House of Languages

Visiting the festival Dei nynorske festspela in Ørsta, Norway

At the beginning of June, the representatives of the Language Museum Association, Snorre Karkkonen Svensson and Elīna Kokareviča, together with the representative of the partner organization from Finland, The Swedish Assembly of Finland (Folktinget), Gerd Norrgård, went to Ørsta in Norway to get an insight into the long-standing Nynorsk language festival Dei nynorske festspela organized by the Norwegian Museum of Written Culture (Nynorsk kultursentrum).

During the trip, there was also a meeting with the director of the Norwegian Museum of Written Culture, Olav Øyehaug Opsvik, the head of the board, Jan Olav Baarøy, and the manager of the Ivar Osen Museum (Aasentunet), Tone Slenes, as well as other museum representatives who organize the festival.

The festival Dei nynorske festspela has been organized since 1992. It is a comprehensive festival known throughout Norway dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the Nynorsk language. Every year it gathers several thousand visitors, as well as writers, poets, musicians, artists, scientists, journalists, etc., to talk about important issues to the Nynorsk language and to discover the power of the language through various artistic experiences. Part of the festival events are dedicated to children.

The theme of this year’s festival was “Home – Out” and the main guest was the Norwegian poet and translator Knut Ødegård, who participated in several readings and took part in conversations about poetry, translation and themes close to his work, which often touch on social marginalization and religious references, intersecting both and emphasizing love for all as a central guiding principle. Maria Parr, the well-known and popular author of children’s books, also performed at the festival, as well as many other Norwegian artists who use Norwegian dialects and Nynorsk in their art, including, for example, Kari Bremnes, a popular singer in Norway, whose concert gathered around 500 listeners.

The experience exchange trip was organized with the aim of gaining an insight into such a wide festival dedicated to language and the process of organizing it, identifying both the capacity and the financial options, so that in the future Latvia could also have its own Language Festival, which the Language Museum Association plans to organize. The trip took place within the framework of the project ‘Cooperation and experience exchange within organizing language festivals’ as part of a series of several trips. The next one is scheduled for this November, when we will attend the Swedish language week events in Finland.

The project ‘Cooperation and experience exchange within organising language festivals’ has been implemented with the financial support from the Nordic Council of Ministers. The content of this publication is the sole responsibility of the coordinators of this project and does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Nordic Council of Ministers.

More about the project and involved organizations.

For more information:
Elīna Kokareviča,
Project Manager