Ådne Sekkelsten @ Norsk Scenekunstbruk // 11.03.07

On Thursday, March 8, the Ombudsman for Children, Reidar Hjermann, invited to a cultural event. The background for this event is a self-recognition that they have not been present in the cultural arena for the 25 years the Ombudsman has existed.

Among many, we also reacted to Hjermann's article in Aftenposten on March 4, where you might get the impression that he believes no one has been concerned with children's and youth culture over the past 25 years, as well as to the somewhat one-sided institutional focus of the ombudsman. At the meeting, Hjermann started by clearing up this possible misunderstanding by saying that it is the Children's Ombudsman himself who has not been in the field for the past 25 years and that their expertise in the field is low - and not prioritized.

For Performing Arts Hub Norway and Scenekunstbruket, it was important to highlight the enormous artistic work the independent performing arts groups do in being concerned with and producing performing arts for children. The independent performing arts groups account for the majority of the performing arts offerings for children and young people today. Within Scenekunstbruket alone, performing arts from the independent field were presented to almost 230,000 spectators in 2006. 94% of these are children and young people.

Unfortunately, it's not uncommon that when people talk about the performing arts, it's primarily the work within institutional theaters that they talk about. What goes on outside the institutions is not as well promoted in people's consciousness. The independent field, with us at the forefront, still has a job to do. But there's no getting away from the fact that this also has to do with status. Both in relation to the non-institutional groups, but not least in relation to art for children. It still has low status.

It was a good meeting, the main purpose of which was to provide the Ombudsman with input for an action plan in the work on children's rights in relation to culture. Our most important issue is to ensure that the goals of the Cultural Rucksack are achieved. In particular, this applies to the goal of ensuring that all pupils in primary and lower secondary schools have access to professional art and culture. One of Scenekunstbruket's goals is that everyone in the Cultural Rucksack (now including upper secondary schools) should experience at least one professional performing arts production of high artistic quality every year. The same goal must also apply to other forms of expression such as film, architecture and design, visual arts, music, etc.

To achieve these goals, we need to stimulate increased production and strengthen the dissemination system. Ultimately, this is about money. Unfortunately, there is a major imbalance in the allocation of funds in relation to actual activity. There are a large number of performing artists who want to produce performing arts for children, and we have a well-developed dissemination network. Everything is in place!
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