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Arctic Arts Summit 2019

Arts education key to sustainable development

06 Jun 2019, 02:44 ( 10 days ago) | updated: 06 Jun 2019, 06:56 ( 10 days ago)

DF Report
Photo Source: Arctic Art Summit.

The three-day Arctic Arts Summit 2019 wrapped up on Wednesday in Rovaniemi emphasising the need for arts education to build up creative capability for sustainable development in the Arctic.

The more than 450 participants coming from 22 countries also stressed that the Arctic people should own the discourse about the Arctic region and have an open dialogue with every stakeholder concerned. For example, ecological issues were discussed as both key challenges to and opportunities for the arts on the Arctic theme. For instance, the participants pointed out that creative capability-building is based on expectations of growth in the creative industries as opposed to growth in the use of raw materials and natural resources.

Different aspects of cultural sustainability in the Arctic were highlighted by several experts from various points of view. Cultural sustainable development was a major sub-theme in the summit covered by presentations and panel discussions on the importance of cultural sustainability, cultural politics and strategies, arts-infused city development, and art and design practices for the wellbeing of people and cross-sectoral cultural tourism.

Many views and definitions of sustainable development were voiced in the forum. 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 today's world, cultural sustainability must be seen as an important fourth pillar, said some of the speakers.

“Culture is a principle of 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,” said Timo Jokela, the summit chair.  

Questions on the roles and tools of arts and culture in securing a sustainable future for the Arctic and the North reverberated throughout the summit. Do we need changes in arts and culture to take into account simultaneous ecological, social and economic challenges for the Arctic and the North, asked many participants?

The event, held at the University of Lapland and the Lappia Hall, aimed at strengthening and promoting arts and culture as a spearhead in the circumpolar cooperation and building lasting networks for development and interaction in arts and culture, cultural education and community life in the Arctic.

The theme of this year's summit: "Sustainability – Arctic laboratory” – refers to sustainability as a wide issue, meaning that sustainability can be developed in the Arctic and be applied elsewhere, too.

Arts and culture was seen by the summit as an important part of the regional development in the Arctic.

The Arctic Arts Summit 2017 held in northern Norway was the first convocation in which all the eight Arctic countries took part highlighting circumpolar arts and culture.

The summit is as a biennale planned to travel through the Arctic countries to facilitate and establish the ownership of the perspectives and the important role of arts and culture in Arctic development.