Performing Arts from the Northern Network for Performing Arts and Silence Festival

Project Spotlight: Two organizations supporting artistic development and collaboration in Northern Finland. 

ᓄᓇᐃᑦ ᓯᓚᕐᔪᐊᑉ ᑲᓇᖕᓇᖓᓂᑦ ᐱᓕᕆᖃᑎᒌᖕᓂᖅ ᓴᖅᑭᑎᑦᑎᓂᖅ
A performer in a snow-covered mountain landscape arches their body in a bridge on a rocky ledge. To their left, a stand-up banner for the Northern Network for Performing Arts is installed on the mountain.

This project spotlight profiles two organizations working to support and present performing arts practices in the North of Finland. Both organizations aim to foster collaboration amongst and between performance artists of the North, across borders and artistic disciplines, with an emphasis on contributing to the vibrant artistic ecosystems of northern communities. 

A performer in a snow-covered mountain landscape arches their body in a bridge on a rocky ledge. To their left, a stand-up banner for the Northern Network for Performing Arts is installed on the mountain.
Emma Langmoen performing in Iceland in 2019. PHOTO: CHRISTOFFER COLLINA.

Northern Network for Performing Arts

The Northern Network for Performing Arts is a network of artists, organizations, festivals and communities working in the performing arts in the High North region in the Nordic countries. The Network aims to strengthen performing arts collaboration in the region and to improve regional capacity in international collaboration, share information and best practices, and provide a platform for encounters.

The Northern Network supports the work of individual artists. The network also gathers art professionals in the region to meetings and events, helping them to create new professional relations. This network of support is important especially in the region with small communities often separated by long distances. The network provides platforms where new networks and projects can be created. For individual artists or other art professionals, the network offers a regional performing arts community.

For performing arts organizations, the network provides support and visibility. The network coordinates projects and matchmaking for organizations in the region to collaborate. The network makes the performing art organizations and their events better known regionally and globally. Together, the organizations can reach bigger audiences and better serve artists and art professionals. Through collaboration, the organizations can make their work more ecologically and economically sustainable in the future.

The Northern Network for Performing Arts believes that by strengthening northern collaboration in the arts, we can develop the High North region into a more attractive and culturally vivid area which can offer more working possibilities for the artists and will give a reason for young artists to stay in—and return to—the North.

The Northern Network is also eager to find and create new practices to work as a network and to include individual artists and their need in the decision making of the network.

This network of artists and art professionals was established in January 2018 in Tromsø by Silence organization (FI), RadArt (NO), Cycle—Music and Art Festival (IS) and Nuuk Nordic Culture Festival (GL). The organizations have been collaborating since 2017. The four organizations together form an operational group of the network.

A circus performer with blue hair and a blue and purple dress performs near the entryway to a red and white building, balanced upside-down on their shoulder, with one leg stabilizing them against the railing of the building.
Circus artist Karita Tikka performing Iso Hämärä at Silence Festival (2021). PHOTO: VERA VARJOMA.

Silence Festival

Silence Organization (Artists Association Silence) organizes an annual multidisciplinary art festival called Silence Festival in Kittilä, in Northern Finland. In addition, the association runs an artist residency program in Kittilä, organizes multi-disciplinary art concerts and coordinates multiple projects.

Contemporary classical music and contemporary circus, combined with unusual surroundings form the essence of Silence Festival. The river Ounasjoki, running through the village creates a special atmosphere and most years it also has a role in the festival program. 

The festival was born from an idea by circus artist Sakari Männistö and producer Joonas Martikainen to fill the Kaukonen village with high-level performing arts. The Silence Festival has been multidisciplinary since the beginning. It brings the most interesting performances and artists from Finland and abroad to Lapland province. The festival is a platform for surprising encounters with people, nature and different artforms.

Each year, Silence Festival consists of about 20–30 events, including concerts, performances and seminars. The average audience capacity for one event is approximately 20–70 spectators. 


This story is part of the Finland Spotlight. View more content from the Spotlight here.