07.09 - 30.09


What roles do art, culture, and creative industries play in creating a sustainable, dynamic, and viable regional society? The Vadsø Art Association, the Varanger festival, Vadsø guest studio (TFFK), the Artists’ Association of Lapland, and the Finnish Norwegian Cultural Institute invite artists to participate in a new open call.

We are opening a call to professional artists or artist groups from Finland or Finnish Lapland, as well as those who may not originally come from these areas, but who identify as northerners by virtue of either living in or having a connection with the north.

The open call is looking for site-specific projects to be produced in Vadsø during the Varanger festival in August 2023. The chosen artist(s) will also be invited to a two-week residency at Vadsø guest studio in January 2023. The open call seeks to encourage co-operation and dialogue beyond borders in the northern regions of Norway and Finland. We encourage artists to co-create in dialogue with the local community in Vadsø.

Theme of the call
The northern regions of Norway and Finland are under pressure, caused by the trend of people moving to urban areas due to ever-increasing urbanisation and politics. Research examining how to stem this trend and encourage people to relocate to these areas and contribute to their growth has pointed to sectors such as aquaculture, tourism, and wind power as part of the solution. But will this development be sustainable? And what about the quality of residents’ day-to-day lives and the businesses that are connected to the culture and human resources in the area as a possible source for growth? Are these resources shared across borders?

Although relations and co-operation with Finland have historically been strong, in light of the current political situation, there is a greater need for the countries to work together than ever before. We believe that art has an important role to play in contributing to positive development, and we want to strengthen collaboration in the field of arts and culture in the region. The exploration of this issue will be the focus of this open call.

Aim of the call:

  • To develop an outdoor and site-specific project in co-creation with the local community
  • To promote the positive development of the local society and communities
  • To add value to the Varanger festival through the addition of an on-site art project

About the area
The Sámi people are the indigenous people of the Troms and Finnmark region. Later on, it has been inhabited by Norwegians, Norwegian-Finns and Kven people. It is multicultural and boasts a mix of these cultures. It is important that people can preserve and communicate their culture and develop their art and cultural expression.

Vadsø is a small town on the Varanger peninsula, situated by the Varanger fjord. Although the fjord is incredibly rich in biodiversity and home to a variety of fish and mammals, it has been threatened by overfishing. Nature and the several rare species that call the Varanger peninsula home are now in a perilous situation.

Vadsø is the county capital of Finnmark and has been regarded as the Kven capital in the north, as it was a hub for Finnish-speaking migrants from northern Finland, Sweden and Russia in the 19th century. Sixty percent of the inhabitants were Finnish speaking, and their descendants are now acknowledged as Norwegian-Finns and the national minority Kven.

Grants and cost:
The cost of travel and accommodation in Vadsø for two weeks in January and one week in August 2023 will be covered. The grant for the project will be between NOK 20,000 and NOK 40,000. The cost of materials will have to be applied for from other sources.

Vadsø guest studio, located by the fjord, consists of an apartment and a studio, and is suited for between one and three artists. It has a small printing press and a kiln. The guest house is owned by Troms and Finnmark county authorities.

Address: Hvistendalsgate 57, Vadsø, Norway

Application criteria:
The open call for applications is open for professional Finnish and Finland-based artists or artists groups, as well as artists who identify as northerners. The application must demonstrate:

  • a connection to and interest in the northern region,
  • that the applicants identify themselves as a northerners by either living in or having a connection with the north,
  • experience with community arts or site-specific projects, and
  • a site-specific outdoor art project during the Varanger festival.

You can apply by sending a PDF to 

The application must contain:

  • Your motivation
  • A project plan (name, participants, purpose, description of a maximum of one page)
  • Examples of your earlier work
  • Your travel plan and budget
  • Your CV

The application must be written in English. The deadline is 30 September 2022.

The choice of project will be made by a panel from the Vadsø Art Association, the Varanger festival, Vadsø guest studio (TFFK), the Artists’ Association of Lapland, and the Finnish-Norwegian Cultural Institute.

7 September 2022: Call opens
30 September 2022: Application deadline
31 October 2022: Selection of the artists or artist groups
16 to 30 January 2023: Residency at Vadsø guest studio
9to 12 August 2023: Production of a site-specific art project in an outdoor space during the Varanger festival

For more information:
Please contact Monica Milch Gebhardt of the Vadsø Art Association at or +47 97153929

About the partners:

Vadsø Art Association
The Vadsø Art Association promotes art and art collaboration locally, regionally, and across borders from its base in Vadsø, Norway. The association has an exhibition space, project space, and art and craft mini shop in Gallerikiosken, Vadsø.

Vadsø guest studio (Troms and Finnmark County Authority)

The Artists’ Association of Lapland 
The association presents and promotes contemporary art made in Lapland and arranges exhibitions in Finland and abroad.

The Varanger festival
The festival is a multi-genre music event that takes place in Vadsø every year in week 32. The focus of the festival is on productions made especially for the festival featuring musicians and artists from the northern region.

The Finnish-Norwegian Cultural Institute
The institute promotes co-operation, dialogue, and mobility between Finnish and Norwegian artists and cultural actors.