Intensifying efforts to promote Norwegian culture abroad

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In cooperation with the organisations in the Norwegian Arts Abroad network, Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt is launching a new programme aimed at helping Norwegian artists and cultural practitioners to succeed internationally. This is the first step in an intensified effort to promote Norwegian culture abroad.

The new programme will seek to enhance the ability of Norwegian artists and cultural practitioners to reach an international audience and foster contacts with relevant international partners.

‘We are stepping up our efforts to promote Norwegian culture abroad. Norway’s diplomatic and consular missions and our partners in the seven organisations in the Norwegian Arts Abroad network will work to increase international opportunities for Norwegian artists of all kinds. Activities will be targeted towards the Nordic countries, Germany, France, the UK and the US. The major and emerging markets in Asia will also be important. This initiative will involve increasing funding for international projects, travel and marketing activities to promote Norwegian cultural practitioners and to bring international cultural actors to Norway. Norwegian arts and culture will be showcased at the most important international cultural events, such as the art and architecture biennales in Venice, the design fair in Milan, the film festival in Toronto and the book fair in Frankfurt, as well as in smaller important creative arenas,’ Ms Huitfeldt said.       

‘Our overall goal is to increase Norwegian exports by 2030. And our aim is to expand cultural exports as part of this. The new interdisciplinary programme will be important in this context,’ she said.  

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has proposed an increase of NOK 8.6 million in funding for Norwegian cultural activities abroad in 2022. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, a major effort will be needed to promote Norwegian culture abroad and increase international opportunities for Norwegian cultural actors. 

‘Our aim is to have a cultural sector that provides viable livelihoods and offers a wide range of cultural experiences,’ said Minister of Culture and Equality Anette Trettebergstuen. ‘We will seek to create a framework that strengthens the rights, working conditions and financial situation of artists and other cultural practitioners. International opportunities are vital in this context. International activities and cooperation increase incomes and promote high-quality arts and cultural activities throughout Norway. We are implementing a large-scale initiative to raise awareness of Norwegian culture internationally.’  

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is providing NOK 2.3 million in funding for the new interdisciplinary pilot programme to promote Norwegian arts and culture internationally. The programme is intended to increase Norwegian cultural exports and will be carried out under the auspices of the Norwegian Arts Abroad network. Seven projects, one for each of the arts disciplines, have been selected by an international jury. Each creative project involves one Norwegian artist and one agent. The participants will receive training from Norwegian and international experts in presentation techniques, marketing activities, digital marketing and international launches. In addition, the exchange of knowledge across the various disciplines will be useful in bringing Norwegian arts and culture to a new international audience.    

The selected participants are: Amund Sjølie Sveen/Inger-Marie Lupton – Nordting Pan-Arctic project (performing arts), Jenny Kinge/Jennie Hagevik Bringaker – Femtensesse (visual arts), Maria Brinch/Elephant Kunsthall – Atlas on Iron (handicrafts), Victoria Kielland/Winje Agency – My Men (literature), Ellen Ugelstad/Tonje Alice Madsen – The Recovery Channel (film), Bendik Giske/Sofie B. Ringstad – Breathe (music), and  Jenkins & Uhnger/Nuen – Minus (design).