Comic Creators look to an Equal Future in new book

The Finnish Institute in the UK and Ireland has celebrated its 30th birthday with a publication highlighting social innovations that promote equality, featuring the work of Maria Björklund from Finland and the UK's Darryl Cunningham and PJ Holden.

The comic book – An Equal Future – Inspiring Social Innovations from Finland, the UK and Ireland has been published in Finnish, Swedish and English, the innovations selected following interviews with experts from the three regions.

“Instead of writing a history of the Institute, we wanted to look ahead and inspire a new generation of social innovators,” says Ninni Lehtniemi, who coordinated the book project, which was carried out in collaboration with the Lakes International Comic Arts Festival. “The Covid-19 pandemic and the rebuilding that will follow has made this seem increasingly pertinent”

Three leading comic artists worked on the book: Maria Björklund from Finland, Darryl Cunningham from England and PJ Holden from Northern Ireland. 

“We always seek to combine art and societal impact in our projects. As such, a comic book about social innovations perfectly reflects the institute’s approach,” says Jaakko Nousiainen, interim director of the Institute.  

The format of the book is an anthology and each artist tackles a different theme in their work. Darryl Cunningham’s contribution investigates universal basic income, PJ Holden, in turn, sheds light on inventions that put technology to work for the cause of equality and Maria Björklund explores innovations based on human interaction. 

“We were delighted to participate in this project and support the Institute’s innovative use of comics to inspire people. Comics are accessible, inclusive and relevant and we believe this anthology will reach and engage the widest possible range of people,” says Lakes International Comic Arts Festival director Julie Tait.  

Over the coming spring, the institute (previously known as Finnish Institute in London) will organise a series of online events that deal with themes and innovations presented in the book.

The launch event of the book, hosted on Zoom, will take place on Wednesday 3rd February 2021 from 7.00 to 8.00pm (Finnish time) / 5.00 to 6.00pm UK time. For the launch, they’ve invited the artists behind the book to discuss the topic “Turning Social Innovations into a Comic Book” with Andrew Miles, professor of Sociology at the University of Manchester.

• Register for “Turning Social Innovations into a Comic Book” on Wednesday 3rd February 2021 here

• Download your free copy of the book in English | Finnish | Swedish 

• The Finnish Institute in the UK and Ireland

• Lakes International Comic Art Festival 2021: 15th – 17th October 2021: