Programmes to support trans-national intercultural dialogue are primarily the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD). Ministry of Foreign Affairs and NORAD support projects that promote intercultural dialogue and cooperation.
Concerts Norway, which is a governmental dissemination institution for music, is one of the most experienced Norwegian institutions on international cooperation in the field of culture. Concerts Norway is engaged in a range of diverse international music projects, mainly in close cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Concerts Norway operates specific programmes and projects abroad such as exchange programmes for musical artists and long-term development programmes, with priority given to initiatives contributing to cultural diversity. Concerts Norway is linked to a number of international organisations and networks such as: the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA); the European Forum of World Music Festivals (EFWMF), the International Society for Music Education (ISME) and the Europe Jazz Network (EJN).
Intercultural dialogue: actors, strategies, programmes
In the years before and ahead of the millennium, several programs emphasising multiculturalism within the arts were established. Arts Council e.g. established the programme Mosaikk to encourage artists of ethnic background.
The government includes terms of cultural diversity aspects when allocating grants to cultural institutions. For instance, The Ministry stresses that cultural diversity should not develop into a new sector of culture. This applies to institutions and organisations to integrate diversity perspectives into their ordinary activities. Thus, in addition to goals and measures of their activities in 2008, they should also prepare long-term strategies for the inclusion of diversity aspects in these activities.
In the museum sector, multiculturalism was also emphasized. In a 1999 Parliament report concerning libraries, archives and museums, the Norwegian government stated that: “Museums will be an arena where people can develop positive attitudes to their own and other cultural roots.” Thus, multi-culturalism was emphasised as an important future issue for museums as well. During the last few years, several museums have worked extensively with multicultural projects and a separate network for such projects has been established.
In recent years, there have been few such programmes. This may be due to the emphasis recently put on the autonomy of the arts. An important part of this included the removal of guidelines that promoted multiculturalism in the funding agreements of national cultural organisations. Artists with an immigrant background have also expressed dissatisfaction with multicultural programmes. They feel stigmatised when receiving support based on their ethnic background, not their artistic skills.
Government’s overall approach to intercultural dialogue