Stage Door News

Toronto: Harbourfront leads programming for the multidisciplinary arts initiative Nordic Bridges in 2021

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Canada will experience an infusion of contemporary Nordic culture in 2021 through Nordic Bridges, a year-long initiative taking place from coast-to-coast-to-coast fostering cultural exchange among the Nordic countries and Canada. Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, one of Canada’s leading contemporary multidisciplinary arts and cultural centres, will curate and lead programming for Nordic Bridges with funding support provided by the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Taking place January through December 2021, the nationwide initiative will highlight contemporary Nordic art and culture in a range of disciplines, including performing arts, visual and digital arts, craft and design, literature, film and culinary arts. Through collaborations between artists, leaders and thinkers, programming will build on shared values of creativity, innovation, inclusivity and sustainability between Canada and the Nordic region – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland.

Working with cultural partners across Canada, Nordic Bridges programming will be presented as part of scheduled programming seasons, festivals and tours, as well as industry and stand-alone events.

Nordic Bridges will connect audiences across Canada with contemporary Nordic culture and ideas through art and performance, to celebrate the things we have in common, while creating new experiences,” says Marah Braye, CEO, Harbourfront Centre. “Programs will provide for international collaborations, and the enhancement of existing programs with focus on the Nordic Region via four key pillars: artistic innovation, accessibility and inclusion, Indigenous perspectives, and resilience.”

“We’re delighted to present Canada as the host of the joint Nordic culture initiative in 2021, and we welcome their high levels of ambition, not least in terms of sustainability, inclusion and exploring new artistic expressions,” says Lilja Dögg Alfreðsdóttir, Icelandic Minister of Education, Science and Culture, on behalf of all eight Nordic Ministers for Culture. “With climate action high on agendas across the world, we believe that Nordic Bridges can provide a forum for discussions on the era we live in, and strengthen relations between people from the Nordic countries and across Canada.”

The Nordic Embassies in Canada played a pivotal role in securing Canada as the host of the 2021 Nordic Cultural Initiative, with the Nordic Ambassadors to Canada confirming: “The Nordic Embassies in Ottawa look forward to working with Harbourfront Centre and partners across Canada. The project will highlight contemporary Nordic culture and artistic innovation – creating valuable connections and opportunities for Nordic artists, as well as unique experiences for the Canadian audience. This initiative will demonstrate how culture and artists are integral in building bridges in all areas between societies that are free, equal, inclusive and sustainable.”

Canadian arts organizations and presenters can submit project proposals at The application deadline is December 13, 2019 at 5 pm EST. Projects will be selected through a curatorial process led by Harbourfront Centre’s public programming division.

About the Nordic Council of Ministers
The Nordic Council of Ministers is the official body for inter-governmental co-operation in the Nordic Region, which includes Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland. Their vision is to make the Nordic region the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030.

About the Joint Nordic Cultural Initiative
Joint Nordic Cultural Initiatives outside the Nordic region are initiated by the Nordic Council of Ministers for Culture and intended to strengthen the interaction between the Nordic cultural sectors and the rest of the world, raise the profile of the Nordic culture sectors abroad, and generate added value for the participants and artists. Previous Joint Nordic Cultural Initiatives include Nordic Cool (Kennedy Centre, Washington DC 2013), and Nordic Matters (Southbank Centre, London, UK 2017).

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