products and collaboration models.
  • A promotional video about the festivals, enhancing the international marketing of Tampere Region, was commissioned. 
  • A digital Best Practices report was compiled, which serves as an aid in the productisation of festivals and as a tool for congress organisers in the process of bidding for and organising congresses.