Bjørn Tomren Played Two Concerts In Bergen Prison And One Concert At Sandviken Hospital In The Spring Of 2022. Here From One Of The Performances In Bergen Prison. Photo: Thor Brødreskift.


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February 20, 2019

Festspillkollektivet is the Festival's socially engaged arts programme that includes both private and public performances and projects outside of traditional concert venues.

Festspillkollektivet works on developing new ways of engaging people who have limited access to the arts and have difficulties with attending regular Festival events. The Bergen International Festival wants all residents of Bergen to have the opportunity to experience and be inspired by great art, regardless of their education, health, ethnicity, ability, age or financial circumstances.   

Festspillkollektivet works with partners such as Kirkens Bymisjon, Røde Kors and Redd Barna, and with artist collectives and cultural institutions. Together we have visited communities in care homes, addiction centres, nurseries, hospitals, psychiatric wards, asylum centres, crisis centres, prisons, day centres for adults with learning difficulties and schools for children with learning difficulties. Festspillkollektivet simultaneously offers support and training for artists throughout these collaborative processes. 

“Culture is important for good quality of life and mental health, and it is an essential part of being included in the community.”

- Inger Elise Iversen, CEO of the Kavli Trust

Voices of Papillon In 2022 we are working on several Festspillkollektivet projects, such as the choir Voices of Papillon. This is a collaboration with Papillon, a multicultural meeting place for young people. The choir started in September 2021, as a continuation of a digital course in song-writing held during the spring. 

Voices of Papillon is a choir for girls and women with a cross-cultural background. In November 2021, they held their very first concert at Bergen Kjøtt, together with guest artist Gabriela Garrubo. They ended their spring season for 2022 ended with a concert at Bergen International Cultural Center on 20 May, where soul artist MYRNA from Bergen was guest artist together with Thomas “TomTom” Haugland.

The choir will start up again in the autumn and has room for more members. More information about start-up and registration will come.

“Not only did I learn to sing alone and with a group, but I got to meet many amazing women from all over the world and made new friends as well.”

- Member of Voices of Papillon

Carte Blanche Festspillkollektivet is also collaborating with the dance company Carte Blanche to develop workshops and performances for people on the autism spectrum and people living with dementia. In 2021, dance performances and workshops were held at Tveiterås school, a school for students with severe learning difficulties and in need for comprehensive special education, and at Christiegården, a respite care and day care centre for people with intellectual disabilities. In the spring of 2022, Tveiterås School and Christigården were invited to the dance performance The Living Monument and an interactive meeting between the audience and the dancers at Studio Bergen.

“It was an incredibly nice experience for our group. We really appreciate that we got the opportunity to participate.”

- Kristine Martinsen, Department Manager at Christiegården

The project for people living with dementia is under development for 2022 and 2023.

Concerts in nursing homes During the festival period 25 May–08 June, festival artists visited several nursing homes: Beranek held concerts at Lyngbøtunet and Gullstøltunet, Mogens Dahl Chamber Choir sang at Fantoft care center, Tor Jaran Apold & Sjur Hjeltnes played at Kolstihagen nursing home and Søreide nursing home, and the children's theater performance Ritsj was performed at Sandsli residential and activity center for the residents and the Akrobaten kindergarten.

Kitchen GardenAnother multi-year project is Kitchen Garden, an art and kitchen garden project in collaboration with Bergen Prison, Bergen Kunsthall and artist Stacy Brafield. Kitchen Garden is a living sculpture made together with the women living inside of Bergen Prison, where the inmates participate in workshops to plan, build and operate a greenhouse and a kitchen garden in the prison area. The project is intersectional and embraces arts, crafts, education and sustainability.

Other projects Bjørn Tomren visited untraditional venues and played two concerts in Bergen Prison and one concert at Sandviken Hospital on 22 March. Bergens Tidende attended one of the concerts in Bergen Prison at wrote a nice article about it (in Norwegian).

Other exciting Festspillkollektivet activities are under development.

Festspillkollektivet is supported by the Kavli Trust, which celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2022. The Kavli Trust has supported Bergen International Festival since 1972.

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