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Nordic youngsters break new cultural ground

The Nordic Culture Fund has today announced the project that will receive DKK 3 million to run the NORDIC CHILDREN AND YOUTH FESTIVAL 2013–2014 – a major cultural festival involving young people from across the Nordic Region.


Topias Tuononen och Tero Sarkkinen från Teater Satama vill att den vandrande kulturfestivalen ska riva kulturbarriärer och ge de medverkande ungdomarna många gränsöverskridande vänskaper.

The project “Nordligt Lys (Northern Lights)” consists of a touring cultural festival that will send children and young people on a creative, inter-cultural journey through the art, culture and geography of the Nordic Region.

The adjudication committee, comprising five younger experts and two of the Fund’s more experienced members, voted to award the grant to the three applicants: the Satama youth theatre from Joensuu in Finland and the Tornedal theatre from Pajala in Sweden, who will provide the creative drive, and Hlin Johannesdottir and Vilborg Einarsdottir from Iceland, both of whom have many years’ experience of creating and sharing cultural activities along with young people. They will be responsible for promoting and documenting the travelling youth festival.

“The Nordic Culture Fund is delighted to support the people behind Nordic Lights and their ambition to bring youth culture from all over the Nordic countries to their home regions, which are many kilometres north of their respective national capitals. All three partners are new to Nordic cultural co-operation. The Fund welcomes them as valuable players on the children’s and youth stage,” says Cristina Husmark-Pehrsson, who chairs the Board of the Nordic Culture Fund.

The adjudication committee’s statement

“The committee sees in this project an unconventional idea and well developed concept that will involve and bring together young people from across the Nordic Region. The committee also believes that the project is both innovative and visionary in its concept of the festival as a journey of adventure through a series of destinations across the Region, culminating in a joint festival in north-eastern Finland in August 2014.

In this way, the project forges links between the western and eastern parts of the Region, and brings the various Nordic cultures together as one. The festival concept also displays a commitment and enthusiasm that is nothing short of contagious. The committee’s younger members agreed that this was a festival in which people would be really eager to take part, because it exudes both exuberant artistic professionalism and a passion for young people’s art and culture.

Collectively, the Satama theatre from Finland, the Tornedal theatre from Sweden and the Ursus Parvus media-production team from Iceland have a diverse artistic network in the rest of the Nordic Region. They also possess an invaluable combination of skills in many facets of youth culture, particularly with regard to minority cultures, communication and documentation.”

The recipients now have to refine their plans for bringing together young people from across the Nordic Region in a way that transcends cultural, linguistic and political borders and culminates in the festival in the most easterly part of Finland.

The Nordic Lights festival will involve groups of 15–20 young people from across the Region working in theatre, dance, circus skills, visual arts and music, and will represent both traditional and modern local cultures.

The tour will commence across the Region, with youngsters in Greenland, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Norway and Denmark all taking part, and will conclude in summer 2014 with a two-week mobile art festival in eastern Finland. Five groups of young artists will dance, sing and perform their way to the town of Joensuu, travelling by car, train, bus, boat, aeroplane and on foot.


Teater Satama, Finland
Based in Joensuu, Satama is a theatre for young people aged 13–17, which promotes intercultural youth work in east Finland. Roughly 20% of the 50–60 young people who take part come from immigrant backgrounds. Satama provides a secure and inspirational framework in which young people are able to express themselves creatively through the theatrical arts and thought-provoking theatrical productions. The aim is to teach young people to be responsible, to be tolerant and to work together on their own initiative.
Director Tero Sarkkinen, Tel.: +358 442067661

Tornedalsteatern, Sweden

The Tornedal theatre, located in the town of Pajala in Norbotten, has been developing and presenting children’s and youth theatre throughout the Tornedal region for quarter of a century. It works in Tornedal Finnish (or meänkieli) which is spoken in the Nordkalotten. Meänkieli, meaning “our language”, is one of Sweden’s official minority languages.
The Tornedal theatre stages performances in which the language is an artistically significant element. It works closely with children’s daycare institutions and schools, and with both professional and amateur actors
Director Lars G. Thelestam, , Tel.: +46-70-6662220,

Ursus Parvus, Iceland
Hlin Johannesdottir and Vilborg Einarsdottir are journalists, photographers, cinematographers, producers, media consultants, writers and documentary-makers based in Reykjavik, and with wide-ranging experience of working in Greenland, Iceland and the USA. They are also the co-founders of the PR and production company Ursus Parvus. They will be responsible for media visibility throughout the Nordic Region and will document the festival though film, blogs and social media.
Vilborg Einarsdottir,, Tel.: +354 866 7192