Ragnheiður Skúladóttir the new director of the Arctic Arts Festival

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Ragnheiður Skúladóttir - Foto: Saga Sigurdardottir

The highly profiled and internationally renowned cultural leader and producer Ragnheiður Skúladóttir is today employed by the board of the Arctic Arts Festival in Harstad, Northern Norway as the new director. Skúladóttir is currently the managing director of Iceland Dance Company, and artistic director of the international theater festival LÓKAL in Reykjavík.

Looks forward to leading the Arctic Arts Festival

Skúladóttir has had a strong Arctic presence for several years and was involved in the festivals both in 2016 and 2017 (the Arctic Arts Summit). She is also working on programming theater and dance for the 2019 festival. The new director expects to start in March 2019, so there will be an overlap period with the current director, Maria Utsi. She is looking forward to working with one of Norway's biggest festivals:

- I look very much forward to come to Harstad to work with the great team at FINN, one of Scandinavia’s biggest multi disciplinary arts festivals. The geographical and geopolitical location is very appealing to me; I have previously worked in the north, and enjoy very much the particular resiliance and forthrigthness that comes with working and living in these environments. FINN has been undergoing an important transition in recent years - under Maria Utsi´s leadership – and I am thrilled about leading the festival into an exciting future, says Skúladóttir. 

Acknowledged arts leader

Leader of the board, Jens Johan Hjort is pleased to get Skúladóttir as director of the Festival:

- The Arctic Arts Festival is fortunate to have signed one of the strongest art leaders of the Arctic, with an impressive artistic profile. Her work within the Icelandic performing arts field is significant. In addition to her background as theater director, artistic director and dean of the department of performing arts at Iceland Academy of the Arts, she has also been a key driver in the establishment of the first international stage art festival in Iceland, LÓKAL. With Ragnheiður we have gotten a strong leader with experience from both producing performing arts and managing festivals. She also has an impressive international experience and network, says Hjort.

Further development

Skúladóttir has already started the planning for the festival in 2020, seeking to build on the multidisciplinary focus of the Arctic Arts Festival;

- During summer solstice each year, the Arctic Arts Festival is a celebration of the best and most remarkable work of art; a festival that is obliged to produce and present to the public new work in the field of music, theatre, visual arts and dance. I want to build on the strong ties that the Arctic Arts Festsival has with the local and international music scene and enhance further the programming of performative events rooted in theatre, dance and visual art. As a believer in the importance and power of art, I have a particular interest in the connectivity of the art disciplines and this will be a big focus point when it comes to programming the Arctic Arts Festival; something I’m already concerned about in relation to the festivities in 2020. I also want to explore further the festival’s role outside of the actual festival week; how we may instigate and incubate a thriving discourse and arts practice in the region. In the end the goal remains to continue to build up an internationally and locally respected arts festival which connects the residents of the region with the rest of the world, says Skúladóttir.