Arts and Audiences

Sharing the vision of the community-led arts and music festival Saga Fest, which will have its pilot launch on the 23 and 24 of May 2015.

I had the chance to share the vision of Saga Fest at October’s Arts & Audiences conference, a convergence of Nordic arts and culture leaders with a bend toward social and environmental justice.

Here is the slide deck I used at the conference:

In addition to sharing my project with the conference’s digital and in-person participants, I shared my insights about Arts & Audiences along with five other remarkable young leaders (under the age of 27) from Denmark, the Faroe Islands (Denmark), Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. These stellar folks have become great Nordic collaborators and friends since then:

Ida Frisch (Norway), an incredible illustrator, artist and puppeteer currently practicing in Norway. She’s made theater on islands, put together a sweet book and does art in pretty much every medium imaginable.

Magnus Kirchheiner (Denmark), who manages VESS showcase gallery in Amsterdam—literally he and his friends bought a place in the artsy part of town and stripped it apart and re-built it. He also puts on a ton of interesting arts and cultural events and writes about art.

Björk Brynjarsdóttir (Iceland), who started a publication in Iceland called, which has one of the most beautiful online layouts I’ve ever seen. Their editorial copy and photography is stunning as well. Nearly 10 percent of the country reads the online publication.

Rebecka Bülow (Sweden), a journalist and podcaster who also runs a feminist co-working space / studio for artists and culture makers

Rannvá Næs Hoydal (Faroe Islands), a blogger who writes about art, culture, society and community.

We also worked with a digital team (the stellar CJ and Phil) and managed a continuity studio for the online audience that ran parallel to the in-person conference. At the studio, we interviewed speakers, facilitators and participants. We also worked on our blogs and did social media outreach—on Twitter alone the young VoxPop Bloggers had 1 million impressions (almost 140,000 unique views) combined on all of our tweets.

The young blogger team hard at work in the continuity studio.

Most of the sessions were traditional conference panels and speakers, somewhat ironic for a post-digital conference on audience engagement, but there were a few sessions that embraced interactivity. One of them, which I attended, started with a coin joust:

We then grouped up and identified a story that our group could build a narrative experience around. We picked the story of Titanic. Our idea was to embed the story into a fancy environment, say a fundraising dinner or gala, by having a disruptive event (“hitting the iceberg”) that forces everyone to work together to create solutions. You can read more about this session on my blog post.

We also met a lot of individuals like visual artist and musician Curver Thoroddsen, who worked with Björk on her music+science education project called Biophilia Educational.

The program shares the name with Björk’s album Biophilia—which was the first ever album to be released as an app. The app, if you haven’t tried it, is completely interactive and encourages play. You can re-create sounds by swiping your fingers across the tablet and orchestrate new sounds (in addition to listening to the album).

Overall it was a great opportunity and some fascinating collaborations for my Fulbright-mtvU project came out of my participation there. Also, I walked away with new friends from across the Nordic region who are working on incredible arts and music programs that truly inspire me.

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