Get involved case study: International Day of the Girl on the Åland Islands

As part of our Nordic Matters programme, we are developing and strengthening international links with schools in the Nordic Regions.

On The Åland Islands in Finland, students at a senior high school have been creating on art inspired by Southbank Centre's celebrations for International Day of the Girl.

Working with art teacher Tanja Reuter-Linden, students at Ålands Lyceum in Mariehamn, capital of The Åland Islands, have been exploring themes of female empowerment through experiementation with a number of artistic techniques and mediums.

Before doing this project I knew about feminism and that we should stand for it. But I didn’t know that you could fight for it every day.
Elisa Villa, Student

About the project

The project ran in art classes at Ålands Lyceum from August 18 to September 27 2017.

Across the term, students were introduced to themes of female empowerment through different artistic mediums including T-shirt printing and scuplture.

The idea for the ceramic sculptures came from a Russian sculpture of Maria Alexandrovna in Mariehamn. The wife of the Russian Emperor, Alexandrovna gave the city its name. 

Inspired by the sculpture and the new skills they had learned on the course, the students were encouraged to create sculptures to "help" Maria Alexandrovna to break free from the Victorian rules.

The students then created slogans and designs which they printed onto T-shirts which will be displayed around the school with the sculptures on International Day of the Girl 2017. 

I wanted to encourage the students to experience the influence on the community around them and prove that visual impact is powerful.
Tanja Reuter-Linden, Art Teacher, Ålands Lyceum

What did the students take from the project?

"I really got this girl power when we made these t-shirts. I've learned how unfairly treated girls are and I think that this course is very important to everybody to see how it really is to be a girl." Emmely Kalvik

“It has been a good course where the students has been forced to reflect on how girls are represented in the modern society. And it got more multidimensional as we were working with a physical object to represent a such important subject and on the same time talking about it.” Lovisa Mattsson

“When I worked on the t-shirt I started to think a lot about the injustices between women and men.  Women are half the world's population and they should be treated the same way and have the same conditions as men. We need to look at women and men as one unit, not as two. We are stronger united than divided.” Matilda Nylund

“As an exchange student from Spain, I've enjoyed this course from the beginning until the end. But what I enjoyed the most was doing this T-shirt for 'Girls Day', empowering every single woman to speak up and be brave, powerful and free. My thoughts while making this T-shirt were having the power to transmit a message which could change people's point of view, but mostly speaking up for every woman that can't speak anymore.” Toni Todorova Mandurova


Southbank Centre's Nordic schools strand will be continuing in the next term linking up to a London school to explore the themes of sustainability.

More about our work with Schools and Communities