Cross-border regional cooperation in the field of culture is an integral part of the Barents cooperation. The development of cultural life serves the social and economic development in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region.

The aim of the Working Group on Culture (WGC) is to strengthen cultural identities, multicultural dialogue and cultural ties between the Barents countries and the regions. In addition to the regional cultural administrations, the WGC has representation from the Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish ministries responsible for culture and from the Working Group of Indigenous Peoples.

Barents Scholarship for Cultural Cooperation 2023 awarded to Koli Art Residence (FIN), Marit Shirin Carolasdotter (SWE) and Ekaterina Bespalova (NOR) (Photo: Janne Käyhkö)

The latest Strategy of Cultural Cooperation "Creative Barents" (2019-2023) takes into account wide possibilities to enhance cultural policy dialogue and practical cooperation. The overall mission is to promote the role of culture in meeting the overall objective of the Barents Programme on social and economic growth trough a knowledge driven economy and the sustainable development of the region's natural and human resources. Thematic priorities and objectives of the Barents cultural cooperation are culture and sustainable development; cultural exchange, intercultural dialogue and diversity; conditions for and access to creativity; cultural and creative industries, innovation and tourism; and cooperation.

WGC established Barents Scholarship for Cultural Cooperation in 2016. The first Scholarship Award Ceremony was held in Arkhangelsk, Russia, in 2017. The second one was held in 2019 in Umeå, Sweden, and the third one in Tromsø, Norway, in 2021. More information here.

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Representative of Indigenous Peoples Working Group (WGIP)