Artwork Arctic Aesthetics (2019) by Ásthildur Jónsdóttir in the Fringe exhibition openings. Photo by Janne Jakola.

Arctic Arts Summit 2019 – Arctic Laboratory


Sustainable development is an underlying theme of the whole Arctic Arts Summit 2019, and issues of sustainable development are key to many presentations and panel discussions, which have different themes. For example, ecological issues are discussed as part of the challenges and opportunities for the arts in the Arctic theme. A theme of creative capability building is based on expectations of growth in the creative industries, as opposed to growth in use of raw and natural resources. The Arctic need arts education to build creative capability, and quality arts education is essential for sustainable development in the Arctic.

Aspects of cultural sustainability in the Arctic are discussed by several experts at the Summit and approached from various points of views. One sub-theme is cultural sustainable development. It includes presentations and panel discussions on the importance of cultural sustainability, cultural politics and strategies, arts-infused city development, art and design practices for wellbeing and cross-sectoral cultural tourism.

There are many views about, and definitions of, sustainable development. Three aspects of sustainable development are well-known: ecological, social and economic sustainability. In the Arctic, discussions on sustainability are often connected to natural resources and ecological and economic dimensions. In the world today, cultural sustainability must be seen as an important fourth pillar. Timo Jokela, chair of the Arctic Arts Summit 2019 states:

- Culture is a principle for who we are: from cultural heritage to creative industries, it shapes our identity. We may ask: Is the focus on Arctic culture just the fourth pillar of sustainable development, or is it even more than that? Conceptually, culture incorporates social and economic sustainability. Culture is both an enabler and a driver of the social, environmental and economic dimensions of sustainable development.

In the Summit, it is asked, what is the role, and what are the tools, of art and culture in order to secure a sustainable future for the Arctic and the North? Do we need changes in art and culture to take into account simultaneous ecological, social and economic challenges for the Arctic and the North?

The international Arctic Arts Summit 2019 takes place in Rovaniemi, Finland, from June 3–5, 2019. The president of Finland, Sauli Niinistö, is the patron of the summit. Representatives of ministries from Arctic counties, cultural and educational institutions, non-governmental organisations and artist unions will discuss Arctic issues at the summit. The event is fully booked.

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