Concept for joint nordic cultural ventures

28.10.15 | Declaration



This paper has been drafted by the Working Group that was set up during the Danish presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers to develop the concept of future joint Nordic cultural ventures. This paper aims to present the concept in practical terms – i.e. as a manual – for future ventures. This concept paper clarifies terms and sets the organisational framework for future joint Nordic cultural ventures and provides answers to: Who does what, when and with whom? The concept paper should therefore be seen as a practical tool for use when making decisions about joint Nordic cultural ventures and when planning joint ventures. This paper will enable participants to respond to global interest in Nordic matters in a well-prepared and qualified manner through the realisation of a specific venture.

The concept is based on previous experience of joint Nordic cultural ventures, particularly Nordic Cool 2013 in Washington, and is being tested as part of a joint Nordic cultural venture in 2017.


What is a joint Nordic cultural venture?

A joint Nordic cultural venture is a cultural event, such as a festival, a major event or a series of smaller projects, that occurs outside the region.

The cultural venture may vary in content, size and character: It may be one major venture or a series of smaller projects united by a common theme or a common venue etc. Additionally, the venture may be attached to an existing festival or cultural event at the destination.

The cultural venture should involve several art forms and focus on innovation, which may help to promote the art scene in the Nordic Region and internationally.

The Working Group recommends the establishment of a visual identity for joint Nordic cultural ventures and a general name or appellation for the ventures. Both the name and visual identity are to be integrated into the Nordic Council of Ministers’ branding strategy.

All the Nordic countries, Greenland, the Faroe Islands and Åland must be represented in a joint Nordic cultural venture. Countries may decide not to participate in the venture, but no more than two of the Nordic countries and no more than two from among Greenland, the Faroe Islands and Åland may abstain from any one venture.


What is the purpose of a joint cultural venture?

The primary objective of joint Nordic cultural ventures should always be to strengthen the interaction of the Nordic cultural sectors with the rest of the world and to raise their profile abroad, as well as to generate added value for the participants/artists and thus raise the creative profile the Nordic Region.


Who decides on the organisation of joint Nordic cultural ventures?

The Nordic ministers for culture will decide on the implementation of a joint Nordic cultural venture.

To prepare for the decision of the ministers for culture on future cultural ventures, a permanent steering committee is being set up that will include representatives from all the Nordic countries, Greenland, the Faroe Islands and Åland. Each country is to be represented by two members, one representing the relevant authorities and the other representing the country’s relevant cultural participants. Greenland, the Faroe Islands and Åland are each to be represented by one member, who may be either an authority or a cultural representative.

The steering committee will receive and consider proposals for cultural ventures within the mandate provided by the Nordic Council of Ministers. Proposed ventures may be unsolicited, there may be open calls for project proposals, or there may be invitations for expressions of interest for possible destinations. The steering committee will explore interest in the specific projects in the Nordic countries and their cultural environments and will be responsible for overall project management in relation to individual projects. The ventures and the intervals between them will be driven by demand at the destinations and in the Nordic countries. This means that the level of activity of the steering committee may vary.

The steering committee will be assisted by a secretariat.



Criteria and principles for joint cultural ventures

Proposed joint cultural ventures are to be evaluated based on the following principles and criteria:

  • High Quality
    The content of the cultural venture must be of a high artistic quality and cultural value and be selected on the basis of quality criteria.
  • Local interest, demand and relevant partners at the destination
    Demand for and interest in a Nordic cultural venture at the destination are to be prerequisites for the venture. Key qualified partners at the destination should be involved in the venture.
  • Domestic/Nordic interest, demand and relevant partners in the Nordic Region
    The destination must be chosen on the basis of prior explorations among a wide range of relevant participants, who will then be able to provide support for the selection. The content of the venture must be structured in dialogue with local partners at the destination.

    Key cultural participants from the individual Nordic countries should see a purpose in participating in the cultural venture and have an interest in contributing to the venture. The key cultural participants may include agencies for culture and culture councils, film institutes, design organisations, arts organisations, industry organisations and operators including cultural institutes and embassies.

  • Long-term perspective

The cultural venture should have a perspective that stretches beyond the venture itself. Parallel to the venture, there should be opportunities for meetings to take place – i.e. forums for sales meetings and networking – for the artists and their associations. Furthermore, the venture should create an opportunity for the formation and development of networks of local artists and participating Nordic artists.

The project description should incorporate:

  • Measurable, long-term, quantitative and qualitative targets and impact of the venture.
  • Clear and ranked success criteria that are specific to an individual venture.
  • A funding plan for the venture.

Ventures should be evaluated after a period of three years.

Organisation of adopted cultural ventures

A project group will be set up at the local destination for the individual joint Nordic cultural venture. The project group will consist of relevant local participants for the cultural venture, including embassy representatives and representatives of locally involved cultural participants.

The role of the project group will include:

  • Ensuring the project’s progress
  • Ensuring co-ordination between the participants
  • Formulating success criteria and objectives, developing risk and stakeholder analyses, and establishing a communication and media strategy
  • Developing a budget and funding plan, including exploring funding opportunities
  • Investigating and ensuring quality content
  • Determining national contexts for participants and policies
  • Carrying out evaluations

The project group is part of the dialogue among all relevant participants and may set up a reference group with resource persons affiliated with the venture, if deemed appropriate.

Secretariat services and project management will be funded by the budget for the venture and located where most appropriate in relation to each project.

The following participants are to be included in co-ordination and communication across the Nordic and national levels and at the destination:

  • A permanent steering committee, which keeps track of the venture at the Nordic level and has overall responsibility for the project.

  •  A project manager or co-ordinator at the destination who manages the activities at the destination.

  • A national co-ordinator for each country and who is the contact for that country.


Interest in a joint Nordic cultural venture is reflected in its funding, for instance. The joint Nordic cultural venture may be financed through public and private Nordic and national funds, as well as local funds from the destination.

Each year the Nordic Council of Ministers will decide on an amount for the steering committee, taking into account the level of activity planned for that year.



The individual joint Nordic ventures should be evaluated on the basis of quantitative and qualitative targets based on the specific venture. The evaluation should take place immediately following the venture and again after three years.

As part of the evaluation, in the years following the venture the participants at the destination will report on its measurable impact.


Updates to the concept for joint Nordic cultural ventures

The concept may be reviewed by the Nordic ministers for culture on an ongoing basis in the light of new experiences in connection with decisions on, preparation for and implementation of joint Nordic cultural ventures.