An international group working on an ageless story of immigration chosen for Our Festival’s and Globe Art Point’s joint residency


Josephine Burton and Marouf Majidi were honing the shared concept together in a residency in Cove Park, Scotland, in February 2020. Image: Ammar Haj Ahmed

A six-member multiartistic group has been chosen to work at Our Festival’s and Globe Art Point’s joint G.A.P LAB residency in July at Our Festival in Järvenpää. The group was due to join the Festival as artists in residence in 2020, but the plans had to be postponed due to the pandemic situation. The 25th edition of Our Festival is to be held at the end of July 2021 with diligent health and safety precautions.

The group chosen for the residency has members from both Finland and the UK: composer Marouf Majidi (FIN), assistant composer and co-arranger Gaia Schiller (FIN), actor-musician Tuukka Leppänen (FIN), writer Hattie Naylor (UK) and actor-musician Laura Hanna (UK). The work will be directed by Josephine Burton (UK). ”We cannot wait to spend the week at Our Festival developing the production and sharing it with you”, says Burton.

The autumn 2019 open call to the G.A.P LAB residency at Our Festival received 44 applications from individual artists and groups alike. As a condition for G.A.P LAB the final group had to consist of Finnish-born and foreign-background, Finland-based members. The chosen group had been assembled especially for the call and had additional international artists from the UK. The jury consisted of Our Festival’s artistic director Kamus string quartet and Globe Art Point’s Chair of the Board Ceyda Berk-Söderblom.

Globe Art Point is an NGO working to improve the position and equality of employment opportunities for foreign-born artists and cultural workers in Finland. Our Festival’s and Globe Art Point’s objectives for a diverse cultural sector and equality in the arts and culture fields in Finland come together in the G.A.P LAB project. ”G.A.P LAB is an excellent framework to promote diversity and inclusion in the Finnish art scene”, Berk-Söderblom says. ”By facilitating collaboration with established Finnish institutions, Globe Art Point aims to support foreign-born art makers’ work in Finland and cultivate encounters between artists with culturally diverse backgrounds. Our cooperation with Our Festival will showcase the true potential of such artistic meetings”, Berk-Söderblom continues. G.A.P LAB is supported by Finnish Cultural Foundation SKR.

A rendition of an ageless story from the dawn of Europe’s history

The chosen group has been inspired by the epic poem Aeneid, written by the Roman poet Virgil in around 20BC. The ageless topic of the poem is viewed through the lens of modern day migration. “Our show, a journey to the heart of Europe, will reimagine Aeneas who flees from Troy, an Eastern war-torn city, and makes his way across the Mediterranean to sanctuary, challenging assimilation and settlement in Italy, as a modern day artist”, the director Josephine Burton shares about the group’s concept. 

The work examines today’s European identity and takes on questions such as the future of free movement and the importance of cultural understanding. The residency at Our Festival is only one part of the life cycle of this work, working title Dido’s Bar, as the British Dash Arts organization is to take the work on tour in Europe in 2022 as part of their wider series of events called EUTOPIA, where different aspects of Europe are being explored via art in the aftermath of Brexit. Burton is also the artistic director of Dash Arts.

Planning among a global pandemic

Together, Marouf and I carefully curated a small creative team made up of Finnish and non-Finnish artists from across Europe to develop the show. And then the Pandemic hit. A year later than planned, we are thrilled to be able to join you. And thankfully the year delay has given us the opportunity to finesse the vision for the show”, Burton continues. The Dido’s Bar concept will be honed during the Festival week and shared with audiences at Our Festival 2021. If the pandemic situation allows, the group will also hold rehearsals open to the public during the residency.

Our Festival will take place by Lake Tuusula, Finland, 25.–31.7.2021 for its 25th edition. Celebrating its first quarter of a centennial, the whole program of Our Festival will be published later in spring 2021. The festival is programmed by the artistic director of Our Festival, Kamus string quartet.

The Festival is being planned under the hard-to-predict causations of the global COVID-19 pandemic. ”We’re aware of a certain uncertainty when it comes to bringing in international artists this summer, and dealing with it with determination and realism”, says the executive director of Our Festival Petra Piiroinen. ”The situation is constantly shifting, and we’re keeping our hopes high that summertime will be on our side and we’ll have an opportunity to bring live art safely to our audiences again, just like we did last summer.”

Further information:

Petra Piiroinen, executive director
Our Festival
tel. 041 548 7098
[email protected]

Jaana Simula, Managing Director
Globe Art Point
tel. +358 40 545 5859
[email protected]



Our Festival is an annual chamber arts event by Lake Tuusula, Finland. The event brings together music from all eras and genres, offers stage for bold cross-over projects, brings art to discussions of current societal issues and disrupts traditional concert conventions. The Festival was awarded the accolade of Festival of the Year in 2011 by Finland Festivals and received Finland’s State Prize for Music in 2013. One of the most prominent Finnish string ensembles, Kamus String Quartet, took over the artistic leadership of Our Festival in 2019 after over 20 years of nourishing leadership tenure of the world-renowned violinist Pekka Kuusisto. The event is organized by non-profit association Järvenpää Sibelius Society.



Established in 2016, Globe Art Point (G.A.P) is an umbrella organization with a mission to enhance diversity in the Finnish art and culture scene by supporting the working circumstances, visibility and cultural-political status of the foreign-born Finnish artists and art workers resident in Finland. In GAP LAB the selected working groups and projects consist of foreign-born Finnish artists/art workers living in Finland and Finnish born artists/art workers collaborating and creating together.