- Development on people’s own terms.
Because of our individualized programs, culture has its place in many of Strømme Foundation’s education and microfinance projects. However, the Culture Initiative allows us to delve even further into this topic, working more specifically with communities to develop and promote local culture.
The linkage of culture and development is a relatively new concept, so Strømme Foundation is attempting to be a spearhead within this field through our Culture Initiative. We want to contribute to people in the global South having an opportunity to present and promote their own cultural expressions.
Culture belongs to the people, and it is brought into processes of development through values like literature, music, visual art, media, handicraft and cultural heritage. Simultaneously, culture is an important basis for identification and for the possibility of change, allowing development to happen on people's own terms.
Promotion of cultural expressions
Artists and performers from the global South have limited access to the international stage. This is something Strømme Foundation wishes to change. Our goal is to further cultural expressions originating from the countries we work in, whether it is contemporary visual art from Kenya or traditional folk music from Bolivia.
Doing so will enable us to be a part of painting a nuanced picture of these countries. Our main focus within this field is the cultural campaign Imagine Africa.
Organization of cultural life
Many countries in the global South have an exciting and thriving cultural life, but the sector often lacks impact because of poor organization. This is why Strømme Foundation works more structurally with culture.
In Africa, for example, we have helped coordinate a network of 60 different cultural organizations who have come together to create an action plan for the development of the cultural sector on the African continent.
Organizations and big culture festivals from 17 countries partake in this network, called ARTerial. This is an African process, defined by the African cultural sector, and it is African competence that is used and developed. Strømme Foundation has established a coordinating group of eight to ten western NGOs that assist with financing and project follow-up. Together with the Goree Institute in Senegal, we have formed a quasi think-tank to continue the innovative work of developing a solid and independent cultural sector in Africa.
Together with the other organizations in the coordinating group for the cultural network ARTerial, we are lobbying for cultural development in Africa. We cooperate with several Dutch organizations, which are listed on the Power of Culture website. This site serves as an informational resource regarding cultural developments on the African continent. It specifically reaches out to governments and leaders in the cultural sector.
Exchange within the cultural sector
Strømme Foundation recognizes the knowledge and understanding that can be gained from cross-cultural interaction. Therefore, we encourage Norwegian citizens to participate in international exchange projects within the cultural sector. By sharing experience and practices with the countries we cooperate with, we are helping to foster greater levels of global citizenship and collaboration.
Strømme Foundation's Culture Initiative supports the organization African Arts Move, which contributes towards exchange within the African arts and cultural life. During the autumn of 2009, we established our own travel support scheme for Norwegian organizers who want to make artistic presentations that are representative of the countries where we work.
Microfinance within the cultural sector
In West Africa, we have started a pilot project, where we are exploring the opportunity of creating a microfinance program particularly aimed at the cultural sector. Strømme Foundation is developing this program in cooperation with DOEN Foundation in the Netherlands.
Strømme Foundation's Culture Initiative is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Agder County Administration and Cultiva. We have also received project support from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), through the Framework Agreement.
Read more about our culture initiative here.