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Co-operation in the cultural sector and sustainability

What role does culture play in the climate crisis? How can Nordic co-operation in the cultural sector contribute to sustainable development? These are just a couple of the questions that were raised at the annual meeting of Nordic Culture Point’s stakeholder groups, which this year was hosted in Suomenlinna on 24 and 25 September. The two days of meetings saw the sharing of information and experience between the secretariat, other Nordic institutions for culture, and the various expert groups for the funding programmes. The event culminated in a workshop on sustainable development.

In a world where the extent and impact of climate change on nature and humanity is difficult to take in, the role of artists and art itself was found to be more important than ever.

The workshop leaders Aura Seikkula and Krista Petäjäjärvi from the Arts Promotion Centre Finland noted how our awakening to climate change and the unsustainable consumption patterns of the western world are also giving rise to changes in how we talk about art.

“Value creation in art is changing. Artists must lead the discussion to where the public’s interests are. The role of art in decision-making and education is also seeing a paradigm shift in which artists increasingly have a dialogic role,” said Petäjäjärvi.

Through art and culture, people can be readied for taking in and processing these revolutionary processes, which is a prerequisite for being able to change their own behaviours. The workshop participants also stated that the role of artists must continue to be free and uncontrolled to ensure that art is not overinstrumentalised, not even for the purpose of improving the world.

Some specific measures were discussed, including more efficient and low-emissions travel, the potential for P2P mentoring, and regular follow-ups and reporting that can set examples in the cultural sector.

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Nordic Match: Models for an inclusive cultural sector in diverse societies

Between 7 and 10 October, Helsinki will host creative professionals from across the Nordic Region in attempt to solve a common challenge: developing models for an open and accessible cultural sector in which young people can participate, get involved, and have an influence. The Finnish National Theatre’s youth theatre, Kantti, will serve as the Nordic Match network’s local partner and case study.

Nordic Match is a creative network and pop-up think tank that has been initiated and funded by Nordic Culture Point, and which is developed in co-operation with the creative agency Måndag. Six professional Nordic creatives each representing a creative direction have been selected in an open call for applications.

The group will gather in Helsinki to put their heads together in an attempt to solve a pressing social issue, defined by the Finnish National Theatre. As the local partner for this autumn’s Nordic Match week, for three days the National Theatre will be able benefit from the group’s Nordic experiences in its efforts to encourage young people to voluntarily get involved in theatre production and visit the National Theatre. The results will be presented at a public networking event on 10 October.

The participants in the October round of Nordic Match are

  • Bára Örk Melsted (Iceland) – visual artist, writer, and social activist within the performing arts
  • Leanna Lunde (Norway) – social artist with a background in theatre and film production
  • Lina Linde (Sweden) – transmedia producer and artist in the film industry
  • Linh Duong (Finland) – master’s student in strategic design with a focus on social sustainability
  • Margaux Gillet (Denmark) – experienced project manager in the creative industries and education
  • Mete Sasioglu (Finland) – film producer with a focus on the inclusion of newly-arrived immigrants

Don’t miss out on this:

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Eight projects were awarded a Volt-grant in 2019

The application round for 2019 for the Volt language and culture programme for young people has now concluded. A total of EUR 287,027 has been awarded, with grants for individual projects ranging from EUR 10,000 up to EUR 70,000. A total of 27 applications were considered in this round, with eight of these being granted funding. Here are three examples of projects that the expert group thought worth highlighting:

Kolme! (Three!) is a project aimed at building a strong co-operative network between young people who identify with the Baltic-Finnic minority languages and cultures in Norway, Finland, and Sweden. The project’s activities will be based on creative content through various art forms at three locations. The material created will be presented at exhibitions and in a short docu-film that will be made available for release in other countries. The content has been created by local youth organisations with the aim of strengthening the participants’ identity and sense of belonging through increased knowledge of their own culture, language, and history. The languages included in the project are Kven, Meänkieli, and Karelian.

The project Ångestakademien has also been granted funding for three camps for young people and young adults to be held in Finland, Sweden, and the Faroe Islands. The focus will be on how fiction, culture, and creativity can help to prevent mental illness. The project will include the media of animation, film, and image. In addition, there will be time for discussion groups on culture, fiction, and opportunities to improve the health of young people. In addition to the spoken word, the project utilises the communication opportunities offered by way of body language and emotional language. The project is implemented based on the needs and wishes of young people with the support of reference groups consisting of professional experts in the cultural, social, and technical sectors.

Trillebørstur i Nord is a project for those aged between three and eight, consisting of performances and workshops where children can travel around the Nordic Region in a wheelbarrow loaded with stories. In this way they learn about the Nordic languages, cultures, and histories. After the performance, the children reflect on what they’ve seen and make pictures and figures based on what they’ve experienced. The project builds on the earlier experience of the projects Nordisk – Nøj, det’ for børn! and Kom med! Det gror i Nord, and will be enjoyed by children in five Nordic countries and areas.

For the last three years, the Volt programme has facilitated creative content that arouses interest in the art, culture, and languages of other Nordic countries and areas. Projects that have been granted funding can be found under “Search grants” on the results page of Nordic Culture Point’s website.  Information about upcoming application rounds will be published on our website in early 2020.

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Sustainability an important issue at Residency Circle meeting in Riga

What is the role of residencies within the local and global ecology of arts? This was the main topic for the biannual Residency Circle meeting that was held in Riga 29-30 August. The meeting was arranged as a part of the Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme for Culture.

Ecology of the residencies was the topic for the first panel. Art Lab Gnesta from Sweden and the Finnish residency centers Mustarinda and HIAP shared their experiences on working ecologically in their residencies. The participants discussed the role of the residency centers in today’s sustainability challenges and pointed out that also political measures are required to solve these issues and that art has a value in itself.

The topics for the second day of the meeting ranged over how the local communities benefit from residencies and who actually benefits from the residency – the organisation or the artist? The participants of the two panels represented various residency projects within different genres and had a lot in common working with these questions. Some residency centers highlighted the importance of guaranteeing a chance for the artists to work without disturbance whereas others expect stronger presence of their residency artists within the local community.

The purpose of the Residency Circle meeting is to create and support networks between the Nordic and Baltic residencies. The Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme for Culture promotes cooperation in the Nordic region and the Baltic countries and focuses on increasing the exchange of knowledge, contacts and interest in Nordic and Baltic art and culture.

Funding for artist residencies can be applied for once a year.

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