Scholarship recipients with Ministers for Foreign Affairs. Picture by Jonas Karlsbakk, Norwegian Barents Secretariat.
The First Barents Scholarships for Cultural Cooperation were awarded during the BEAC Ministerial in Arkhangelsk on 19 October to cultural actors, one from each of the member countries of the Barents Euro-Arctic region (Finland, Norway, Russia and Sweden). Four scholarships, each amounting 10 000 euros, were awarded to photographer Jaakko Heikkilä (Finland), travelling theatre Samovarteateret (Norway), poet and writer Mona Mörtlund (Sweden) and Ethno-Cultural Initiatives Support and Development Fund in the Republic of Karelia (Russia).
The goal of the Scholarship is to serve as a recognition of outstanding arts and culture, produced through cross-border cooperation in the Barents region. The purpose of the Scholarship is to bring up the cultural activities, artists and cultural cooperation in the Barents region. The Scholarship will be awarded on a bi-annual basis in the future.
The first recipients of the Barents Cultural Cooperation Scholarship have made for many years an impact with their exceptional work across borders in the field of performing arts.
Happy award winners after the ceremony on 19 October in Arkhangelsk. Picture by Jonas Karlsbakk, Norwegian Barents Secretariat.
Jaakko Heikkilä is a photographic artist from Tornionlaakso the Northern borderlands of Finland and Sweden. His themes have settled on minority people and populations. He is one of the first artists who began to work in the vast Barents region.
Samovarteateret, located in Kirkenes in Finnmark, has built up experience and a comprehensive network in the Barents region since its establishment in 1980. The core part of the artistic work of Samovarteateret is to gather, convey and tell stories from the Barents region and the border areas between Norway, Russia and Finland.
Mona Mörtlund writes children's literature, poetry and drama in both Swedish and in minority language, Meänkieli. In her production, she reflects the bilingual and multilingual identity and a loss of language. She has a deep and wide connection with the Barents area.
In Russia, the grant was awarded to the Ethno-Cultural initiatives Support and Development Fund (Republic of Karelia) for arranging in 2017 Kalakunda Ethno-Festival with participation of the Finnish artists. The Fund will spend the awarded Scholarship to arrange the international Kantele folklore music festival for youngsters in 2018.