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The Board of the Fund has also agreed to establish a partnership project for knowledge-based co-operation in the Nordic Region. The objective is to create a broader context for cultural policy and a new starting point for work with art, culture and policy.

Extra grant following controversial proposal for savings in Nordic co-operation on culture
The prime ministers' proposal to make extensive cuts to the budget for cultural co-operation prompted widespread criticism and political opposition throughout the Region. The co-operation ministers and the Nordic Council have now reached a compromise on the budget for 2021, and the Fund will receive an extra DKK 750,000.

"On the one hand, 2020 has been a very tough year for culture. The Fund has done everything it can to help funding applicants, to strengthen and extend the opportunities available to them. On the other hand, 2020 has also been a year of exceptional support for our work from, in particular from the worlds of politics and culture. As a result, the budget savings are far less than first anticipated," says Jorodd Asphjell, Chair of the Board of the Nordic Culture Fund

New project to draw up the Nordic cultural policy of the future
The Board decided to facilitate a project that will create new contexts for the development of cultural policy in the Nordic Region. The objective is to generate insights that rise above linguistic and other barriers, encourage learning and new initiatives that transcend sectors and nations, and build a foundation for a broader approach to funding the arts and culture in the Region.

"The Fund felt that there was a momentum to do something here and now. The identity of the Nordic Region is changing, and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing dilemmas and frustrations in the cultural sector. We want to work with more people, create new contexts and adopt an even more long-term approach to create better conditions for the arts and culture in the Region," Asphjell adds.

Fund Director Benny Marcel sees the project as an important step in strengthening the role of the arts and culture in society.

"In 2020, we have seen the extent of the backing that our work enjoys in the world of art and culture. We have been in direct contact with a great many people involved in the sector. Through our funding programmes, we have seen how arts and culture have helped create an entirely new way of working with and understanding Nordic co-operation.

The new project represents an opportunity to take another major step forward. In 2021, we will draw on over half a century of experience to come up with something brand new and long term. Specifically, we want to come up with an organisation capable of collating knowledge from our various countries and developing the cultural policy of the future for the Region. We need fresh ways of engaging with knowledge, dialogue and partnerships. For as long as this work is done at national level, not everything we learn will always cross borders. This project will develop a new platform for discussing and unlocking the potential of the arts and culture, both for the individual and for the broader social cohesion of the Region," he said.

The Fund will now begin the process of devising a model for the project, entering into agreements on initial partnerships and setting up a project organisation. It expects to launch the project in autumn 2021.