Policy-dialogues strengthened the Nordic-Canadian cultural cooperation

05.04.22 | News
Outi Pieski, Gorži at Nordic Lights Festival, Nordic Bridges
Brian Medina

Outi Pieski's light installation Gorži at Nordic Lights Festival in Toronto during Nordic Bridges 2022. 

A series of virtual Nordic-Canadian policy-dialogues on arts and culture took place in the fall of 2021. A total of 180 participants examined topical questions related to the cultural dimension of sustainable development and the green transition, diversity of content online and the future of mobility and cultural export. A summary of the outcome has now been published, presenting 12 interesting takeaways.

During September to December 2021, three online dialogues were held by senior officials and experts from Canada and the Nordics. This series of policy-dialogues between Canada and the Nordics made it clear that the regions are committed to cultural sustainable development and diversity both in a national and an international context. Common concerns and initiatives show that Canada and the Nordics aim to promote strong democracies, social inclusion, cohesion and well-being in the societies by supporting and harnessing the arts and culture.

Cultural dimension of sustainable development

Tools for systematic change, international engagement, and combating misinformation and disinformation are just a few of the 12 takeaways presented in the think piece "Changing the system – promoting cultural sustainable development and diversity". The absence of culture in the Sustainable Development Goals and the challenges of integrating culture in the implementation strategies and reporting methods for Agenda 2030 are also highlighted.

“To put it simply: the lack of alignment of and synergies between different reporting systems may result in important evidence being neglected,” said Kimmo Aulake, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Education in Finland.  

Carbon-neutral cultural initiatives

The dialogues were initiated by the Finnish Presidency for the Nordic Council of Ministers for Culture and Canadian Heritage, in the year leading up to the Nordic cultural initiative Nordic Bridges 2022 in Canada. The aim was to complement the initiative´s collaboration between artists with deepened Nordic-Canadian contacts also in the areas of cultural policy and program administration, share knowledge and build networks, as well as strengthen the cultural dimension of sustainable development.

Laura McLeod, Project Manager of Nordic Bridges and Director of Cultural Engagement at Harbourfront Centre, shared their strategy when working with Nordic Bridges to ensure that this cultural initiative is carbon-neutral:

"Our aim for this is to be a carbon-neutral festival. We aim for this to leave no mark on the planet. It’s bold, but again we put a separate line in the budget to say what do we need to invest to make this happen. Carbon outsets, zero food waste from reception, from the little to the big; we are invested in this. It’s a new way forward in how Harbourfront Centre produces."

Expert opinions and takeaways

The think piece "Changing the system - promoting cultural sustainable development and diversity: Expert opinions from the Culture and Arts Policy Dialogues between Canada and the Nordics in 2021" can be read online (link below).