Images, sounds, and the social situation of the Nordic countries will be the theme of this year's Nordic Focus Festival. It is the eighth time that lovers of the North will meet in Gdańsk! In the current edition, we will be getting to know the culture, history and reality of the Nordic countries through, among other things, film screenings, exhibitions, photographs, concerts and author meetings.
Nordic Focus Festival - Nordic Culture Festival is a unique interdisciplinary event on a national scale, organised in Gdańsk continuously since 2016. The event is hosted by the Artistic Initiatives Association JANTAR and the University of Gdańsk, in cooperation with national and international partners. Between November 24 and 26 this year, auditorium 1.43 of the Faculty of Philology and History will be visited by a number of prominent artists, experts and personalities associated with Nordic culture. This time, we will focus on the images and sounds of Iceland, while our discussions will revolve around the theme of emigration and the crisis of multiculturalism in the countries of the North.
On November 24 at 5:30 p.m., the festival will be opened by the Vice-Rector for Student Affairs and Education Quality, dr hab. Arnold Kłonczyński, prof. UG, in aula 1.43 of the Faculty of Philology and History building. On the first day, Icelandic films, paintings and photographs will be presented by Emiliana Konopka, associated with the Utulę THULE project, photographer Anita Horowska and art curator dr Wiktoria Michałkiewicz. Afterwards, guests will have the unique opportunity to watch the silent film ‘Iceland in Moving Pictures’ (dir. Loftur Guðmundsson, 1925) with live music performed by the Tri-City duo Kropki (PL).
Concerts, exhibitions and film screenings
On the second day of the festival, we invite you to a 2023 drama ‘Norwegian Dream’ screening, followed by a meeting with the filmmakers - director Leiv Igor Devold and screenwriter Justyna Bilik. Together with the Ethnography Department of the National Museum in Gdańsk, we would also like to invite you to the Icelandic youth film 'The Last Farm in the Valley' (dir. Óskar Gíslason, Avar Kvaran, 1950).
Visitors will be able to learn more about fascinating Iceland through the exhibition 'Noise from Iceland - Hidden People'. It is a transmedia project that combines beautiful photographs of Icelandic nature by Magdalena Łukasiak and the sounds of the volcanic island recorded by Katarzyna Paluch-Łukasiak.
The artistic aspect of this year's NFF will be complemented by the photographic exhibition 'Places Beyond/Places in Us | Beyond/Within' by Norwegian visual artist Erle Kyllingmark.
The festival will conclude with a concert by PESH, a Polish-Norwegian jazz quartet comprising Patrycja Wybrańczyk, Emil Miszk, Sondre Moshagen and Håkon Huldt-Nystrøm. The group will present material from their debut album, Peshish.
Meetings and discussions with guests
As in previous years, the main blocks of the festival are meetings with authors and discussions around literature and art. During the three days of our Nordic journey together, we will invite participants to a series of discussions, lectures and presentations on Nordic cultures and societies. Radio journalist Agnieszka Szydłowska will talk about what still delights us in this distant, frosty land and what Icelandic music is best to listen to while travelling. Artist Katarzyna Paluch-Łukasiak will present her unique project of field recordings from the volcanic island ('Noise from Iceland'), and duo Aleksandra Kozłowska and Mirella Wąsiewicz will introduce the audience to the stories of those who were not afraid to take a risk and live in Iceland.
Enthusiasts of Nordic literature are invited to a meeting with the Norwegian writer Monica Isakstuen, author of the novel ‘Be Good for Animals’ (Wydawnictwo Czarne, 2023), and with dr Ewa Sapieżyńska, whose book ‘I Am Not Your Pole’ (Wydawnictwo Krytyki Politycznej, 2023) caused quite a stir in Norway. Our literary block will also feature dr Sylwia Izabela Schab, author of the book 'Denmark. Peace lives here' (Wydawnictwo Poznańskie, 2023) and Kuba Witek, who will tell us what it is like to 'Escape from the Faroe Islands' (Bezdroża Publishing House, 2023).
The programme will also include panel discussions on Nordic societies. Journalist Maciej Zaremba Bielawski, the Honorary Consul General of Sweden Magdalena Pramfelt and dr Wiktoria Michalkiewicz will introduce the audience to the Swedish theory of the happy state while discussing the bright and dark sides of life in Sweden today. Journalist Jan Janczy will talk about Sweden's multicultural society, and Rafał Wojczal will present details of his original photo essay 'Economic Pilgrims', devoted to Poles in Norway. We also invite you to a lecture by dr Agata Rudnik on döstädning - the art of organising life in Swedish.
As every year, our audience will have the chance to participate in language workshops. This is an excellent opportunity to learn Swedish, Danish, Norwegian or Finnish from scratch. For the 8th edition, we are extending the offer with an Icelandic language workshop for beginners and a family art and environment workshop inspired by Old Icelandic fairy tales. During the manual workshops, participants will be able to create fairytale trolls and elves from recycled materials under the watchful eye of visual artist Kamila Szelągowicz.
Organisers and partners
Honorary patronage: Rector UG prof. dr hab. Piotr Stepnowski, Embassy of the Kingdom of Denmark, Embassy of the Republic of Finland, Embassy of the Republic of Iceland, Embassy of the Kingdom of Norway and Embassy of the Kingdom of Sweden
Organisers: Association of Artistic Initiatives JANTAR, University of Gdańsk, Academic Centre of Culture UG Alternator, Institute of Scandinavian and Finnish Studies UG, Film Discussion Club UG Love Blonde, National Museum in Gdańsk
Partners: Svenska Institutet - Swedish Insitute, NORLA - Norwegian Literature Abroad, Kvikmyndasafns Íslands - Icelandic National Filmoteque, Ateneum Academy in Gdańsk, Polish-Swedish Chamber of Commerce, Gdańsk Miasto Literatury (Gdańsk City of Literature), Czarne Publishing House, Poznan Publishing House, Krytyka Polityczna Publishing House, Bezdroża Publishing House, Znak Publishing House, Portal Utulę THULE, UG Academic Psychological Support Centre, Linguistic School Językonauta, Smak Słowa Bookstore, Coffee-Moose Gdańsk
Media patronage: Radio Nowy Świat, portal Trojmiasto.pl, Scandinavian magazine "Zew Północy", portal Moja Norwegia, Marchewkowa Skandynawia, Szwecjoblog, "Gazeta Uniwersytecka - Czasopismo Społeczności Akademickiej UG", radio MORS
Supported by funds from the City of Gdańsk.
The project is realised as part of the statutory activities of the Association of Artistic Initiatives JANTAR.