The Nordic Culture Fund has joined forces with a number of actors and organizations in new types of partnership projects. The work will provide a flexible framework for developing initiatives that contribute to new knowledge about the arts and culture field and stimulate policy development in specific areas.
The new types of partnership projects build on the Fund’s strategic efforts and experience over many years in networking and cultural policy development at the Nordic level.
“There is a growing need for greater exchange of experience and knowledge in the Nordic region when it comes to the development of arts and cultural life. We want to explore how creating relations between different actors and initiatives can strengthen co-operation in the Nordic region and contribute to mutual exchange of knowledge across borders. By taking a more active role as a facilitator and dialogue partner, the Fund can help ensure that initiatives developed at national level can also be taken into a broader Nordic and international context,” says Benny Marcel, Director of the Nordic Culture Fund.
Partners in the projects range from cultural institutions and research centers to major global associations, such as UNESCO and the WHO Regional Office for Europe. Through different themes, such as the intervention of art in health and the role of culture in sustainable development, the Foundation will bring art and culture into new conversations and expand the space for international cultural cooperation.
In Denmark, the Nordic Culture Fund has joined forces on concrete initiatives with the research center Art as Forum and the Bikuben Foundation, among others. The latter has resulted in the new “Task Force” program, which aims at strengthening capacity and long-term development of artistic institutions.
The work on partnerships is part of the Nordic Culture Fund’s current strategy and partly stems from the acute situation triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic in the arts and culture field in spring 2020. The first initiatives were launched as pilot projects that provided an opportunity to test ideas and gather important experience:
“We wanted to ensure space for open and experimental development and exploration of approaches. At the same time, we wanted a better insight into the work of the cultural actors, which was of course strongly influenced by the pandemic. Since then, it has become even more apparent that to ensure a sustainable, experimental and free arts and cultural life, we as a foundation need to base our work more on responsiveness, trust and more agile solutions. This is why we are also working actively to ensure that the knowledge we gain through partnerships is used in the further development of our support programs and other initiatives,” says Anni Syrjäläinen, Senior Adviser at the Nordic Culture Fund.
In several of the projects, the ambition is also to inspire and contribute to the cultural policy conversation and development in the Nordic Region. The aim is often to create a better dialogue and knowledge sharing between policy and the performing arts and cultural field. An example of this is a trans-Nordic partnership with Nordic cultural centers and the think tank a/nordi/c, which will result in a series of cultural policy network meetings around the Nordic region during 2022-2023.
Exploring culture as a public good to achieve sustainable development and promote human rights – Working with UNESCOThe Nordic Culture Fund has joined forces with UNESCO to explore the role of culture as a global public good. The work is based on the partners’ respective expertise, experience and networks. The project will be launched at UNESCO’s major world conference Mondiacult – Cultural Policies for Sustainable Development, to be held in Mexico on 28-30 September 2022. The partnership will result in a major report that will provide a basis for cross-sectoral understanding of the contribution of culture to the sustainable agenda on a global scale.
Arts & Health Collective – Collaboration with WHO Regional Office for Europe 2021-2023Together with the WHO Regional Office for Europe, the Nordic Culture Fund has launched a pilot project that brings together academics, artists, cultural institutions, health professionals and decision-makers from different countries to explore effective and sustainable strategies to integrate arts and culture broadly into the health sector. The project is part of the Nordic Culture Fund’s Globus initiative, which aims to extend the reach of Nordic cultural co-operation by investing in long-term networks and stronger international ties.
Communities of Separatism – collaboration with Kunsten som ForumIn 2022-2023, Kunsten som Forum and the Nordic Culture Fund will jointly investigate the cultural policy framework for racialized artists and cultural workers in the Nordic countries as part of the research project “Communities of Separatism”, also supported by the “Arts and Social Communities” grant. The project examines how separatist organizing challenges and expands the notion of community, and looks at the interplay between artistic organizing, cultural politics and a changing concept of art in the Nordic region. The research is conveyed in both scientific articles and popular media.
Taskforce – Working with the Bikuben Foundation on development programs for cultural institutions Together with the Bikuben Foundation, the Nordic Culture Fund has put together a development program for cultural institutions to help them realize their potential. The aim is to create new opportunities and ensure the sustainable development of artistic institutions by, among other things, strengthening the institutions’ insight into and overview of their own business strategy.
Resilient Music Cities – Torshavn, Nuuk & Anchorage – Collaboration with Center for Music EcosystemsTogether with the global NGO Center for Music Ecosystems, the Foundation has explored how music ecosystems can help develop sustainable and resilient communities in geographically isolated places in the Nordic and Alaskan regions. The project will result in a comprehensive report and policy toolkit in October 2022.
Inter-Nordic partnership to organise cultural policy networking meetingsIn 2022-2023, the Nordic Culture Fund will work with the Nordic institutions Hanaholmen (Finland), Nordic House in Reykjavik, Nordic House in the Faroe Islands and Nordic Institute in Greenland and a/nordi/c to hold a series of cultural policy network meetings.
Partnerships are a cross-Nordic action in the Nordic Culture Fund’s strategy for 2019-2025. The projects are developed as closer collaborations with actors and organizations that can help develop and gather knowledge about arts and culture, and focus on themes relevant to the Fund’s strategy and/or the development of the Fund’s thematic initiatives.In the context of partnerships, the Fund may award strategic development grants which are not within the scope of the Fund’s funding programmes. The selection of projects, e.g. partnerships, to receive development support is based on the Fund’s external dialogue and networking.