what we write when we write about design

what we write when we write about design/art/architecture is a mentoring program for visual arts journalists, writers and critics in Finland and the United States. The pilot program, organized by the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York and funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation, focuses on design criticism. We're now taking applications for Finland-based participants.

The program, running from May to September 2018, includes two week-long professional development intensives. The first will take place in New York in May in conjunction with the NYCxDESIGN, followed by the second one during the Helsinki Design Week in September. The aim is to develop and share the participants’ expertice in writing, cultivating a critical voice, addressing current and future notions of design and understanding the role of design in society and urban environment – namely the cities of New York and Helsinki.  The mentors in the program will be a group of select professionals from Finland and the United States. Learning from participating peers plays a key role in the program. Between the two intensives, the selected participants will work independently and online. Participating in the program is possible for both freelancers and writers in full-time positions.

Three professional writers from each country will be selected to participate in the program. The limited size of the group enables customizing the program according to its participants’ professional orientation. Each participant plays a significant role in building the contents and outcomes of the program. Applicants are expected to be actively publishing critics or journalists, either freelancers or employed full-time. Prerequisite for being selected in the program is that one will publish texts produced during the program in relevant media.


Apply now!

New York-based critics and writers will be selected by invitation only.

Open call for the Finland-based writers runs from February 6 to 25, 2018.

Send your application to Please include a resume, a motivation letter outlining your objectives for participating in the Mentoring Program (all in English), and include examples of earlier writing (3-10 texts, in English or Finnish).

All the applicants will be informed about the selection before the end of March.

There is no participation fee. Travel and accommodation costs will be covered for all the participants of the program. Additionally, the Finnish Cultural Foundation provides a stipend for the Finnish participants.



what we write when we write about design
May 5 to September 30, 2018

Application period for Finland-based applicants: February 6-25, 2018

Selection of the participants: by March 30, 2018

May 14-20, 2018 Intensive in New York*

Independent and online work during Summer months  

September 10-16, 2018 Intensive in Helsinki*

Feedback sessions and wrap-up after the second intensive

* The dates of the professional development intensives are subject to change.

Further information: