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High level of quality among applications to Volt

“The high level of quality in this round was a positive surprise. The competition was particularly tough among projects in the folk dance, folk music and film genres, which were well represented in this round,” says Lukas Peurala, chair of the expert group for Volt.

A total of 17 applications applied for a total of EUR 680,825 in this round. Seven projects went on to be granted funding, each receiving between EUR 7,000 and EUR 70,000. 

Support during the process is key

According to Lukas, the strength of Volt as a programme is that the project will and must focus on the participation of children and young people in the process. “Equally important is that there are supportive adults who can assist with the project applications and the project idea,” continues Lukas, who is himself a circus performer and a circus educator. He hopes to see even more applications in the future and encourages adults who work with children and young people be on-hand during the process.

“Young people who receive good funding in their first project experience are also better equipped to write their own applications and take their creative projects further,” notes Lukas.

Among the projects granted funding are:

  • “Our Kitchen Tales”, a children and artist-led project exploring the interplay between food, culture and language.
  • “Ljóð fyrir loftslagið – Lyrik till klimatet – Lýrikkur til ve∂urlagi∂ – Odes for the Climate” gives children and young people the opportunity to express their feelings and thoughts about sustainability through poetry and songs, an experience that also creates a language community across borders.
  • “The Northern Script” is a programme that helps young professional screenwriters to develop their writing skills in both their Nordic mother tongue and in English. 

Volt has one application round per year and the next time it opens for new applications is in the spring of 2024.

You can see all the projects granted funding in the 2023 round here

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Networking between Nordic and Baltic

While Estonia is considered to be one of the three Baltic countries, it was our former president Toomas-Hendrik Ilves who said out loud for the first time that we have more of a face of the Nordic region. And while many were offended because of that back then – should we abandon our shared fate and history with Latvia and Lithuania now? –, for today it is clear that those boundaries are blurred more and more. One way or another, to talk about the Nordic-Baltic region as a whole seems quite natural.

The Nordic-Baltic Network Meeting this time took place in Estonia.The meeting was arranged as a part of the Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme for Culture and the aim of the meeting was to bring together granted long-term networks in order to share experiences and knowledge and to develop best practices together. This year’s topics were sustainability and regional dynamics, Nordic-Baltic, urban-rural.

To apply for funding, all countries within the Nordic-Baltic region can apply with any combination of three participating countries. Then the evaluation phase begins – the main criteria is equal partnership, genuine collaboration within the project, no matter which countries they represent. Moderator Daniel Urey introduces the aim of the day: „ We have seen many good networks, but we do not often see a Baltic country as a leading partner in a Nordic-Baltic network. Why is this important? Because we also want Baltic countries to visualize common futures for whole region.”

Networks par excellence

At first, twelve representatives from granted projects that have recently been funded introduce themselves and become the examples of the relevant networks. Amongst them are networks related to the fields of circus, film, visual arts, dance, museums, architecture, music, theatre, textile, higher education and research. All of them involve Nordic or Baltic countries, equally and practically. 

Ambitions of those networks overlay largely: to extend the circle of collaborators and contacts, build a strong community and provide opportunities for the field, innovate the quality and competencies of it, deepen the knowledge of partnering countries, share and develop new perspectives, promote research work, create dialogues and address complex issues, increase both national and international engagement, help new artists and emerging talents to get funding and experience, inspire younger generation, but also to give more opportunities to female authors. Many of the networks outlined how they strive for relationships that actually last in the future, not only during the funding period.

Beautiful ideas need practical steps. Activities of the networks are, once again, quite similar: summer camps and -schools, mentoring programs and sessions, kick-off and wrap-up days, masterclasses and workshops, online discussions and digital assemblies, meetings and seminars, residencies and mobility stipendiums, catalogues and exhibitions, events and festivals, research tripping and job shadowing. During the isolation years the networkers, like all of us, have found new ways to use all the online-tools for meeting and brainstorming, but for now many of them admit that seeing each other face-to-face and being in real physical contact is so much more refreshing!

Sustainable networks

Physical contacts include travelling that is also a necessary activity for the networks, but at the same time maybe not so necessary for the environment – a paradox that became clear during the discussion round later on. One of the keywords of the meeting was sustainability in the cultural sector and some of the networks pointed out how they have kept their eyes on that. For example: sets standards for making productions and theatre buildings sustainable, green museum certificate follows the model for sustainable exhibition. Exploring the nexus between urban culture, urban form and urban leadership was also mentioned and this leads us to another keyword of the day, or I would say to the next big question in the agenda: is non-urban culture life possible at all?

Miina Kaartinen from Mustarinda Association, Finland is invited as a guest speaker to talk about artistic sustainability in a place that is pretty much cut out of everything. The place for Mustarinda was chosen using Google Maps, to find an area where there would still be enough primeval or old-growth forest left. It is located in an old school building from the 50’s and maintaining it is part of cultural sustainability. Its energy system is based on wind power and solar panels, compost and geothermal heating; its own garden and extensive library are also part of the concept. „Usually people think that progress is good and everything new is better than old, but in ecological perspective we have to think about it as a cycle and see what we can learn from older generations,“ Kaartinen explains.

Mustarinda’s goal is to promote the ecological rebuilding of society, the diversity of culture and nature, and the connection between art and science. Residency is a key way of working for them and it is meant not only for artists, but people from different fields which they believe is needed for sustainable living. „We all live in a society that needs to be changed, both from the technological and cultural side. Arts and culture are in the center of ecological transformation. Art is a sphere of human life where we can go to unknown places.“ Mustarinda was founded in 2010 when no one was speaking about sustainability in art education and back then it sounded weird. It has changed a lot since then, which is good but still not enough, as Kaartinen reflects. When it comes to travelling, Kaartinen always makes plans and tries to connect her trips to other things.

Marketing the networks

During the day all the participants were welcomed to discuss. „Seeing the networks actually functioning is great after you have felt quite lonely with your mission and asked yourself why are you doing this at all,“ shared one of the participants. „We still see ourselves as smaller partners, we still need to position ourselves as equals,“ admits the other.  Many subquestions arise. How to „sell“ your idea and why should someone „buy“ it? Why is it easier to export the Nordic-Baltic „brands“ to other countries out of the region rather than inside of it? How much reason do we have to move back and forth between two countries? If people are not interacting, then who is interacting?

What I – as a current journalist and former marketer – noticed is that only few of the participants mentioned broader audiences as a keyword in their network presentations. So, my own question would be – what actually happens after the Baltic networkers have sold their ideas to Nordic ones and vice versa? As the organizers say, the granted networks actually contribute a great deal to the art and culture fields in general and in the long-term, by capacity building and sharing of competencies as examples.

Final thoughts

Baltic countries have a long history of belonging to the Soviet Union where most of the areas, including cultural activities, were funded by the state – and directed by the state at the same time. Since the independence of the Baltic countries we have got back our artistic freedom of expression, and together with that the duty to take care of the financing of this freedom. The financial side does not come by default. Of course, our ministries of culture have means to keep running the state and local institutions, culture foundations and enterprise centers help to finance the projects based on private initiative, sponsors from the business sector are wisely involved, donating campaigns are organized etc etc. But still, one needs to write down a proper project and fill in different applications.

The Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme is no different in that sense. What is different, or at least essential, is that it urges the applicants to look for the options to cooperate between the Nordic-Baltic countries as well to create and keep a functioning network. So, the core purpose of the programme is that all the collaborations funded by this means are really not so much as projects but rather networks based on shared knowledge, experiences – and audiences. 

Triinu Soikmets
is a freelance journalist based in Tallinn, Estonia

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Northern regions shine brightly in Culture and Art Programme

Chair Auri Ahola is satisfied after the first award meeting of the Culture and Art Programme’s expert group.

“It’s a very nice group of people who work well together while representing their many different artistic specialisms and geographical areas,” says Auri, who has been a dancer since she was nineteen and also works as a regional artist with Sápmi as her field of work on behalf of the Arts Promotion Centre Finland (TAIKE ).

Like several of her colleagues in the expert group, she comes from the Arctic area. The Arctic has been a focal point during the last two years of the Culture and Art Programme’s programme period.

“We haven’t even needed to consider the issue of quota allocations for Arctic projects, as the projects were of such a high level that a natural emphasis among the northern regions emerged,” says Auri.

Diversity – a stamp of quality

Auri feels that the fact that the Culture and Art Programme’s experts look at every project, not just those belonging to their own specialism, is a stamp of quality.

“Experienced artists and actors in the field of cultural understand art within a broader perspective. A strong project makes an impression across borders. In our assessment, we have the benefit of representing such different geographies, with an additional perspective stemming from the fact that none of us come from metropolitan areas,” says Auri. 

The Nordic dimension is constantly present in the assessment and Auri is pleased that this criterion is reflected in the applications with such ease, creativity and innovative thinking. In the assessment of applications where sustainability, gender equality and a children’s and young people’s perspective must all be taken into account, Auri points out that artistic freedom is still paramount.

“The strongest applications speak for themselves and address the criteria without the feeling that it’s been imposed. It’s only in those applications where the idea doesn’t really go the whole course that the criteria can feel imposed,” says Auri.

New perspectives are crucial

The expert group places particular importance on the fact that the projects must evoke an emotion, or open people’s eyes to new perspectives. One such project was Waiting for the bad thing to happen by The Nordic Beasts, a dance theatre performance which explores the human will to make a difference and go out with a bang, even when the end of the world is just around the corner. The project raises questions about sustainability but turns the perspective upside down in a fresh and bold way. 

“More important than that the project ticking all the criteria is the artistic core. What’s the innovative element in the project that benefits the Nordic cultural field? Artistic freedom comes above everything – even anarchist projects can be of interest to us,” says Auri.

Other projects that were granted funding included

  • Lost and Found production’s black metal performance Witch Club Satan, where music and theatre meet in the work Bloodmother
  • Jordens hus’ audience-involving immersive installation Jordsans, which invites visitors to experience the Nordic earth inside and out
  • Southnord by sqCircle, a newly established platform for Afro-Nordic artists
  • Haparanda Library’s art project Horizont, in which the public can create their own graffiti art on top of the artists’ existing works using virtual reality.

All the projects have partners from three or more Nordic countries.

Two rounds of applications per year 

The Culture and Art Programme funds Nordic co-operation in the field of arts and culture. Funding is available for projects with an artistic and/or cultural quality that promotes a diverse and sustainable Nordic Region.

Due to the large number of applications, individual responses to applicants sadly cannot be provided. However, you’re welcome to contact Nordic Culture Point’s funding advisor when preparing your application. For more information on the programme criteria, go to the page on the Culture and Art Programme.

The Culture and Art Programme has two application rounds per year. The next round opens 12 August 2023, with an application deadline of 12 September 2023 at 15:59 Finnish time. 

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Culture can help nature

The climate report is a depressing read and once again I’m struck by how difficult it is for us as humans to change our behaviour. We know very well that our planet’s thermostat is punishing us, and that so far we haven’t managed to put this development into reverse gear. Yet there’s also hope, because several countries have committed to taking action. We can achieve it, says the UN, but it requires us to go from intention to action, from hope to work, because the degree of green transition that the global community needs requires action from every sphere of social life, including the cultural sector. At Nordic Culture Point, we also believe that everyone must take responsibility in the green transition. As you know, the green transition and climate footprints are what happens in day-to-day life in terms of food waste, shopping and transport, to name a few. As an organisation, Nordic Culture Point is an environmentally certified workplace and it’s our mission to work on accelerating the contribution of the Nordic cultural sector to the sustainable transformation of society.

The role of culture in sustainable development

The cultural sector isn’t included in the UN’s 17 SDGs, but we know that art has the power to change and an inherent potential to bring about change in society. This is because the narrative power of art and culture can make us reflect on our role in the world and can reach people in a different way than facts and figures. The cultural sector has a very special ability to bring people together and thereby create awareness and communicate sustainability, but also to make it relevant for the individual person. In addition, for thousands of years art has had a function whereby nature has always been its primary source of inspiration. The basic concepts of aesthetics and harmony have their roots in the order of nature. As a mediating power, art has a fantastic opportunity to bring us back to nature, to restore our contact with it and to make us want to take better care of it. This is what makes art crucial for the green transition.

What expectations do the Nordic Council of Ministers’ ministers for culture have in terms of the role of culture in sustainable development, and what role should the cultural sector have in the green transition? The ministers for culture are going to discuss this in the coming year, when they’re expected to adopt a new Nordic co-operation programme for cultural policy from 2025 to 2030.

Vision 2030 is fixed and although the goal of a sustainable Nordic Region is unwavering, the path to get there for the cultural sector may well look different, depending on whether you’re an individual artist or a large national or regional cultural organisation which is seeking funding from us. Large cultural organisations with buildings and stages naturally leave a larger climate footprint than individual artists, and therefore they also have a greater responsibility for the green transition.

At Nordic Culture Point, we receive around 2,000 applications a year for grants for cultural projects. From this we know that cultural organisations and artists really want to be part of the green transition. Of course, it’s positive that the cultural sector doesn’t just see the climate area as an instrumentalisation of the arts, but that there’s a genuine will in the cultural sector to address the major climate challenges we face.

At the same time, it’s important that we protect art’s freedom and special ability to create a diversity of aesthetic expressions and narratives. We want to reduce our climate footprint in cultural production but not minimise culture’s narrative power when it comes to opening our eyes and minds to a diversity of stories that can teach us more about ourselves and each other. Because with knowledge and insight into other people’s lives, our curiosity is stimulated and so too are our understanding and tolerance towards others, which is also a prerequisite for a sustainable life, not just in the Nordic Region, but around the globe. 

Gitte Grønfeld Wille, Director, Nordic Culture Point.

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Network funding granted to short-term and long-term networks

Network funding has now been distributed to new projects. Nordic Culture Point received a total of 99 applications, of which 38 were for the long-term network funding and 61 for the short-term network funding. A total amount of 505 600 € was granted to four long-term projects and nine short-term projects. Overall, the Expert Group was pleased to see a great variety of different kinds of applications and the granted projects represent a good spread of different culture fields.

There were especially two short-term network projects that the Expert group wanted to highlight as interesting projects: Independent Community Radio Network (ICRN) and Peer up North Camp (PUNC).

Independent Community Radio Network connects like-minded radios in the Baltic-Nordic region (Palanga Street Radio, Tirkultura, IDA Radio, The Lake Radio) for joint professional development and knowledge building activity with the goal of establishing sustainable futures for our field. The radios in the network focus on the creation of community-produced content by professional and amateur artists alike and share the value of maintaining independence to foster a non-competitive creative environment for the production and dissemination of culture, locally and online.

PUNC is a music creation network and a music event, bringing together fxmale (= women, non-binary, and other gender minorities) writers and producers from Sweden, Denmark and Iceland for music business networking, meetings and talks. The vision is to start collaborations between fxmale writers and producers from the Nordic countries, strengthening networks and representation.

See all granted projects here.

Network funding enables periods for cooperation, exchange of ideas and knowledge between professional artists and cultural workers in the Nordic region and/or the Baltic countries. The funding is a part of The Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme for Culture, which strengthens artistic and cultural cooperation in the Nordic region and the Baltic states.

The next application round for the short-term network funding opens in August 2023. Long-term network funding has only one application round per year and the next round will be arranged in the spring 2024.

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84 artist residencies applied for funding for inviting Nordic and Baltic artists

Being in residency gives artists a chance to work in a more concentrated way and to develop their artistic practices in an inspirational environment that also offers possibilities for new collaborations. This year’s application round for Funding for Artist Residencies as a part of the Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme attracted more applications than ever. 

The expert group met on 12 and 13 of April 2023 to grant funding for Nordic and Baltic residency centres. Nordic Culture Point received 84 applications in this year’s round, 15 of which were granted funding. The total amount awarded was EUR 616 000. Competition was again fierce, and the grant percentage was 18%. 

The residencies granted funding include a broad variety of organisations in both rural and urban areas in Baltic and Nordic countries. An example from the current round is Mustarinda in Hyrynsalmi, Finland, for its ecologically sustainable residency which promotes ecological reconstructions of society, a diversity of naturecultures, and connection between arts and sciences. 

Eesti Noore Arhitektuuri Selts (Estonian Society of Young Architecture) in Valga, Estonia, received funding for Valga Architecture Residency, an international multidisciplinary residency for spatial practice, with the aim to seek, find and create alternative spatial practices that are not dictated by market logic. 

VšĮ Priespauda / hands on press in Kaunas, Lithuania focuses on small editions of printed matter with risography printing, basic screen printing, relief printing, bookbinding facilities and selfpublishing in general. 

Small Projects Artist in Residence Program in Tromsø, Norway runs an artist-run broadly networked initiative with origins in Manila, Philippines, in collaboration with Norwegian Sámi Reindeer Herding Association. Every selected artist will be during residency be partnered with a local artist for immediate dialogue and for networking. 

The Expert Group appreciates all the residency programmes taking place in the Nordic and Baltic countries and is very happy about the diversity of the residency possibilities in the region. 

See all grants for 2023 here

Funding for artist residencies is part of the Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme for Culture. The focus of the programme is on increasing the exchange of knowledge, contacts and interest in Nordic and Baltic art and culture. The Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme consists of three forms of funding: mobility funding, network funding and funding for artist residencies. Read more about the programme here. 

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Strong start for Norden 0-30 applications

The first application round for Norden 0-30 is now closed. A total of 37 applications were made in this round for a total of EUR 1,039,018. The expert group decided to award funding of EUR 246,946 to six projects, with individual grants ranging from EUR 20,000 to EUR 50,000.  

It was a particularly large first round of applications for the year 2023 and there were also a considerable number of projects that applied for the maximum funding amount of EUR 50,000. The expert group was pleased to note such huge interest in the programme and would like to remind applicants that the next round for Norden 0-30 is now open and will close on 28 April. 

Some examples of projects awarded funding: 

Nordiskt Ljus 2023 by Nordiska folkhögskolan 

“Nordiskt Ljus” (which means Nordic Light) is an interdisciplinary cultural festival consisting of summer courses, artist residencies and festival weekends. The project aims to create cross-border encounters between young people in the Nordic Region and be a force of resistance to right-wing extremist movements which are laying claim to the concept of “Nordic”. 

Nordic Activist Camp by Save The Children’s youth associations 

Save The Children’s youth associations in Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and Åland want to arrange an inclusive camp that strengthens Nordic co-operation within the children’s rights movement.  The project aims to establish a safe and inclusive Nordic platform that strengthens the participation of children and young people, especially among those who live in socio-economically disadvantaged or rural areas, or who identify as belonging to a religious, cultural or sexual minority (LGBTQI+). 

Voguing Nordix 365 by Kiki House Of Angels 

Kiki House of Angels organises monthly ballroom events in seven Nordic cities between August 2023 and July 2023, where Nordic LGBTQPIA+ communities can come together, meet and strengthen the sense of togetherness, especially for young people aged 10 to 30. 

The next application round for Norden 0-30 runs from 28 March to 28 April 2023. Please contact our advisors if you have any thoughts or questions about an application. 

All projects that are awarded funding can be found on the Nordic Culture Point website

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Mobility funding granted for travel in the Nordic-Baltic region

The first application round for mobility funding in 2023 turned out to be extremely popular and Nordic Culture Point received 660 applications. A total of 93 applications were granted funding for travel within the Nordic-Baltic region. The total amount of funding granted was EUR 164,785.

Among the initiatives granted funded was a group of applicants working together on a performance called UNTZ BABY UNTZ, an interactive dance performance where bass and beats are mixed with baby dance. Dancers representing the dance company MYKA will travel to the Faroe Islands to perform during the Fritt Flog festival for children and young people. Another group of applicants will travel to Iceland to exhibit the project “Remember the Future”, which highlights cultural heritage related to women’s craft practices and looks at the relationships of previous generations and nomadic groups with nature, the sustainable consumption of resources, and material use.

You can find the results from this and previous rounds here.

Mobility funding is part of the Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme for Culture, which aims to strengthen artistic and cultural co-operation between professional artists and cultural professionals in the Nordic Region and the Baltic countries.

The final round of applications for 2023 will be in the autumn and will open on 28 August.

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Nordic Culture Point – one year closer to 2030

In 2022, Nordic Culture Point made additional funding available to Ukrainian refugee artists for artist residencies in the Nordic Region. Suomenlinna also became a stage for experimental interdisciplinary artistic events, with input from across the Nordic Region in the new venture, Nordic Culture Club.

Nordic co-operation as a whole has 2030 in its sights, with the vision of the Nordic Region being the most sustainable and integrated region in the world. At Nordic Culture Point, we want to focus our efforts where we can best benefit sustainability. In this, learning, diversity, and accessibility are key.

The diversity perspective is a special focus area for us this year, such as in the Culture and Art Programme where special funds have been set aside for use during the remainder of the programme period to draw attention to the Arctic, the indigenous perspective, and culture heritage. Learning is at the heart of the Nordic Bookworm project, which is designed to promote reading. During the year, educational material for Nordic picture books was made available through the project.

Nordic Culture Club is a hive of diversity and creativity, which will continue through 2023, as will our efforts to promote environmental sustainability. Towards the end of 2022, our efforts were recognised by way of the Miljökompassen environmental certification.

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Nordic Culture Point gets Icelandic board chair

“An exciting period in Nordic cultural co-operation”. That’s how Ragnheiður H. Þórarinsdóttir, the new chair of Nordic Culture Point’s board, describes the mood ahead of the new board’s two-year mandate.

“The Nordic Council of Ministers has started work to prepare the co-operation programme for the culture sector for the period 2025 to 2030. This means that there will be important opportunities for the board to have input in Nordic co-operation on culture. I’m looking forward to this task and hope we’ll be of use,” says Ragnheiður H. Þórarinsdóttir.

The board was sworn in at its first meeting of the year on 22 March. Iceland’s Ragnheiður H. Þórarinsdóttir is a folklorist with many years of experience in Nordic cultural co-operation. Aleksi Malmberg, director of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, was elected vice chair.

The other board members are Lars Brustad (Director of the Norwegian Ministry of Culture and Equality), Hanna Hagmark (Museum Manager of the Åland Maritime Museum and Pommern), and Nina Röhlcke (Deputy Director of Culture at Kulturhuset Stadsteatern, Sweden).

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  • Nordic Culture Club is a venue for cultural practitioners and enthusiasts from across the Nordic Region and around the world. Here, we experiment with and present unique interdisciplinary experiences with a mix of everything from dance, music, performances and interactive experiences to monologues, catwalks, drag, quizzes, installations, video works, and much, much more. 
  • We are now looking for experimental, innovative, and preferably interdisciplinary art performances of all kinds, as well as art projects that in some way involve and activate the audience. The length of the performance should be kept to 30 -90 minutes. 
  • Out of the received proposals, a professional jury selects the artists and performers who are invited to the Nordic Culture Club goes FESTIVAL! -event. The jury’s decision will be sent to all applicants during April 2023.  
  • For the artists performing at the event, Nordic Culture Point will pay a remuneration based on an agreement and cover travel costs within the Nordics and the Baltics aa well as necessary overnight stays in Helsinki. 

How to apply: Send us a short presentation of yourself or your group and tell us with words (max. 1000 characters), pictures or videos of what exactly you would like to perform or show at the Nordic Culture Club goes FESTIVAL! -event. Also write your desired remuneration for the performance, as well as any technical specifications and needs. The application should be presented in English, Swedish or Finnish. 

Send the application to: the latest on 3rd of April 2023!  


Contact person and additional information: Annika Bergvik-Forsander, producer/ curator, email:       

Venue information: List of available equipment


Nordic Culture Point is an institution of the Nordic Council of Ministers which works to support Nordic co-operation within the area of culture and to increase awareness of Nordic culture in Finland. 

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Burn_Slow: Nordic-Baltic Sound and Radio Art for Mental Well-being

Burn_Slow: Nordic-Baltic Sound and Radio Art for Mental Well-being brought together more than 30 young sound artists. The sound artists were from the Nordic and Baltic states as well as from abroad, and attended a series of online events to explore how playful sound making and mindful listening practices can help to express and boost their mental well-being.

Acclaimed electronic music composers and sound artists from Sweden, Denmark, Estonia and Lithuania mentored the young artists during the remote yet joint creative process, and in the end 30 compositions were created, as well as several conceptual artworks. Ten pieces were selected by a jury, which consisted of the mentors, and these were broadcasted during the Finland-based international art and activism festival PIXELACHE 2021 Burn___ online radio. 

Burn_Slow received funding through the Culture and art grant programme!

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