Biskops Arnö, Sweden: Funnelling artists through a design funnel for Nordisk Kulturfond. Aug '13


Just spent three days on an Island, just outside of Stockholm challenging and being challenged by artists representing the five Nordic countries: Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. Biskops Arnö provided the perfect setting for the Nordic Culture fund to invite around twenty artists spanning visual art, literature, perfuming arts, film and music. Selected by various agencies: Danish Agency for Culture, the Icelandic Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, Arts Council Norway, Arts Promotion Centre Finland and the Swedish Arts Council, their aim was 'to act as a source of inspiration and provide participants with the information and skills to propose ideas for art and culture projects that transcend Nordic borders, as well as ideas for project funding.'


The Culture Fund and the Nordic Council of Ministers are charged with promoting closer co-operation on art and culture in the Nordic Region. "We want to facilitate more cross-border collaborations and to bring together artists and organisations from circles we have not previously reached.
Over the next few years, the Fund and Council of Ministers will focus their funding and support on initiatives that promote greater diversity and wider participation in cultural co-operation, and on increasing the number of initiatives that reflect the diversity of the modern Nordic community. The aim is that the content of the Fund’s projects should reflect more closely the diversity of cultural idioms in the Region."


Handling Ideas was invited to drive a workshop that would span the two days. The fund's need for greater visibility and expression of the thinking behind submitted projects encouraged Handling Ideas to create a workshop that explored both the analytical and creative steps behind its own design methodology.


Funnelling the artists into a rigid frame brought some tension, but seemingly the right level of frustration that initiated a dialogue between the participants. The wish to know more about one another may well spark new relationships, and greater potential in cross border collaboration.


The proof will come from the fruits of these potential joint ventures. Watch this space…watch the Nordic space.


Paul Tyler