Publisert 18.12.2023

Strengthening networks and activities in the north

Design: Blank Blank

Since 2022, the Finnish-Norwegian Cultural Institute has run the Nord – Cultural Bridges programme. Its objective has been to strengthen networks and activities between cultural practitioners in northern Finland, northern Norway, and Sápmi.

During 2022 and 2023, the institute has actively worked to expand its expertise and to build new networks in the northern areas.

“Organisations and practitioners in the north work across national borders, which forms a natural starting point for collaboration. There is huge international interest in the northern regions, and Nordic co-operation in the region has become even more important in today’s political landscape”, says Pauliina Gauffin, director of the institute.

The institute’s staff have travelled around the north and met with cultural organisations, practitioners, and artists. Throughout the process, it has been important to respect and listen to local practitioners, learn from their knowledge, and identify their needs.

“We’re very grateful to have met so many people who have shared their expertise with us. We hope that we can use what we’ve learnt within our work in a meaningful way”, says Iiris Tarvonen, producer at the institute.



Group of four people walking in a wintery nature.

The institute’s producer Iiris Tarvonen and director Pauliina Gauffin participated in a bus trip and sauna performance by Pia Lindman at Barents Spektakel in February 2023. Pictured here in Bugøyenes. Photo: Pikene på Broen.

Long-term partnerships

Based on the networking trips, the institute formulated the NORD – Cultural Bridges programme. It consists of various events and projects including discussions, open calls, residencies, networking events, visitor programmes, and performances. Projects are initiated and run in collaboration with partners operating in the north, from institutions and organisations to individual artists and curators.

The programme concentrates on long-term partnerships and activities to create closer connections between cultural practitioners.



Group of people sitting on chairs and on the floor.

In 2023 the Finnish-Norwegian Cultural Institute partnered with Pikene på Broen to bring a group of Finland-based cultural producers and art curators to Barents Spektakel, and to organise a discussion format called “Cultural Carousel”. The event saw artists, researchers, and cultural practitioners from the Barents and Nordic regions share their experiences with the aim of starting new collaborations. Photo: Pikene på Broen.

A circus artist holding reindeer antlers, a sound designer and musician ,and a joiker on a dimly lit stage. Audience sitting on the floor.

Performance: ALAIAQ (2023), Festspillene i Nord-Norge. Working group: Ailu Valle, Aleksi Niittyvuopio, Lauri Uusitalo, and Jukka Huitila. Comissioned by Silence ry. In collaboration with Pikene på Broen and the Finnish-Norwegian Cultural Institute. Photo: Oleg Khadartsev.

A dancer in a wide standing position in front of a group of people.

“The world of art exists where we create it" - a performance lecture by Auri Ahola (2023), Festspillene i Nord-Norge. In collaboration with Silence ry, Pikene på Broen and the Finnish-Norwegian Cultural Institute. Photo: Oleg Khadartsev.

The institute acknowledges that Sápmi stretches over national borders and wants to support the development of Sámi art and Sámi artists on the communities’ own terms.

Sámi rights and the rights of national minorities have come under the spotlight recently in the cultural field, and truth and reconciliation processes are deeply relevant in both Norway and Finland. It’s especially important to reflect on our role in this painful history and to find ways to contribute to the development of minority and Sámi arts in a respectful way.

Pauliina Feodoroff’s Matriarchy was created for and premiered at The Sámi Pavilion as part of the Venice Biennale 2022. It was shown at the Oslo International Theatre Festival on 8 March 2023, supported by the Finnish-Norwegian Cultural Institute. Photo: Sinem Kayacan

The duo Hildá & Tuomas played a concert at the 2023 edition of Riddu Riđđu Festivála. The concert was supported by the Finnish-Norwegian Cultural Institute. Photo: Tero Ahonen & Ørjan Marakatt Bertelsen

Residency collaborations


People standing in a row.

Vadsø Megacity is a thought experiment explored by way of open workshops and an exhibition by filmmaker and community artist Miina Alajärvi, and filmmaker and visual artist Kirsikka Paakkinen. The project was selected by way of an open call in September 2022, launched as a collaboration between the institute, the Vadsø Art Association, the Varanger Festival, Vadsø guest studio, and the Artists’ Association of Lapland. The duo was invited to a residency in Vadsø in January 2023 where they met with local residents to co-create the project together. Pictured at the opening: André Kvernhaug (Varangerfestivalen), Wenche Pedersen (Mayor of Vadsø), Kirsikka Paakkinen, Miina Alajärvi and Pauliina Gauffin (Director, FINNO). Photo: Nico Rantala / Finnmark productions

Vadsø Megacity (2023) by Miina Alajärvi and Kirsikka Paakkinen. Vadsø Kunstforening. Photo: Nico Rantala / Finnmark productions.

Vadsø Megacity project and the workshops were documented by Finnmark productions. Photo: Nico Rantala / Finnmark productions.

Three dancers in reedbed.

The Finnish-Norwegian performing arts group Kaputt spent three weeks in residence at the Davvi - Centre for Performing Arts in Hammerfest in September 2023. The group was chosen by way of an open call, and consisted of actors Emilia Jansson, Ole Øwre and Tom Rejström, as well as playwright and director Otto Sandqvist. The residency is a collaboration between the Davvi Centre for Performing Arts, the Finnish-Norwegian Cultural Institute, and the Swedish Cultural Foundation. It focuses on making space for minority languages on the theatre stage. Photo: Nyvoll Film & Foto

“We’re delighted to see that the partners involved in the projects have already built lasting connections, and we’re looking forward to planning new collaboration projects together. We’re very excited to see what the future will bring,” Pauliina Gauffin says.

The programme will continue to run during 2024. Follow our channels to get updates on the upcoming projects!

Find information on all the NORD projects.