Nordic-Baltic/Russian Culture Assembly in Visby, May 16-19, 2007
Nordic Culture Assembly in Visby, May 16-19, 2007

The Nordic-Baltic/Russian Culture Assembly is a joined event of the Nordic Artists’ Councils, hosted by the Swedish Joint Committee for Artistic and Literary Professionals (KLYS) and the Baltic Centre for Writers and Translators (BCWT) in Visby. More than 60 artists, politicians, officials and civil servants from Denmark, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Faeroe Islands, Greenland, Sapmi, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Germany and Sweden will discuss cultural policies and cultural cooperation. The Assembly is coordinated in time and partially in program with the Baltic Meetings, arranged by the Baltic Writers Council (BWC).

The Culture Assembly is arranged with support from Nordic Cultural Fund, Municipality of Gotland, Swedish Arts Council and Swedish Institute.


Day 1
Wednesday, May 16
Cultures in the Nordic region and around the Baltic Sea
A joint day for the Nordic Artists’ Councils and the Baltic Writers’ Council (BWC).

Language: English

Location: Congress Hall, Visby
Opening speech by Inger Harlevi (Chairman of the Gotland Municipal Cultural Committee)
Short speeches by Lena Pasternak (BCWT), Klaus-Jürgen Liedtke (BWC) and Karin Enberg (KLYS)

Cultures in the Nordic region and around the Baltic Sea seen from different perspectives

Tor Eystein Överås: Waking up in Oslo and going to sleep in Riga – about the Baltic Sea cultures.

Andrey Bitov (St Petersburg/Moscow) reads to the accompaniment of Vladimir Tarasov (Vilnius), percussion, and Rosemarie Tietze (Munich), translation.

Rose-Marie Huuva: About Sami culture

Sami joik by Mathis Haetta


Discussion between P O Enquist, Argita Daudze (who has translated Enquist and is Latvia’s ambassador in Prague) and Mats Hellström about cultural affinity in the Baltic Sea region.

Erika Drungyte (Kaunas) – Lithuanian folk song

Ilya Foniakov: Next stop St Petersburg. About the invitation to next year’s BWC meeting.

Reception in the County Governor’s residence for all conference participants.

Day 2
Thursday, May 17
The Nordic Artists’ Assembly opens. First part: The situation for artists in Scandinavia and around the Baltic Sea.
(The BWC has a separate programme on this day)

Languages: ‘Scandinavian’ / English

Location: Gotland University
Moderator during the morning session: Karin Enberg

Introductory speech:
Karin Enberg, President of KLYS, Sweden
Franz Ernst, President of the Council of Danish Artists (Dansk Kunstnerråd)

“How things are just now...”
Presentations from Russia and the Baltic Sea countries
Presentations from Norway, Finland, Iceland, the Faeroe Islands, the Sami region, Greenland.


Discussion: What are the conditions for artists in their respective countries? What can we learn from each other?


Moderator during the afternoon session: Jonas Forssell.

The new arrangement in the Nordic Council of Ministers. What is happening to the at arm’s length principle? And where did the expert groups disappear?

Riitta Heinämaa (advisor to the Nordic Council of Ministers in Copenhagen on questions concerning Nordic cultural cooperation, especially within the field of art)

Henrik Wenzel Andresen (head of the Music Centre of the Danish Arts Agency, and president of the joint organisation of Nordic music centres, NordMic)

Discussion. The role of the Nordic Council of Ministers in Nordic cultural cooperation.


Cultural cooperation in the Nordic countries and around the Baltic Sea – opportunities and obstacles.

Rikke Helms (director of the Danish Cultural Institute in St Petersburg)
Mats Hellström: Is there a Baltic Sea region identity? Illusion or reality?
Inger Harlevi (Gotland Municipality) Gotland as a cultural meeting place

16.15 – 17.30
Discussion: Cultural cooperation in the Nordic region and around the Baltic Sea.

Dinner buffet

Day 3
Friday, May 18
The Artists’ Assembly continues. Part two: Cultural policy by and for who?
(The BWC has a separate programme on this day)

Languages: ‘Scandinavian’ / English.
Moderator during the morning session: Susin Lindblom

The Nordic region and the EU – confrontation or cooperation? The example of EU pressure on the Nordic Public Lending Right (PLR) compensation systems.

Carl Tham: Cultural politics in the Nordic region seen in a historical perspective, as well as the Baltic challenge and EU. (Swedish Minister of Education 1994-98, former president of the Swedish Arts Grants Committee [Konstnärsnämnden])

Jesper Söderström: Director of the Swedish Authors’ Fund [Författarfonden]


Discussion from the starting point of the introductions – about the Nordic region, the Baltic Sea region and EU

Cultural policy that recognises diversity?
Can the UNESCO Convention of the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions be a tool for us, in EU-contexts and to enable minority groups to enjoy a cultural policy that is meant for them?

Peter Curman on the UNESCO convention of cultural diversity
Mathis Haetta (Sami Art Council )
Jessie Kleemann (Greenland)
Sanna Tahvanainen (Åland)
Chris Torch (Intercult)


Moderator during the afternoon session: Bernt Lindberg

Presentation of the Norwegian proposal to establish culture in the Constitution, to be followed by a discussion: Is the Norwegian model applicable in our own countries? Is it in accordance with the UNESCO convention on cultural diversity?

How do we move on?
The formation of a working party with Nordic and Baltic Sea region participants in order to further promote the questions that the meeting has identified. How should the cooperation be continued? Priorities. Resolutions.

15.00 (Approx.)
Coffee and conclusion of the Artists’ Assembly.

Day 4
Saturday, May 19
The Baltic Sea region in the perspective of European regions
Voluntary participation in BWC’s programme.

Location: Main Hall, Gotland University

Theme for the day: Appreciating culture as culture – and how culture interacts with commerce and national policy


Representatives of writers’ and artists’ associations (in the Nordic region, the Baltic states, Russia and Germany) and cultural institutions in the Baltic Sea region.
Conversation between the introducers and the other delegates; summary and outlook.


Final speech; message for St Petersburg.

Lunch, departure.

The organisers reserve the right to make changes in the programme

Program (ENG)