Acknowledgement of the Sámi people

OCA acknowledges the Sámi as one people, and as the Indigenous people of the Fennoscandian region. On the land of this region, Sápmi, the Sámi people have lived since time immemorial, respectfully harvesting from nature by fishing, farming, hunting and following reindeer, amongst other activities.

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OCA stands with the rest of the NAA's and demands an open and transparent process

29 October 2020

In the State Budget presented on 7 October, the Ministry of Culture proposes that the Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA) and a number of actors be moved from the State Budget to the administration of the Arts Council Norway, item 74, including these organisations in the Norwegian Arts Abroad (NAA) network: Danse-og Teatersentrum, Music Norway, NORLA and Norwegian Crafts. We question such a major structural change being proposed without an open and transparent dialogue in advance between the Ministry of Culture, the Arts Council and the organisations concerned.

The Ministry of Culture's White Paper on Visual Arts (Report to the Parliament 23, Chapter 7.2.2) stated in 2011/2012, among other things, that OCA “has developed into one of the most important institutions in the visual arts field, with a clearly defined voice.” It is also pointed out here that OCA is an independent body with a mandate and the expertise to assess what is in the best interests of the international exchange process in the field. The expertise and global impact of OCA and NAA is invaluable in the core of internationalisation: proximity to the art field, relationship-building, trust-building and the development of global dialogue – which also strengthens the quality assurance and positioning of Norwegian artists abroad and of international art and culture, providing important impulses and development from abroad to Norway. We build an intellectual competence through programming, research and the production of knowledge that helps increase interest in Norway from international decision-makers.

Independence, an arm's length distance and the spread of power are prerequisites for a healthy Norwegian cultural life. By placing these five NAA organisations under Arts Council Norway, significant power is centralised in an already very large and powerful institution. The proposed relocation will also create a less effective instrument apparatus for the internationalisation of Norwegian art and culture. In practice, this will involve an unnecessary intermediary in that the NAA organisations' applications and reports will be processed by the administration in Arts Council Norway before they are sent to KUD, which forwards the recommendation to the Parliament.

OCA was established in 2001 by the art field itself in order to be a flexible and professional institution with competence, integrity and a network working at an arm's length from politics, for the Norwegian contemporary art field around the world, in collaboration with embassies and ministries. Over the years we have worked in this way, Norwegian art has been selected in some of the largest exhibitions and biennials in the world, where the competition is fierce. The proposed relocation means that KUD will no longer receive information and knowledge directly from the NAA organisations as it does today through applications, reports and dialogue meetings. This will weaken the ministry's decision-making basis with regard to their international cultural policy. Relating to yet another bureaucratic link will work against its purpose, and we would like to continue working for the field in the most effective way.

In the State Budget presented on 7 October, the Ministry of Culture proposes that the Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA) and a number of actors be moved from the State Budget to the administration of the Arts Council Norway, item 74, including these organisations in the Norwegian Arts Abroad (NAA) network : Danse-og Teatersentrum, Music Norway, NORLA and Norwegian Crafts. We question such a major structural change being proposed without an open and transparent dialogue in advance between the Ministry of Culture, the Arts Council and the organisations concerned.

The Ministry of Culture's White Paper on Visual Arts (Report to the Parliament 23, Chapter 7.2.2) stated in 2011/2012, among other things, that OCA “has developed into one of the most important institutions in the visual arts field, with a clearly defined voice.” It is also pointed out here that OCA is an independent body with a mandate and the expertise to assess what is in the best interests of the international exchange process in the field. The expertise and global impact of OCA and NAA is invaluable in the core of internationalisation: proximity to the art field, relationship-building, trust-building and the development of global dialogue – which also strengthens the quality assurance and positioning of Norwegian artists abroad and of international art and culture, providing important impulses and development from abroad to Norway. We build an intellectual competence through programming, research and the production of knowledge that helps increase interest in Norway from international decision-makers.

Independence, an arm's length distance and the spread of power are prerequisites for a healthy Norwegian cultural life. By placing these five NAA organisations under Arts Council Norway, significant power is centralised in an already very large and powerful institution. The proposed relocation will also create a less effective instrument apparatus for the internationalisation of Norwegian art and culture. In practice, this will involve an unnecessary intermediary in that the NAA organisations' applications and reports will be processed by the administration in Arts Council Norway before they are sent to KUD, which forwards the recommendation to the Parliament.

OCA was established in 2001 by the art field itself in order to be a flexible and professional institution with competence, integrity and a network working at an arm's length from politics, for the Norwegian contemporary art field around the world, in collaboration with embassies and ministries. Over the years we have worked in this way, Norwegian art has been selected in some of the largest exhibitions and biennials in the world, where the competition is fierce. The proposed relocation means that KUD will no longer receive information and knowledge directly from the NAA organisations as it does today through applications, reports and dialogue meetings. This will weaken the ministry's decision-making basis with regard to their international cultural policy. Relating to yet another bureaucratic link will work against its purpose, and we would like to continue working for the field in the most effective way.

With support from NBK and UKS.


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