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Archinfo’s trainee programme at the Biennale Architettura in Venice is launched again

People queuing in front of a small wooden blue building. Letters forming the word Finlandia hanging outside.

Miina Jutila

The Pavilion of Finland’s trainee programme, interrupted by the pandemic, will again be organised in the 2023 architecture biennale. Application for the internship, organised together with universities, is open until 12 December.

A total of nine architecture, landscape architecture or interior architecture students will be selected for the Pavilion of Finland’s trainee programme. The trainees from the three Finnish universities offering architecture education will spend approximately two months in Venice, where they will be responsible for maintaining and supervising the Finnish Pavilion exhibition. The trainee programme is carried out in cooperation with Aalto University, University of Tampere and University of Oulu.

"The Venice architecture biennale is a great opportunity to do an international trainee programme as part of your studies," says Professor Panu Lehtovuori, who is responsible for the traineeship at the University of Tampere.

"We can guide students to make observations and learn from whatever the time in Venice brings. The trainee programme, organised in cooperation with Archinfo, will give the students valuable experience to discuss architecture as a cultural and social phenomenon, in different languages and in different contexts."

At Aalto University and the University of Oulu, Professor Jenni Reuter and Professor Janne Pihlajaniemi are responsible for the trainee programme. The ways of integrating the traineeship into the studies will be arranged individually. The traineeship is equivalent to five credits and is best suited to Master's students.

Interaction and communication

Archinfo will take care of all practical arrangements for the traineeship, including accommodation in Venice, comprehensive guidance and on-site supervision. The traineeship programme was first implemented at the 2018 architecture biennale and has been further developed based on the feedback and positive outcome.

In addition to the practical tasks of looking after the pavilion and supervising the exhibition, the trainees act as guides for the exhibition. The traineeship also includes communications tasks. In the previous edition, Archinfo gave the trainees a task to produce Instagram content under the theme "Detail of the Day". A sympathetic and eagerly followed series of almost 200 posts was created from a variety of images and thoughts related to the exhibition, the Finnish Pavilion and life in Venice. The trainees also wrote articles on the events surrounding the Biennale.

For the 2021 Biennale, after many developments, the traineeship programme had to be called off due to the pandemic. The trainees had already been selected the previous year, as the 17th International Architecture Exhibition was originally scheduled to open in May 2020 but first it got postponed by three months and finally by a full year. Due to risks and difficulties that the pandemic would have exposed the trainees to, a local company was commissioned to take care of the exhibition supervision and guided tours instead.

"It was unfortunate that our trainees, who were ready and eager to get to Venice, had to change their plans a couple of times and were ultimately disappointed when the traineeship programme could not be organised," says Sini Parikka, producer at Archinfo and project manager for the Biennale project.

"Everything went well with the local professional guides, but we are happy that at the next Biennale we will again be able to offer this unique experience to Finnish students and, at the same time, build up future architectural exhibition skills in Finland. The applications in both the previous editions were tremendously good, and our hopes are as high for this year's application round."

Ambassadors of Finland

The traineeship offers the students an opportunity to be part of the world's largest and most prestigious architecture event. The trainees will get to see the inside of exhibition and event productions and, working in an international context, they learn interaction skills and build their networks. And living in Venice is an experience in itself!

Dedicated guides with first-hand knowledge of Finland provide priceless added value for the exhibition visitors as they can discuss anything related to Finland. In 2018, the trainees reported having discussed with visitors a variety of topics such as the Nordic welfare state, Finnish library institution and, surprisingly, peat. In fact, in the pavilion owned by Finland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the trainees act as true ambassadors for Finland.

Link to the traineeship application guidelines