Together for a new Nordic Region Using culture to break down barriers The Nordic Culture Fund works to support an innovative and dynamic artistic and cultural scene in the Nordic Region, one that is diverse, accessible and of high quality.
The Fund contributes to positive artistic and cultural development in the Nordic Region by promoting co-operation between Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland. It does so by gathering knowledge and information, building networks and providing financial support.
The Fund was established in 1966, based on an agreement between all of the Nordic countries. It currently has a budget of DKK 36 million, the majority of which is awarded in the form of grants to projects in the Nordic Region and beyond. In recent years, the Fund has also evolved into an active participant in and facilitator of networks, the aim of which is to support the development of cultural policy in the Nordic Region.
The Nordic Culture Fund's grants are financed from the budget of the Nordic Council Ministers which is approved by the Nordic Council. The Fund is therefore a part of the official Nordic collaboration. The Nordic Culture Fund has according to its agreement also possibility to receive other funds for its purposes. In connection with allocation of puls funding The Fund has received funds from Nordic Council of Ministers for Culture, MES (Finnish Music Foundation) and Statens Kunstfond in Denmark.
Since its inception in 1966, the Nordic Culture Fund’s core task has been to allocate projet funding. Today, has three channels: the general project fund which has three annual deadlines, OPSTART and the priority theme funding pools.
OPSTART: The OPSTART fund was launched in 2015. OPSTART supports the initial development and networking phase that precedes major Nordic projects. There are no application deadlines. The Fund notifies applicants of its decision within two weeks. The maximum OPSTART grant is DKK 25,000.
Priority theme pools: The Nordic Culture fund's priority theme pools are established to support the current cultural policy initiatives. In 2016 the fund has allocated funding within the initiative HANDMADE. HANDMADE grants are also awarded during 2018 as a part of the project funding pool. In 2017-2019 funding is also distributed within the puls initiative which acts a springboard for the creation of a Nordic music network.
The Fund reserves also a proportion of its budget for pool slinked to more specific themes chosen to support its general work on the development of cultural policy. Appropriate themes are identified and pools established on a regular basis and as part of a dynamic process.
Cultural policy initiatives
In recent years, the Nordic Culture Fund has evolved into an active participant in and facilitator of new networks, the aim of which is to develop cultural policy in the Nordic Region. The Fund offers forums for promoting, developing and disseminating knowledge about culture and cultural policy through the acquisition of knowledge and working with relevant stakeholders. The Fund identifies current, relevant themes related to cultural policy, as well as relevant stakeholders who are well placed to address these issues. The Fund also participates in existing networks and develops dialogue with other stakeholders.
In 2016–18, the Nordic Culture Fund will focus on communications. Stakeholders in the Nordic countries have demonstrated a growing interest in the Fund becoming more active and visible. It is becoming increasingly important that the Fund monitors and participates in new forums, networks and initiatives. Funding external communication initiatives underpins this part of its work.
Board member: Mogens Jensen, Member of Parliament, Chairman of the Board
Substitute: Jan Erik Messmann, Member of Parliament
Board member: Per Voetmann, sector manager for culture, leisure and citizen services, Lolland Municipality
Substitute: Per Nylykke, Ministry of Culture
Board member: Martin Næs, Head of Department, Mentamálaráðið, Vice Chairman of the Board
Substitute: Alda Joensen, Mentamálaráðið
Board member: Paavo Arhinmäki, Member of Parliament
Board Substitute: Johanna Karimäki, Member of Parliament
Board member: Riitta Kaivosoja, Director General, Department for Cultural, Sport and Youth Policy, Ministry of Education and Culture
Substitute: Sini Keinonen, Ministry of Education and Culture
Board member: Steinunn Þóra Árnadóttir, Member of Parliament
Substitute: Anna Kolbrún Árnadóttir, Member of Parliament
Board member: Aðalsteinn Asberg Sigurðsson, writer and musician
Substitute: Karitas H. Gunnarsdóttir, Head of Department, Ministry of Education Science and Culture
Board member: Jorodd Asphjell, Member of Parliament
Substitute: Helge Andre Njåstad, Member of Parliament
Board member: Kristin Danielsen, direktor, Arts council Norway
Substitute: Øystein Vidar Strand, Head of Department, Ministry of Culture
Board member: Hans Wallmark, Member of Parliament
Substitute: Peter Johnsson, Member of Parliament
Board member: Signe Westin, Deputy General Director, Swedish Arts Council
Substitute: David Karlsson, historian and culture writer
Board Member: Niviaq Korneliussen, writer
Substitute: Johan Lund Olsen, political advisor
Board Member: Mikael Staffans, Member of Parliament of Åland
Substitute: Tony Wikström, Member of Parliament of Åland
The Fund’s panel of experts has 21 members. They provide quality assurance, ensure that the views of people outside ‘official’ Nordic circles are taken into account and guarantee support for the work of the Fund at national level. Experts are appointed for three years at a time and provide valuable professional input to the Culture Fund by assuring the quality of applications and establishing new contacts and networks.
The Nordic Culture Fund’s panel consists of experts in art and culture and are appointed by the Board.
Kai Gunnar Lehikoinen
The Faroe Islands:
Christian Fleicher Rex
Samúel Jón Samuelsson
Markús Þór Andrésson
Malika Makouf Rasmussen
The Nordic Culture Fund's Project Ambassadors
The Nordic Culture Fund's Project Ambassadors are helping to mobilize new actors, shorten the way for applicants to the Fund and raise awareness of the Fund. The ambassadors can reach the potential applicants through their own network and give advice on how to implement Nordic culture projects based on their own experiences. The Project Ambassadors come from different Nordic countries and they work daily within various sectors of the cultural world.
Jonatan Habib Engqvistjonatan(at)philosophy.se
Jonatan Habib Engqvist is a theorist, curator, teacher and freelancer. He has produced international programs and exhibitions i.a. in Norway, Sweden and Iceland. He has also written for and edited various journals and books.
Astri Fremmerlid has a versatile career in the museum sector. She worked as the project manager in establishing the Perspective museum in Tromssa, and has worked as the museum’s director since 1995. Astrid has also worked as an associate professor at the University Museum in Tromssa and as the director of The Regional Museum in Trondarne. She is educated as Cand.Phil in ethonology, sociology and geography from the University of Bergen.
Ása Richardsdóttir has worked in culture, politics and media for three decades, producing, leading and creating various events and projects. She i.e. founded one of Reykjavik’s independent theatres in 1994 and was the executive director of Iceland Dance Company for eight years.
Mikaela Westerlund is the executive director of film agency Walhalla in Finland. She is also the film secretary at the Finland-Swedish Film Centre which strives for an active and vibrant Swedish film culture in Finland. She has studied Nordic literature, media culture and video production and works also with scriptwriting and film directing.
Sofia Enros from Åland is a swing dancer with a great passion for jazz. She has worked as the manager for several dance festivals and together with her partner Daniel Johansson she teaches dance styles from the 1920-1930’s around Europe and the US. Sofia is working as the manager of LGBT association Regnbågsfyren and is passionate about development, yield, age-integrated venues and active participation.
Jette Sunesen, director of Aarhus Centre for Literature, has studies literature and art history. Since 1996 she has worked with developing and spreading the literary landscape in Aarhus. She has worked at the association “Litteraturen på Scenen”, Kulturhus Aarhus, Aarhus Festuge and since 2012 as the director of Aarhus Centre for Literature. During the years Jette has participated in several collaborations and worked with both national and international partners. She has a large network and holds an extensive knowledge within art and literature.
Søren B. Kristensenrocktraum(at)gmail.com
Søren B. Kristensen is the fund's Project Ambassadors for the funding programme puls. He is the driving force behind many concerts, activities and musical societies in Denmark, such as Project Nordic Band Camp, record label association Labelkollektiv and Nordkraft (Center for culture and leisure in Aalborg). Søren is a member of The Danish Arts Foundation’s Committee for Music Project Funding 2016-2017. He was the chairman of ORA – Organisation for Rhytmic Amateur musicians in 2010-2013.
Mari Savio is the fund's Project Ambassadors for the funding programme HANDMADE. She helps to mobilize new applicants and gives advice on how to implement Nordic culture projects. Mari works as a designer, often in DIY-related projects, and develops projects at SuoMu – the Finnish Association of Design Learning. She has worked as a ‘Regional Artist’ for Taike, Arts Promotion Centre Finland, and has published several books on DIY and crafts.
Olivur Eystberg is a record company employee and store manager of the Faroese record company Tutl. He is a bookseller and for a number of years he has also worked as a film technician and operator. He is engaged in Havnar Jazzfelag, which organizes the Vetrarjazz music festival. Furthermore, Olivur has a great interest in art photography.
Nivi Christensen is Head of Nuuk Art Museum. She has produced a number of art exhibitions and has worked to spread the knowledge of Greenlandic art. She has studied Art History and written articles specifically for the Greenlandic art and culture magazine Neriusaaq. She has also contributed to a number of books on Greenlandic art.