The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Royal Norwegian Embassy in Beijing, Royal Norwegian Consulate General in Shanghai, Royal Norwegian Consulate General in Guangzhou, The Freedom of Expression Foundation, Oslo, The Norwegian Association for Performing Arts, The Norwegian Opera and Ballet, Bergen University College, Bergen International Festival, Purple Star Art and Communication Ltd Shanghai, Hangzhou Yue Opera Company, Shanghai Theatre Academy, and The University of Nanjing.
Norwegian Culture and Public Diplomacy in China
Norway has 3 foreign missions in China, Embassy in Beijing, Consulate General in Shanghai and Guangzhou, who all are involved in cultural cooperation. The cultural collaboration ranges from large cultural cooperation projects where all the missions are involved to single projects within each missions’ area of responsibility.
A bilateral relationship does not only include politics, economy and business, but also cultural exchange and collaboration. Cultural cooperation is an integral part of Norwegian foreign policy and development policy. Presentation of Norwegian art and culture of high quality contributes to display Norway as a responsible and attractive partner, and as a modern cultural and knowledge-based society.
Cultural exchange and other forms of international cultural collaboration contribute to the establishment of mutual understanding and respect across geographical boundaries.
The missions do our outmost to assist establishment and creation of arenas which facilitate dialogue, exchange and cooperation between China and Norway. The aim with these establishments is to create a larger area of contact for Norwegian culture scene to interact and get impulses from Chinese counterparts as well as promoting Norwegian politics and foreign policy.
The missions regard most projects in a long-term perspective, as it is important for us that the projects are locally rooted and has local initiative. The missions strive to support direct cooperation between cultural actors in Norway and China with a focus on institutional cooperation. An example of this is Ibsen in China where there are many cultural institutions involved on both Chinese and Norwegian side. Henrik Ibsen has a unique position in China, and his works are an important channel to reach the Chinese public. The issues and topics raised by Ibsen are still current and valid in contemporary Chinese society.
The missions’ works for a thriving cultural scene, where the collaboration contributes to raising the competence level and further the development of institutions. The collaboration should contribute to increase the local driving force, identity and values as well as stimulate creativity and international cooperation. A good example of this is NO+CH, a Nordic Chinese culture festival which takes place in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou and includes music, design and architecture.
Other areas of focus are general public diplomacy with the promotion of Norwegian culture in China. This was done by the Consulate General in Guangzhou with the festival Nuowei Ni Hao/ Hei Norge promoting Norway to the Chinese public.
The missions also strive to bring quality cultural performances to parts of society that does not always have easy access to it. The Sino-Norwegian Music Week for Children in cooperation with the Shanghai International Arts Festival features Norwegian top artists playing at schools in Shanghai. The “Go West” concept involves bringing Norwegian jazz to university students in more remote parts of China. We do also assist Chinese partners going to Norway to meet relevant partners and be inspired. Culture also includes sport and Ridderrennet China, a ski competition for disabled people, enables disabled people to participate in physical activities by promoting “sports for all”.
In short, our aim and goal with cultural collaboration and exchange is to present Norwegian culture abroad, expose both the Norwegian and the Chinese cultural scene to new impulses and to facilitate cooperation between Norwegian and Chinese institutions to the mutual benefit of all parties.
“The furtherance of well-being and freedoms that we seek in development cannot but include the enrichment of human lives through literature, music, fine arts and other forms of cultural expressions and practice, which we have reason to value.”
Amartya Sen (2004)
Read more: www.norway.cn
Teater Ibsen (The Ibsen Theatre), Norway
Teater Ibsen is one of the leading Ibsen theaters in Norway and often presents his plays in a surprising and spectacular way. Several of the theater’s Ibsen’s productions have been performed abroad, as Peer Gynt – Beijing 2004, Hunting for Nora – Beijing 2006, and White Horses (based on Rosmersholm) – Delhi Ibsen Festival India 2008. Teater Ibsen wants to continue its international engagement through cooperation with the Ibsen International for A Doll’s House, premiere in Beijing 22 In October this year. It is also important for Teater Ibsen to bring Ibsen’s legacy further, and has therefore produced a series of new plays written for both adults and children. The theater was founded in 1975 and currently has four owners, Telemark and Vestfold County and Skien and Tønsberg Municipality. Teater Ibsen has its headquarters in Skien, Ibsen’s birthplace in Norway. In addition, the theater receives support from The Norwegian Government and other public and private funds.
The Norwegian Association for Performing Arts
The Norwegian Association for Performing Arts is a state sponsored institution aiming to promote and support performing arts in Norway. The organization was founded in 1977 as an independent support forum for and by independent performing artists with the aim of establishing funding system performers operating outside the state institutions. Today the institution operates on an international level.
The Norwegian Opera And Ballet
Founded in 1957, the Norwegian Opera and Ballet is Norway’s largest institution for performing arts. Today, it employs over 600 professionals working in about 50 different areas both on independent projects and at its main location; the iconic Oslo Opera House designed by Norwegian Architectural firm Snøhetta, encompassing three specialized stages.
The Freedom Of Expression Foundation
The Freedom of Expression Foundation is an independent Norwegian organization aiming to promote freedom of expression and a free press. It was founded in 1974 by the owners of Norway’s biggest retailer of Newspapers and Magazines, and a lawyer. The institution plays an important part in the media landscape of contemporary Norway, supporting both the newspaper Morgenbladet, the media group A-Pressen, and the encyclopedia Store Norske Leksikon. In addition it awards student scholarships within media and journalism, supports writing competitions, publishes reports, and awards the annual Freedom of Expression Prize.
Bergen University College
Bergen University College is a state institution of higher education, established in August 1994 by the merging of six former independent colleges in Bergen, Norway. The college offers drama specialization as a part of their teacher training with a strong international focus. While receiving exchange students from China among other countries, the college also engages in local projects, such as using drama to cope with bullying in primary schools.
Bergen International Festival
Bergen International Festival is held May through June every year in Bergen. The international performing arts festival aims to present artistic expression from the Nordic countries in the fields of music, theatre, dance, opera, and visual arts. Established in 1953 and catering to forty to sixty thousand visitors every year, the Bergen International Festival is one of the largest performing arts festivals in Northern Europe.
Purple Star Art and Communication Ltd. Shanghai
Purple Star Art and Communication is the Shanghai-based production company for China’s first independent dance company, Jin Xing Dance Theatre, lead by world famous Chinese dancer and choreographer Jin Xing. Established in 1999, the company has stages numerous acclaimed productions, both in China and abroad.
Hangzhou Yue Opera Company
With over 50 years of history, Hangzhou Yue Opera Company is one of the oldest consecutively running performing troupes in contemporary China. Although most of the works presented by the company have strong ties to the historical context of Hangzhou, it has in later years also been seeking to expand and re-invent the Yue opera tradition. The company has fostered a number of outstanding performers and produced over 100 plays.
Shanghai Theatre Academy
Founded in 1956, but dating back to 1945, Shanghai Theatre Academy is one of China’s most progressive performing arts institutions. In addition to educating roughly three thousand artists every year, the academy also fosters research scholars, regularly produces state of the art performances, and has exchange programs with performing arts institutions in 26 countries.
Dating all the way back to 1902, Nanjing University is one of China’s key comprehensive universities under the direct administration of the Ministry of Education. Covering a vast range of disciplines, the university also has a center for Nordic studies, founded by renown Ibsen scholar He Chengzhou.