At the conference ‘The Art of Scene Changing’, the director of Audiences Norway, Harm–Chrstian Tolden, spoke passionately about the development of the cultural network in Norway. He revealed the current and future prospects of Audiences Norway, among which were the overall topic of an upcoming conference in Bergen 2011.
By Ginka Rinkova
In the 1990s in the city of Bergen, artists came together out of a necessity to build a sustainable network for collaboration. A proposal with ideas for cultural innovation was presented to the politicians, and couple of years later, in 2000, Bergen became a ‘Cultural Capital of Europe’ together with nine other cities. Diverse projects based on common marketing were carried out, and the country collaborated cross-culturally over different artistic borders. Politicians, artists and bureaucrats took the initiative to visit UK and meet the audience development organisations which have been running there for more than 30 years. And then a national network for audience development was established – which was a good timing in Norway because it also became part of the policy of the Cultural Ministry.
Only a year old now, and still in their infancy, Audiences Norway is currently an active and devoted member of Audiences Europe Network. As a participant in the project ‘Extending the Margins’, Audiences Norway is going to be hosting a conference in Bergen in the beginning of June 2011 – the very first event unfolding on the ‘Extending the Margins’ programme.
The conference in Bergen will focus on organisational change – in particular organisational change towards leadership, revealed Harm–Christian Tolden:
“Leadership in cultural organisations is going to be the overall theme – the horizontal topics. Then we will have several tracks going on, one of which will be focusing on collaboration, for instance: how to collaborate between visual arts and contemporary music, which is an initiative that is already existing within the Nordic sphere.”
Audiences Norway will also participate in three series of conferences held within the Nordic countries:
“Besides being a European and EU-supported initiative, the conference in Bergen in 2011 is also an initiative which involves creating a series of three Nordic conferences. It starts in Bergen in May-June, and the countries for 2012 and 2013 have not been decided yet. However, it looks like it could be Sweden and Finland.”
A Nordic Cultural Fund supports the establishing of a Nordic “audiences network” which could become a great opportunity for conferences and discussions within the Nordic countries, “for instance within the contemporary music, and also within the visual field in Sweden”, said Harm–Christian Tolden.
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