The fourth edition of Nordic Focus Festival organized by the Academic Culture Centre "ALTERNATOR" and the Department of Scandinavian Studies at the University of Gdańsk took place from November 22 to 24, 2019. Those three days significantly helped us understand the culture of Nordic countries, namely Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
The Vice-Rector for Student Affairs and Education dr hab. Arnold Kłonczyński, prof. UG officially inaugurated the festival by welcoming the guests and visitors. The opening lecture, titled “The ups and downs of Norwegian “regime of goodness” was delivered by Professor Nina Witoszek from the University of Oslo, renowned author of books on Scandinavia and movie scripts, a professor on cultural history.
The first day of the festival concluded with the sreening of the movie “Phantom carriage”, accompanied with live music by the Kropki ensemble (created by Mateusz Kłos and Maciej Sadowski). This movie is a prominent representative of the so called Swedish school in the silent period.
The NFF festival at the University of Gdańsk consisted of authors’ meetings, travel presentations and language workshops under a common Nordic theme. Twenty three events took place at the festival, which were attended by more than two thousand people.
Debates and sessions with guests from Nordic Countries and experts in Nordic subject matter were the core components of the festival. For example authors’ meetings with Filip Springer Dwunaste. Nie myśl, że uciekniesz (The twelfth. Don’t think you’ll run away), Katarzyna Tubylewicz Sztokholm. Miasto, które tętni ciszą.(Stockholm. City vibrant with silence.), Swedish author and journalist Larse Berge Dobry Wilk. Tragedia w szwedzkim zoo (Good Wolf. Tragedy at a Swedish ZOO), Piotr Mikołajczak Zostanie tylko wiatr. Fiordy zachodniej Islandii (There will only be wind. The fjords of Western Iceland) and Maciej Brencz Farerskie kadry. Wyspy, gdzie owce mówią dobranoc.(Faroese Shots. Islands where the sheep say goodnight).
The 2019 edition of the NNF festival also attracted zero waste movement supporters. Barbara and Grzegorz Grobelni shared how to afford zero waste living during their workshop, called How to live zero waste and not go crazy. Faloviec, the restaurant from Gdańsk, provided refreshments during the workshop.
The lecturers from the Department of Scandinavian Studies at the University of Gdańsk held language workshops for beginners: Danish language - Tomasz Archutowski, Swedish language - Sven-Göran Karlsson, Finnish language - Natalia Godlewska, Norwegian language - Sveinung Flogstad. Students of Scandinavian Studies prepared Make yourself a HYGGE workshop, place you could learn on the idea and phenomenon of hygge and try your hand at knotting the macramé.
The cultural historian and interior designer Ewa Chudecka from Gdynia Design Center presented the profiles of Scandinavian design icons Arne Jacobson and Poul Henningsen during her lecture: Scandinavian design in your home.
The third day of the festival began rather unconventional, with Katarzyna Tubylewicz (cultural expert and Swedish translator) conducting yoga session at the Ethnographic Department of the National Museum in Gdańsk. The aficionados of the northern cuisine were invited for the Etno Scandinavian lunch, a real Scandinavian treat prepared by Gryfon restaurant.
The afternoon at the Festival was marked by the subject of travel – during the travel block #mojaskandynawia (my Scandinavia) we could see remarkable amateur-travelers presentations. The lectures included Artur Wysocki’s W pogoni za zorzą, okrążenie Islandii rowerem (Chasing aurora, cycling around Iceland) and Zbigniew Szwoch’s traveler’s recollections of Greenland.
The festival concluded with the musical feast from the Icelandic artist Rauður, who enchanted the listeners with the subtle sound of her debut album Semilunar. The concert took place in Oliwa Town hall of Culture.
Three exhibitions were staged during the festival: Bread and Kanelbulle – 100 years of Polish-Swedish diplomacy – under the auspices of the Embassy of Sweden in Warsaw; Faroese Shots by Maciej Brencz and Futureliving exhibition. Danish cities of the future organized in cooperation with the Pomeranian Science and Technology Park in Gdynia and Gdynia Design days.
Mr. Tomasz Pupacz, deputy director of Academic Culture Centre "ALTERNATOR" is the originator and coordinator of the festival. The Univeristy of Gdańsk students and employees comprised the organizational team of the festival.
Special appreciation goes to the honorary patrons:
Rector prof. dr hab. Jerzy Gwizdała, Mayor of Gdańsk Aleksandra Dulkiewicz, Danish Embassy, Finnish Embassy, Norwegian Embassy and Swedish Embassy in Poland.
Organizers: Academic Culture Centre "ALTERNATOR", Department of Scandinavian Studies at the University of Gdańsk, Film Discussion Club UG “Miłość Blondynki”
Partners: IceStory, Szwedzka półka, Gdańsk Scandinavian studies and guests, Oliwa Town hall of Culture, the Ethnographic Department of the National Museum in Gdańsk, Faroese shots, Czarne, Poznań and Wielka Litera publishing houses, Kropki, Pomeranian Science and Technology Park in Gdynia, Gdynia Design Center, Nordic Talking Festival, Faloviec/ plant-based cuisine, JYSK Poland
Media Patrons: Radio Gdańsk S.A. Trojmiasto.pl, Magazyn Skandynawski Zew Północy, Moods of Scandinavia, MojaNorwegia, Pofikasz? o Szwecji po polsku., Marchewkowa Skandynawia
The project was implemented in accordance with the University of Gdańsk Academic Culture Centre ALTERNATOR statute activities.