New Media and immersive art in Cultural festivals and Theatres

This project aims at furthering skills in innovative management by introducing digital immersive platforms, agile innovation solutions, audience engagement projects and educational open learning contexts related to theatres, cultural festivals and event organizers in St. Petersburg, Kouvola, Kotka and Mikkeli regions.

New media, gamification, augmented reality and immersive art in the intersection of multidisciplinary co-design processes are what we thrive in. We further the attractiveness of regions across the Finnish-Russian border through developing cross-artistic, multi-disciplinary concepts within festival and fashion design industries by using service design tools, gamification and inviting artists and designers as part of our creative teams.

Teaser (2:50min) for an immersive interactive game wall for youngsters.
YLE interview about Synesthesia – a competition to visualize music.
Homepages for the competition.
More examples and info in the case studies section.

cultural events and their impact in the region

Cultural events have a great potential to be sources of sustainable development from the perspective of tourism related industries. Cultural events advance visits in the hotels, restaurants, nature destinations and other leisure attractions in the region. The significant increase in the number of festivals in St. Petersburg region in the recent years indicates the keen interest to event industry as one of the main boosters of cultural tourism as well.

We focus on:

  • How to attract new audiences?
  • How to implement new media, gamified and immersive contents in the event?
  • How to make a successful event by innovative tools?
  • How to increase visibility and recognition of the cultural events?
  • How to enhance cross-border co-operation between Finland and Russia?

Case-studies, co-operation, work placements, internships

Do you recognize the challenges listed above?
Would you like to develop the contents of your events?
Do you have specific developmental challenges that could be tackled with an international co-design team of experts and students?
Could your festival, cultural house or organization be a case study?

Our partners in Finland already include Mikkeli Music Festival, Kotka Maritime Festival, Kouvola Theatre, Mikkeli Theatre and Poikilo Museums.  We also co-operate with 25 festivals and theatres in the Saint Petersburg region, such as the Admiralty Needle. Our stakeholders include small-and medium sized businesses, association and other actors in the creative field.

Congress and Concert Hall Mikaeli at St. Michel, Photo credit Pihla Liukkonen, Mikkeli Music Festival.

Can your cultural house or organization offer internships and work placements to enthusiastic and diligently working students from the following fields:

  • fashion and costume design
  • cultural productions and management
  • hospitality management
  • game design
  • service design
  • international business
  • networks development
  • marketing
  • cross-border co-operation between Finland and Russia

If you answered YES to any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact the Project Manager, Ms. Heini Haapaniemi.

Summer Schools and Hackathons in Kouvola, Mikkeli and St. Petersburg

We organize hackathons in Kouvola, Mikkeli and Saint Petersburg in order to create new concepts and development ideas for the participating festivals, cultural houses and organizations. The C3E Hackathons are design sprint-like events in which experts, lecturer and students of two Russian universities and one Finnish university of applied sciences come together to use the service design methods to tackle the case study challenges. In the hackathons we use the service design methods and bring in the concept of gamification in order to meet the tastes of the new audiences.

We organize the hackathons in the form of competitions: the best suggestions will be rewarded and turned into functioning products and processes by the commissioning partners.

Cross-sectoral and multi-disciplinary learning contexts

The co-operation between educational institutions, research, SMEs, businesses and the third sector benefit much from working closer together. We aim at creating synergic relations and flexible, real-life contexts to learning.


Ms. Heini Haapaniemi
Project Manager
Contents for Cross-Cultural Events C3E
South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences – Xamk
+358 447028355

Contents for Cross-Cultural Events C3E was nominated as the Communications Ambassador

Support to education, research, technological development and innovation
Priority 2: Innovative, skilled and well-educated area, CBC 2014-20220 SEFR CBC.
The category is worth 9M€ in the project portfolio.


C3E is working on the following development cases in 2021. The cases are based on an extensive research and mapping of the needs of theatres, festivals and the creative industry in the target region. Co-design is done in multidisciplinary teams with experts and students from The St. Petersburg State University of Technology and Design, SPbSUITD and South-Eastern Finland university of Applied Sciences, XAMK including representatives from stakeholder groups and commissioners.

Beside the case studies a further education series The Future of Festivals is organized by ICP in collaboration with Xamk and SPbSUITD.

Note: The webpage is currently under construction – we apologize for all inconveniences.

Interactive immersive game wall for youngsters, Kouvola

This is a co-design process commissioned by the Kouvola Theatre. Collaborators include OiOi, Art Testers, Taike Regional Game Artist Jaakko Kemppainen and Eskonlanmäki comprehensive school students specializing in hitech and drama. The theme of the game wall is derived from a farce comedy ”The Comedy of a Bank Robbery” in the Kouvola theatre 60th anniversary repertoire. Farce comedy stems from Italian street theatre, therefore also the characters and the entire aesthetics of the game wall experience is inspired by Commedia del’Arte (in addition to the 80s). An Article about the co-design process.

The characterization process has been mentored by graphic designer, game designer Panu Vuoristo, fashion designer Esko Ahola, lecturer and dramapedagogue Heini Haapaniemi and Ivan Smirnov from the Smirnov School of Arts, Moscow.

The game wall experience is unique because it is an immersive 3D space with soundscape and a multiplayer aspect. Scoring high requires relying on the other group members and moving on swiftly from task to task in a fast-spaces environment. Design drivers agreed on a longer service design process guide the multidisciplinary design team.

Teaser (2:50 min) 

Please turn on the English subtitles from the bottom right corner.

The Commedia del’Arte masks works shop was organized with Iiris Autio and Matti Halén, Paraabeli Collective and narrative workshops facilitated by Haapaniemi and Vuoristo to study the motivations, relationships and personalities of the characters in more detail.

End user testing was done in collaboration with the Eskolanmäki comprehensive school along the process and pedagogical material provided to all 8th and 9th graders in the wider Kouvola region.
Game Proposal and the entire process of coding and troubleshooting was done in the leadership of game designers and coders Panu Vuoristo, Giorgos Riskas, Pekka Vilpponen, not to mention tens of students who earn ECTS study points and valuable insight into the design process.


Synesthesia – visualizing music, Mikkeli

Please visit the competition homepages

Game art exhibition, cosplay events and game inspired concerts, Mikkeli

Mobile accommodation, Kotka, St. Petersburg

SPbSUITD Master Class Artchitects’ design proposals

Daria Ponomareva

Mikhail Tokarev

Sofia Shamanova

Alexandra Baurova

Laawu Mobile Accommodation case study with Xamk student Juho Repo. This case study collaboration was done with marketing management and tourism students and end udes insight was collected from the prototype testing done at Hamina Camping, summer 2020. Instagram posts at @laawuofficial
An article at Kouvolan Sanomat and Kymen Sanomat
Another article at Kymen Inno

A Digital map of the old town attractions with gamified contents, Vyborg

The Admiralty Needle digital new media content, St. Petersburg and site events for youngsters

Future of Festivals –further education series for professionals

Shared study modules in fashion design, game design, service design, international marketing, events organization, new media and digital portfolios by Xamk and SPbSUITD

Tourism Loves New innovation competition

Research and publications

We develop:

  • business and entrepreneurial skills
  • business models
  • in-depth knowledge about management
  • marketing & brand development
  • key stakeholder relations across the Finnish-Russian border
  • leadership in creative industries
  • new event concepts including gamified and immersive aspects
  • brand development


  • operating cultures
  • audience development
  • audience likings
  • showcasing cultural contents from both sides of the Finland – Russia border
  • solving practical problems
  • furthering people-to-people contacts

We renew education by:

  • building flexible curricula
  • building support networks
  • Increasing the in depth knowledge about management
  • sharing the best practices
  • producing flexible platforms and models for learning for the target groups
  • The project furthers learning-by-doing approaches and
  • peer learning
  • coaching and mentoring activities
  • mentor-apprentice relationships

Photo by Daria Enukhova

Culture and Art related travel packages aimed at international customers

The culture and art related travel packages we create are primarily aimed at international travelers and groups on both sides of the border. The international tourists might seek to see a variety of culture in scarcely populated Finland: nature, cultural events and festivals or local design & fashion venues, gastronomy and get inspired by the woods of Finland compared to the sizzling Metropolitan cultures and attractions of St. Petersburg. We co-operate closely with such umbrella organizations as VitiSaimaa, VisitMikkeli, Kouvola Innovations – Kinno.


This C3E project creates travelling packages and studies the possibilities of cultural events & tourism from the perspective of international tourists. The Market Study in 2019 focuses on the customer point of view and the economic impact of the cultural festivals in the selected regions. The purpose of the market studies arranged in Kouvola, Kotka, Mikkeli and St. Petersburg is to provide insight into the current situation, challenges and future prospects for the most important festivals, cultural events, cultural institutions (such as theatres and orchestras) and municipal cultural administration. In other words, we focus the market analyses on actors that are either already doing cross-border co-operation or have a clear connection potential across the border.

The potential partners: 

  • are willing to entice new audiences
  • have a potential for growth
  • are in a renewal phase
  • look for new partners
  • can be connected to the study lines offered in our educational institutions
  • are in need of consultation and new concepts for their marketing management, general management, networks and audience development
  • are willing to negotiate about their cultural contents in the form of inviting and show casing new talent in the form of dress design, service design, visual design and graphic design

In relation to the cross border cultural contents, we focus on the following points:


  1. What role do the cross-cultural contents play in the existing festivals/cultural events in the cross-border region?
  2. What possibilities are there for adding cross-cultural contents into existing events? What would be the added value received and perceived by them?
  3. What kind of competences are needed for creating and managing events involving cross-cultural contents?
  4. Which partners are needed for developing competences for festival design and event management involving cross-cultural contents?
  5. How will city dwellers and tourists get interested in new concepts and pilots of cross-cultural events?
  6. What are the specific needs oar challenges concerning cross-border co-operation?
  7. How would the cultural organization benefit from working closely with the C3E project partners: The Institute of Cultural Programmes, the South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences Xamk or the Russian Universities Stieglitz Academy of Fine Arts and SPbSUITD (which studylines, please specify).


The C3E Project in a nutshell

This project is part of the CBC 2014-2020 Southeast Finland – Russia programme funded by the European Union, The Russian Federation and the Republic of Finland. The overall CBC 2014-2020 umbrella programme aims at creating attractive regions for people and businesses. This particular Project falls under the Priority 2 aiming at an innovative, skilled and well-educated area. The thematic objective is to support education, research, technological development and innovation.

Budget: 751 500 €
Time span: 36 months 12/2018 – 11/2021
A Call for co-operation in Mikkeli, Kotka, Kouvola and Saint Petersburg regions
We are currently looking for local partners and stakeholders in Finland and in Russia to start our piloting and case study planning. If your organization is a representative of cultural institutions, festivals, tourism sector, NGO (non-governmental organization) or an SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) related to the fields, please do not hesitate to send further inquiries to:

Ms. Heini Haapaniemi
Project Manager
Contents for Cross-Cultural Events C3E
South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences – Xamk
+358 447028355

The C3E project is funded by the European Union, The Russian Federation and the Republic of Finland.


Hackathon for Creative Businesses, Kouvola

Students of Design, Business, Hospitality Management or Culture:

Earn 5 credits doing multidisciplinary creative prototyping with fashion design, gamification and service design experts with students from
the St. Petersburg State University of Technology and Design.

1. Immersive gamified contents for the Mikkeli Music Festival with OiOi
2. Movable container accommodation for the Kotka Maritime Festival
3. Character conceptualisations with Kouvola Theatre

Using your artistic taste and ideas with the latest technology!

Register at Peppi


Past Events


Cultural Projects & Innovations. Best International Practices Conference, St. Petersburg



Morning Coffee with Mikkeli Music Festival Stakeholders



Design Competition with the Housing Fare, Kouvola, Finland


Day of Finland Festival 2019

Synesthesia 2020

The Admiralty Needle Fashion Contest




Hackathon for Creative Businesses, Kouvola



Hackathon for Creative Businesses, St. Petersburg


Contents for Cross-Cultural Events - C3E

01.12.2018 – 30.11.2021


Hallinnoija: South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences

Osatoteuttajat: Institute for Cultural Programs St. Petersburg, Stieglitz St. Petersburg State Academy of Art and Industry, Saint-Petersburg State University of Industrial Technologies and Design

Tutkimuskeskus: Luovat alat


Kokonaisbudjetti: 751500 €

Xamkin osuus kokonaisbudjetista: 80100 €

Rahoittaja ja päärahoituslähde: ENI CBC 2014-2020