Voices in the Barents Region - Action Programme for Cultural Cooperation in the Barents Region 2003 - 2006
1. Multilateral commitment projects
- Cultural portal for the Barents region
- The Barents Chamber Orchestra
- Barents International Centre for Choral Music
- Guest studios for artists
- Rock art at the edge of Europe
- Barents literature camp for young people
- Children’s Polar Library
- Young writers in the Barents region
- Barents Summer Music Academy
- Gateway to Barents
- New forms of art in Barents
- Northern Cities
- Migration - visual art
- "1000 letters about war and peace"
3. Festivals and seminars
4. Bilateral projects
This action plan is based on the experience gained from cultural cooperation in the Barents region since its beginnings in 1993, i.e. 10 years. Prior to this there has been library cooperation on the Northern Cap (Nordkalotten) as early as at the beginning of the 1970s, which also included the northern areas of the Soviet Union. The “Report on Barents Cultural Cooperation” of September 2001 summarises the activity that has taken place and points out some challenges. It describes extensive collaboration, a total of 416 identifiable projects, most of them bilateral or with third-country participation.
This action programme defines the objectives of cultural cooperation for the coming four-year period, prioritises commitment areas and a certain number of projects where all the countries undertake to participate in the implementation. This means that multilateral interaction is the paramount goal and that these types of projects have the highest priority. Experience gained up to now provides a good basis for more systematic cooperation, stronger ambitions for the academic results and a more extensive communication outside the Barents region. It is necessary to emphasise that 10 years is a very short time seen in relation to the number of countries, area, size of the populations and groups, language and historical and cultural assumptions. The success criteria for this action plan are to a great extent conditional on at least one county in each country participating in the prioritised projects and that financial resources are provided.
On the basis of the Arkhangelsk Communiqué of 1998 and the ministers’ meeting in Oulo in 2002, the objectives for the cultural collaboration in the Barents Region are as follows:
- to make the Barents Region and its cultural dimension more visible in an international perspective and thus contribute to economic development. In order to make the northern areas more visible within the European dimension there are requirements for two approach strategies. On the one hand we must initiate a common identity structure among the inhabitants in the region through various cultural projects. Communicating the results in various forms to as many people as possible is a prerequisite for creating a common identity. On the other hand it is necessary to communicate our own distinctive cultural characteristics, which also manifest themselves through a diversity of identities, within a European framework. In this manner the northern areas will lend their voices to the regions of Europe. The northern dimension can be promoted within the population and to "the others". A consequence of these ambitions is that the commitment projects must involve both the common characteristics in the northern areas and endeavour to show the diversity of worlds in this large area with scattered populations. In order to succeed the starting point must be art and forms of culture, milieus in which we have advantages and/ or are competitive. An example of one of the projects in the action plan that can both stimulate common identity creation and make distinctive characteristics visible to the outside world is the photo project Northern Cities. This type of communication of art and culture will provide increased knowledge about the region, which in turn can lead to positive ripple effects for business and industry.
- to create meeting-places in which people interact, particularly young people of both genders
Historical contrasts and an immediate past marked by conflicts mean that interaction through genuine meetings among people is a prerequisite for putting pressure on old perceptions of reality, myths and political differences. By creating something together our perception of each other will be based on our own experience as opposed to the media’s selling of opinions and shaping of reality. Artist groups within various art forms are an essential target group for which we attempt to establish arenas for interaction. Despite different traditions with regard to artistic practice, the ambition must always be to create thematic issues for these meetings so that the results are artistically interesting on an international scale. The exhibition "New Potatoes" is such an example.
Experience proves that in order to break down perceptions and myths about "the others" within the regions, the supporting of activities described as people-to-people is equally important. An example of this is all the events that are taking place under the direction of "Northern Neighbours" on the Norwegian/Russian side. Most people, i.e. at the local level or what is called the grass roots, are the pillar of cultural cooperation, also in order to stimulate the creation of a common identity in the region.
A selected commitment group is young people. The realities of the future are conditional on their value basis and ability to be innovative. In principle, they are to a smaller extent the carriers of the historical conflicts and it is important that they be given the opportunity to interact in arenas where the starting point is as much equality as possible. The Barents Chamber Orchestra is one of many examples of such a commitment, and girls are particularly well represented, as in most cases. The gender perspective is an objective for all the multilateral projects.
- to create awareness about the region’s identity and promote a realisation of the northern cultural dimension.
The echo of the past lives on today in the form of perceptions and stories that are constantly reinterpreted and communicated with new perspectives. The stories are based on ethnicity, nationality, language, way of life and worlds. Some claim that through our reinterpretation of the past we first and foremost talk about our own world, our own time. Peaceful coexistence and interaction are a goal for the Barents cooperation, to which our commitment to culture intends to make a positive contribution. To take on and promote projects that deal with the stories of the past also means creating new stories with a cultural context and stamp of our time, based on footprints, memories and stories of the past. In this manner the memories are collated and communicated in new ways. Similarities and differences assume new shapes and contribute to strengthening the diversity of the process of creating an identity. Research into the rock art finds in the Barents region, which are quite unique in a global perspective, is such an example. Communicating the stories of the past in the Northern areas also entails communicating stories that have been unknown until now.
The commitment required to realise the objectives
The objectives will be realised through the following strategies:
- Multilateral commitment projects
- Bilateral projects (that may also develop into multilateral projects)
1. Multilateral commitment projects
The following projects will be implemented, some on the basis of existing activities, others as extensions of prominent milieus in the region, and others again as entirely new initiatives. All these projects will be implemented multilaterally, i.e. there must be representation from at least each of the four countries, but ideally from all the counties.
Cultural portal for the Barents region
The purpose of establishing a web-based cultural portal for the Barents region is to:
- Increase awareness of the region’s cultural heritage and contemporary cultural activities
- Make cultural cooperation accessible in an international perspective
- Create a network and interaction tools for people in the region who work with or are interested in culture
- An interactive web portal will be established with information about cultural activities in the region.
- The portal will be developed through active participation from all players in the cultural cooperation, both public bodies, institutions and other parties who work with culture.
- The portal will to the greatest extent possible and in a structured manner provide a uniform impression of distinctive characteristics, diversity, similarities and differences that characterise cultural activities in the Barents region.
- The portal will provide extensive information on the multilateral and bilateral cooperation that takes place in the culture area and be an arena for the development of new projects.
- The portal will be integrated into the complete Barents portal.
Troms County Municipality is responsible for developing the portal and will establish a network of productive staff in all the participating counties and among parties responsible for commitment projects. It is a prerequisite that all players contribute personnel resources and technical material as an integrated part of their normal operations.
Autumn 2002/ Detailed assessment of the project:
Spring 2003 Applications for funding
Establish a working group with participants from all regions
Choice of platform for the portal
Development of design
Autumn 2003 Training seminar (jointly or per country)
Production of the contents of the portal - all regions participate
Spring 2004 Opening of the portal
Production of contents continues after the portal has been opened
The Barents Chamber Orchestra
The Barents Youth Chamber Orchestra has been held every year since 1995 under the direction of Professor Wolfgang Jahn. On average, two very promising young musicians from each county of the region have assembled for ten days in the summer for intensive rehearsals of a musically representative repertoire and subsequent concert performances. In the summer of 2002 the orchestra reached a level of virtuosity that provides optimal conditions for further development.
- To create a meeting-place for creative learning and interaction in which cultural preconceptions are challenged
- To create a youth chamber orchestra that can measure itself against comparable international milieus and thereby give the region a higher profile.
- Up to 26 young people, split among the collaborating counties, will gather annually for two weeks’ intensive rehearsals
- The upper age limit will be raised from 20 to 25 so as to enhance musical quality, intake to be based on taped music and auditions
- The orchestra subsequently to tour the regional capitals and other relevant milieus where it is desired to lift the profile of the Barents Region.
The Barents Chamber Orchestra will be organised via the institution Musill i Nordland (Music in Nordland), Nordland County Municipality, with the director as the person in charge.
The orchestra will meet annually during the entire period. Extending this to twice a year will be considered. It may be relevant to let the meetings alternate between the countries.
Barents International Centre for Choral Music
The Barents Chamber Choir, with participants from the four countries, was held for the first time in 2001. The College of Music at Piteå wishes to continue and develop this initiative by establishing an international Barents Centre for Choral Music.
- To establish a leading arena for artistic innovation in vocal music
- To establish a leading centre of choral training and choral teaching research and thus enhance the visibility of the Barents Region in an international perspective.
The Project focuses on three approaches:
- The establishment of a professional vocal ensemble for the region
- To chart existing research in choral music and to initiate new research within the establishment of higher education in choral music
- To establish cooperative relations with business via relevant publications.
The College of Music at Piteå (Professor Erik Westberg) will be responsible.
2002 Project design, start-up work and recruitment
2003 Initiation of choral training
5 choral productions on tour
Arranging of international choral conference
Initiation of 2 research projects
2004 Continuation of the activity at level of 2003
2005 Continuation of the activity at level of 2003
2006 Continuation of the activity at level of 2003
Guest studios for artists
Nifca, the Nordic Institute for Contemporary Art, has an established arrangement for guest studios whereby the individual regions and municipalities make available free accommodation and workspace for creative artists. Nifca administers the sites and allocates board and grants to the artists on application; it also helps the artists draft applications for travel grants.
There are already studios in Vadsø, Masi, Tromsø, Ivalo and Vilhelmina.
- ObjectivesTo make the region attractive to artists
- To be part of an internationally established network
- To give a voice to artistic practice through the artists’ presence in and knowledge of the region.
- To revitalise existing studios
- To establish a guest studio in every county, a maximum of 13 locations, at least one in each of the four collaborating nations
- To draw up an agreement with Nifca on the administration of the studios.
The individual county is responsible for the individual studio’s physical establishment, coordinated by Västerbotten County.
2003 The individual county plans its studio
A binding agreement is made with Nifca
2004 Establishment and initiation of the activity
2005 Establishment and initiation of the activity
2006 Full operation
Rock art at the edge of Europe
The Council for the Northern Cap (Nordkalottrådet) is implementing its action plan "From Ultima Thule to Cyber Cap". An international project has been initiated focusing on rock art on the Northern Cap and in Sicily. Rock art or petroglyphs are a global phenomenon, the examples in the norther areas are unique. The absence so far of similar finds in Norrbotten and Lapland will be investigated in this project. Researchers will endeavour to explain that absence. The hypothesis is that they will make new finds in the field. Regardless of the results, the goal is to explain correlations/breaks in early settlement patterns and cultural practice in the northern areas on the basis of ancient monuments, and communicate the rock art of the northern areas to the global research communities. The project will be carried out by the leading research communities in the respective countries. The project will be extended to include Russia from 2003.
- Enhance the visibility of common prehistoric features of the region through the study of finds and issues that would otherwise not have been prioritised
- Vitalise the relevant research communities in the region and recruit personnel to conduct research into the region’s cultural history
- Communicate this unique cultural monument in the region, the respective countries and internationally.
- Research symposium with representation from the academic communities in all the countries
- Field survey with student participation
- Publication in international journals
- Result dissemination through Web presentation and book publication
The project will be managed and administered by Kulturminner i Nordland (Nordland Cultural Monuments), Nordland County Municipality through a project manager.
2003 Research symposium in Sweden
Fieldwork in Finland/Sweden
2004 Research symposium in Russia
Fieldwork in Russia
2005 Research symposium in Norway
Fieldwork in Norway
2006 Research symposium in Sweden
Fieldwork in Sweden
Web presentation and book publication
Barents literature camp for young people
The literature camp for young people in Barents has been organised since 1997 and is a cooperation project of which all the participating countries are part. The camp travels between the countries and can accommodate 10 young people from each country. A writer from each country also participates. In 2002 the literature camp will be held in Karelia.
- Stimulate young people’s interest in writing
- Communicate knowledge about the art of writing in the region
- Develop a new meeting place where the participants gain knowledge and respect for each others’ languages and culture
- 40 young people from the age of 15 to 18, 10 from each country, will meet to further develop their writing skills
- The web site LUB (Litterurleir for ungdom i Barents) http://troms.kulturnett.no/lub/ under Barnas polarbibliotek (Children’s Polar Library) will be further developed as a presentation site for LUB, but also as a meeting place for LUB participants.
- Kalottskriv - a writing workshop that will be established for young people who have attended the literature camp or are too old. Kalottskriv will be organised as a trial project in 2002 by Troms County Municipality in connection with "Ordkalotten Tromsø", an international literature festival.
The literature camp for young people in Barents will travel between the countries. The county libraries, culture offices or cultural departments will be responsible for organising the camp in their own countries.
Annually. The event will be handed over to the next country upon completion of the camp.
Children’s Polar Library
The Children’s Polar Library (http://www.barnenspolarbiblitek.com/) is a Barents project for children and young people on the Internet. Here there are portraits of writers where the writers for the respective countries present themselves. There is a writer of the month, book of the month and reading tips. Extensive link collections with material and information connected with the northern areas are grouped by each country. The children can send in their own texts, book tips, stories, etc. through various writing workshops. There are databases with facts and research about their own native districts, nature, animals and culture on the Northern Cap. BP and Mikael Niemi have put together a writing course in five parts to develop children’s writing skills. This has also been translated into Finnish. The Poetry School gives advice to children who want to write poetry. In the common literature base you can search for books, videos, sound recordings, articles, songs, etc. by writer, title or subject. The Maze Library, an intuitive, image-based search interface to the literature base, stimulates the curiosity and love of reading through games and play.
The participating countries Sweden, Finland and Norway have contributed towards developing parts of the Polar Library. Today, a there are sections translated into Sami and English. From 2003 the project will be extended to include Russia.
- Strengthen children’s cultural identity by highlighting their own part of the world.
- Children from Barents can share experiences and meet through a new electronic arena.
- Promote the northern cultural dimension and create regional identity.
- Russian adaptation and development of the Children’s Polar Library
- Establish and develop Tornedal-Finnish (Meänkieli) as part of the Children’s Polar Library
- Create an arena that enables children and young people on the Northern Cap to meet, despite long distances
- Maintain and further develop children’s opportunity to participate through various forums for the children’s own writing activities on the Northern Cap, such as Skrivebua, Eventyrstedet and Skrivarskolan.
The project will be further developed under the direction of Norrbottens County Library, with own project coordinators in the participating countries.
2003 - 2004 Establish a working group consisting of a project manager and project coordinators from the participating countries.
- Establish contact and conferences with the Russian partners
The Maze Library will be adapted to each country.
- Work on the Tornedal-Finnish section
- The Sami section will be extended and developed.
- Implement Russian adaptation and development of the Children’s Polar Library.
- Set up chat and meeting place functions.
2004 - 2006 Further develop the activities
Young writers in the Barents region
The project has grown through the extensive collaboration in the children’s and young people’s literature project The Cloudberry Places in the Barents Region, which was concluded with an international children’s and young people’s literature festival in April 2002. The focus of the festival was directed at the Barents region, but through a well-established collaboration with Ireland, young people from Ireland, Wales and the Ukraine also participated.
- Increase knowledge of the Barents region as a cultural fellowship among young people interested in literature and adults who work with literature for children and young people.
- Strengthen the networks that work for the development of young writers and cultural activities.
- Create an international service related to educational work with literature in the Barents region.
- Develop methods and gather expertise on how to work with young writers.
- Establish a group of young writers from all the participating countries with cross-border cultural expertise who can be promoters of continued development work with young writers in the Barents region.
- Develop cooperation in this field outside the Barents region for the exchange of knowledge and experience.
Seminars and workshops will be conducted with two intentions and target groups. Firstly, the project will bring writers and cultural teachers together in seminars where they will learn from each other, and develop new methods for working with young writers in a crossborder context. Secondly, workshops will be conducted under qualified leadership where young people will have the opportunity to develop their writing skills in a crossborder context in the broadest sense of the term.
The writing will be supplemented by other forms of art and will also be an introduction to the literature and culture of the various countries, and in this manner motivate the young people to develop their artistic skills independently in the cultural fellowship the Barents region constitutes. In connection with these workshops various happenings will be organised such as writers’ evenings and poetry readings, which will make literature work in Barents visible to a broader audience.
The project will also highlight the international context by having particularly talented and committed young writers representing our cultural fellowship at literature festivals and symposiums organised by partners outside the Barents region; the purpose being to create contacts and bring back experience to our work. Such partners are inter alia in the Baltics, the Ukraine, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Translations will also be initiated within the framework of the project, as well as publication of literary texts for children and young people. Introductory articles from the various countries that can be published in suitable periodicals will also be part of the project.
Sverigefinska folkehøgskolen (folk high school) in Happaranda will be in charge of the project. In addition to Länsbiblioteket (County Library) in Västerbotten, partners will be found in Finland, Norway, Arkhangelsk, Murmansk and the Karelian Republic.
2002 Meeting with representatives from participating regions/counties.
Prepare Interreg application in the Kolarctic programme.
A delegation of young writers, authors and teachers from Sweden and Finland participate in the young people’s literature gathering Kalottskriv in Tromsø.
Two Swedish performance poets participate in an international poetry festival in the Ukraine at the end of September.
A method and development seminar with writers and teachers from the entire region to be conducted at Sverigefinska folkehøgskole (folk high school) in late autumn.
Work with translations, introductory articles and publications continues.
2003 Two workshops for young people to be conducted, one in Finland and one in Norway.
A major summer course to be conducted at Sverigefinska folkehøgskole (folk high school) and a follow-up method and development seminar.
Small delegations to be sent to other festivals.
Work with translations, introductory articles and publications continues.
2004 A method and development seminar to be conducted in the region.
Two workshops for young writers to be conducted in a suitable place in the region.
A summer camp to be organised somewhere in the region with the focus on writing and where meeting other forms of art is an inspiring experience
Work with translations, introductory articles and publication continues.
2005 The project workers from all the countries meet to assess the project and discuss its continuation.
Barents Summer Music Academy
The Barents region is a unique area characterised by its location far from the traditional European cultural centres. At the same time, the development of information technology, transport means and communications have led the region to lose its provincial character and become an organic part of world culture. As a cultural arena in Northern Europe, the Barents region nevertheless has substantial creative potential that is realised in several joint international projects, including projects with the Karelian Republic.
Barents Summer Music Academy is an innovative, open institution, where recognised and experienced teachers are engaged. What particularly characterises the Summer Music Academy is the special form of learning. The ambition is training - teaching - creative development, that emphasises a common in-depth study of the international chamber music’s creative atmosphere.
- Develop an international infrastructure and meeting place for music training
- Young musicians are shaped and develop through "Youth in Opened Society"
- Exchange of experiences and practical testing of experimental methods for music training for young musicians
- Organisation of professional guidance for talented young musicians in the Barents region
- Make the Barents region’s musical expertise visible
The main strategy is to discover and support talented young people as creative resources for the Barents region through:
- Master classes for various specialty areas in music
- Participation in the International Chamber Music Festival
- Informal artistic communication between young musicians, teachers and performers.
Administration of Barents Summer Music Academy will primarily be conducted by the Minister of Culture in the Karelian Republic. Oulu and Nordland counties have a special responsibility for follow-up on the Nordic side.
Gateway to Barents
Today there are very few communities in Barents that are able to utilise the opportunities available in developing, financing and implementing culture projects across national boundaries. The reason for this is the lack of resources and skills, plus lack of a network in the region.
The objective of this project is to develop a service system encompassing Barents that will help local and regional players with project development, financing and international project work in the area of culture. This system will be established in connection with the existing public culture administrations and consist of a network of consultants and regional experts whom, after having completed training, will establish and maintain their network using Internet technology. This network will contribute to increasing the number of bilateral and multilateral projects and that the projects are more strongly rooted in the paramount political objectives for each region, for example connected with the development of tourism.
Thirty professional people who work with culture from all countries in the region will participate in the project. They will constitute the regional network of experts and be able to assist and guide culture players in their regions in international culture cooperation.
An education programme will be implemented in the project with regional seminars in each of the participating regions, plus various information activities.
The goal is to develop 10 to 20 new international projects that can receive support from the EU or other international sources.
Lapplands Läns Konstkommision (The Arts Council of Lapland) is responsible for developing and implementing the project. Each of the participating regions is responsible for carrying out a development programme and conducting project development in their region.
Phase 1 Survey of existing skill level and needs in the participating regions. Partner
(3 months) meeting to analyse the results of the survey. Preparation of the educational programme.
Phase 2 Development of the educational course.
(2-3 months) Selection of the 30 participants.
Phase 3 The educational period, consisting of five one-week seminars, plus continuous
(14 months) network cooperation based on the use of the Internet as a communication tool.
Lectures by key persons in politics and administration in the individual regions, representatives of international financing sources and experts on topics related to cultural management.
New forms of art in Barents
The Art Council in Oulu will organise a travelling exhibition and seminars on design.
- Chart the situation in the field of design
- Make design as an art form and occupation visible
- Establish a new meeting place and new networks
- Promote products and producers in and outside the region
- Stimulate the creation of identity based on development of the design of applied art
- Promote relevant products outside the region
An exhibition will be organised in the course of 2004/2005. Artists and designers in the areas of textiles, fashion, graphics. furniture and product design, etc., who work and live in the Barents region, will be invited to present their work. The work that will be presented at the exhibition will be selected by a jury, The exhibition will present designers and the knowledge of design found in the region. The exhibition will be presented in other places in Europe in 2005/2006.
A seminar will be held at the same time as the opening of the exhibition in Oulu in the spring of 2004. The seminar will include lectures, workshop and a presentation of the designers and artists. This will provide to opportunity to establish contacts and a network between the players and the organisations in the field.
Similar seminars will subsequently be held every year in each member country. The theme of the seminar will vary for each year. Simultaneous exhibitions will be considered.
The Art Council in Oulu is responsible for developing and implementing the project, in cooperation with the art and crafts institutions and organisations in the region.
Design representatives from each of the member counties in the Barents region will be invited to be part of a working group, which will meet for the first time at the beginning of 2003.
2003 2 planning meetings, the first will be in Oulu
2004 1 planning meeting
2004, summer Seminar in Oulu and exhibition in Oulu Art Museum
2004, autumn The exhibition is brought to Sweden, Norway and Russia
2005 Exhibition in Europe
Traditional Nordic photography has concentrated on portraying the original Sami culture, Nordic agriculture or the wild countryside of the north. A number of municipalities in the region all have their distinctive countryside and culture. But urbanisation is also a phenomenon in the northern areas. The cities also have their history and distinctive characteristics.
- Develop a new image for the northern and Barents region through photographs of bustling city life
- Establish a new meeting place for photographers
- Select on application eight photographers under the age of 36 to participate in the project, distributed by country
- Six workshops will be held in Oulu, Rovaniemi, Murmansk, Syktyvkar, Kiruna/Luleå and Bodø/Tromsø
- Prepare web site and an exhibition to present the photographs
- Exhibition will tour the region and Europe
The project is a collaboration between the Nordic Centre of Photography, the Art Council of Oulu Province and the Arts Council of Lapland. The Nordic Centre of Photography will coordinate the project. The members of the project’s steering committee are Hannele Pappila, a leading artist in the Art Council of Oulu Province, Jaakko Heikkillä, photographer/artist and chairman of the Arts Council of Lapland, Jussi Vilkuna, principal of the Art School in Oulunsalo and editor-in-chief of Kaltio, and Arja-Liisa Räisänen, managing director of the Northern Centre of Photography.
2002 Selection of photographers
2004 Exhibition to be completed and opened
Web gallery to be opened
2005 Exhibition tours the region
Migration - visual art
In the border municipality of Sør-Varanger work is in progress to create a centre to function as a meeting place for the region’s artists. One of their creative ideas is a site-specific project with migration as its theme. Migration related to the four national states in the region as well as ethnicity and the relation between these two phenomena. The project will be part of the 10-year anniversary of the Barents cooperation.
- Interaction between artists and the inhabitants, thus creating new meeting places
- Creating an identity by highlighting the migration and ethnicity issues in the Barents region of today and the past
- Invite 10-12 relevant artists on the basis of the theme
- Implement two workshops for project players
- Present the works of art in seven different locations in the region, with special meeting places in five of the locations. Special adaptation for children and young people
The culture group "Pikene på broen" (Girls on The Bridge) is responsible for the project in cooperation with the Border District Museum Kirkenes, Murmansk Art Museum, Arkhangelsk Art Museum, Ajette Sami and Fjell Museum, Jokkmokk House of Art, Luleå, Kiruna Municipality and Kemi Art Museum. A number of other art institutions will also contribute. The project is integrated into the region’s network.
2002 Project development
Selection of artists
2003 Production of exhibition
Presentation of exhibition
"The Second World War - 1000 letters about war and peace."
In 2005 the whole world will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. This war, with its loss of millions of human lives, has in a new way forced us to see connections between what a person was and what the war was. At the beginning of a new century, the understanding of human worth is just as relevant in the new millennium. In the new century the evaluation of the Second World War should be made without regard to which side one was on, but with the focus on what happened to the people in this tragic period.
- To develop a CD ROM and a web site that show letters from the period 1939-1945, written by inhabitants in Russia, Finland and Norway, and stored in the national museums and archives
- To depict ordinary people in the Second World War based on original letters
- To strengthen the ties in the Barents region through scientific and cultural cooperation and interaction
- To promote the development of humanistic ideas in modern society
The main strategy is to promote the development of humanistic ideas in modern society and to create a dialogue between generations and communities.
- Historical/cultural; to explore and document the fate of individuals in the Second World War for a broad audience
- Financial; exchange experiences from the development of information technology
The Ministry of Cultural Affairs in the Komi Republic and the National Museum in Komi will be responsible for developing the project.
2003 Establish a working group, project manager and project coordinator
Establish contact with all partners, museums and archives in Russia, Finland and Norway
Selection of documents to be published
2004 Develop CD ROM and web site; concept and structure, select texts to be included, programming
2005 Historical exhibition about the Second World War
Presentation of the CD ROM and web site in the National Museum in Komi on 9 May
During the course of the 10 years the Barents cooperation has existed, a number of visits have taken place between the Nordic countries and Russia. These have been group tours with various cultural players: groups of musicians, folk dancers, school bands, local historians, etc. The meetings have been based on developing interaction through common interests. This group of people can be characterised as players in voluntary cultural activities. Athletes are a significant group in this connection.
Another group has been professionals in various disciplines; museum employees, university employees, library employees, etc. What distinguishes this group is that its members have come together in seminars and conferences, and in this manner taken part in transferring knowledge, creating networks and in some instances starting joint projects. All these meetings have been and will also in the future be important arenas for the creation of a new identity.
A third phenomenon that supports the people-to-people meetings is friendship municipalities. This is generally between the municipalities on the Nordic side and Russia. Sixteen municipalities in Finnmark have friendship municipalities in Russia. Several of these also have friendship ties with municipalities in the other Scandinavian countries. This does not just involve cultural exchanges, but also tourism, schools, social issues and working life. Events, exchange of delegations and various cultural groups contribute to establishing meeting places and promoting innovative thinking in the Barents region.
The people-to-people work is to a great extent the responsibility of other bodies than the Culture Committee. It takes place bilaterally and will hopefully increase in the future, It is then up to the individual counties to consider supporting these activities financially, but the Culture Committee is of the opinion that this work is extremely important. Getting together at the grass roots level is a prerequisite if there is to be an interest in art and an art commitment at a multilateral level.
3 Festivals and seminars
In the past 10 years the Culture Committee has prioritised using culture festivals as arenas for communicating art and culture, and in this manner establish a network among artists and people working with art in the region. The starting point was that each county would organise a Barents Festival every year with participants from the other counties. There is a diversity of festivals; rock, jazz, traditional folk music, visual art and theme festivals. As more specific project emerged, the Culture Committee has not been as involved in the festival activities. The festivals were an expedient meeting place at the time the networks were lacking.
Today there are numerous networks. This leads to the festivals themselves organising an international repertoire and participation. Russians, Finns, Swedes and Norwegians are natural participants. Some examples: The Karelian Republic organises an international festival with fish as its theme. The cultural works and activities are characterised by breadth and diversity, and groups from the Barents region are naturally invited. The Kalakunda Fish Festival is a folk festival, where business and industry are invited as well. Fish as a commodity is not new. Since the Culture Committee also wants to focus on the connection between culture and business and industry, it particularly emphasises Kalakunda. Another example is the Varanger Festival in Finnmark County, with its main focus on jazz. Performers come from the entire region. Friendship municipality relations are also often cultivated in connection with the festival events. A third example is the international festival for traditional folk music, crafts and folk traditions organised in Umba in Murmansk County every third year. Another example on the Russian side is the International Jazz Festival in Arkhangelsk, which we want to revitalise within a Barents region perspective.
In the future the Culture Committee also wants to be involved in festivals as a basis for building networks and having arenas in which to present various cultural expressions. The main forces in this work will be the various players; institutions, organisations and the municipalities.
4 Bilateral projects
Most of the culture projects completed in the course of the cooperation period can be described as bilateral. The reasons are several; the complexity when there are four parties, long distances, small communities and a lack of resources. The bilateral projects have mainly been based on agreements between two to three counties in two to three countries. An example of this is the agreement and the systematic cooperation between the Karelian Republic and Västerbotten County Municipality. The players have included the county music organisation Botnia Musik, the Umeå International Jazz Festival, the Music College in Petrozavodsk and the Petrozavodsk Jazz Festival. A similar systematic collaboration takes place between Västerbotten County Municipality and Norra Österbotten. One project about to be established on the Russian – Norwegian side, “Arkhangelsk reads about the Barents Region”, ensures ICT cooperation between the libraries in Arkhangelsk and Northern Norway.
The bilateral cooperation agreement between Finnmark and Murmansk has also led to particularly extensive exchange and interaction activities. The geographical proximity is also of great importance.
The Culture Committee wants the counties to continue their bilateral activities in the culture area. The experiences and the networks are an important foundation for the multilateral work. Some bilateral projects are also potential multilateral projects, due to cultural/political reasons or in terms of quality.
The Barents region’s Culture Committee is responsible for this action plan and will ensure that it is implemented in line with the intentions. The Committee will meet annually. The progress of the programme will be reported then and submitted to the Regional Council. The costs of participation in this meeting are paid by the cooperating countries/counties.
Prerequisites for the realisation of the action plan:
- The Culture Committee implements the action plan in the respective counties and national communities
- All the countries participate; ideally all the participating counties in the individual projects, earmarked for the action plan
- Financial resources are made available through the national budgets of the four countries
- Financial resources are made available in the individual counties, earmarked for the action plan
The action plan is comprehensive. This means a coordinator is required who can follow up the various projects, organisationally and financially, and establish common arenas between the projects and market them. The coordination function follows the committee’s chairmanship.
The Culture Committee will submit its annual report on the progress of the work to the Regional Council and all contributory partners, and the final report in the spring of 2006.