Norwegian Arts Abroad Programme

Maria Brinch 'I'm out of here I go again' at Elephant Kunsthall 04.09.2021 – 03.10.2021
In November 2021 Norwegian Arts Abroad launched a new cross-cultural competence programme: NAA Programme, with a pilot project that took place in 2021–2022

The deadline for the pilot project 2021–2022 has passed (27 September 2021).

There is a great international demand for Norwegian film, music, visual arts, crafts, performing arts, design, architecture and literature. Similarly, there is great potential for boosting the internationalisation of the cultural industry and exports of art from Norway.

The aim of the competence program 'NAA Programme' is to increase the market shares and revenues from the international activities of Norwegian artists, performers, sales reps and rightsholders. The participants will acquire higher internationalisation skills from industry experts while strengthening their opportunities for international exposure. The program offers both resources, financing, expertise, experience sharing and access to international networks.

The program will have seven participant-teams from the fields of music, performing arts, literature, crafts, visual arts, film, design and architecture.

The NAA Programme is being conducted as a pilot project by Norwegian Arts Abroad (NAA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to create more international opportunities for the Norwegian arts and creative industries in the reopening after COVID-19.

NAA invites international experts to share their expertise and market insights with the participants. The program will cater to the participant’s needs to help them realise their projects. The goal is to develop sustainable businesses by reaching out more broadly, internationally, to professionals, decision-makers and the public. Over the course of four gatherings, participants will gain insight into how to launch, disseminate or sell art internationally:

Gathering 1: Presentation techniques and storytelling
Gathering 2: Market knowledge in well-known markets and art fields
Gathering 3: Digital opportunities, new markets and art fields
Gathering 4: International launches and the way forward

The NAA Programme includes seven participant-teams consisting of a practicing artist and an agent, who apply for an international project they will realize together. A team can for example be a visual artist and a gallery, a craft artist and a curator, musician and manager, designer and producer, director and producer or author and agent. The program is divided into two parts, the participants will receive a grant to help them fulfill their international projects, and they will also, at the same time, take part in competence-enhancing professional gatherings.

  • The program is intended for those who already have international partners and a demand for their work abroad, and who also have ambitions to increase their international market shares.
  • Participants must apply with a specific and export-ready project, with a realistic budget, which they will implement during the program.
  • Participants consist of a team of a practitioner and a representative working in rights sales or promotion. The application is submitted as a team.
  • Participants will receive a grant to be used for implementing the project they have applied for.
  • Participants must commit to attending the professional gatherings.
  • The participants’ projects will be promoted via films and social media campaigns as part of the programme.

NAA Programme pilot 2021–2022

Thursday 25 November 2021, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Anniken Huitfeldt, launched the programme and its seven teams of participants at a reception in the State Representation House. Funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this pilot project will get Norwegian art out into the world. Seven artist-teams, consisting of one Norwegian artist and an agent, will each receive NOK 200,000 in support from NAA to fulfil the internationalisation of their projects within film, literature, crafts, visual arts, design, music and the performing arts.

Artist Maria Brinch and the artist-run gallery Elephant Kunsthall in Lillehammer is the selected team from the craft field for the pilot 2021–2022. They will participate with the book project ATLAS ON IRON Together with the other program participants, they will take part in a series of competence-enhancing professional gatherings led by Norwegian and international experts. The participants will meet for four gatherings throughout autumn 2021 and spring 2022, and follow a course that will explore topics such as presentation techniques, market knowledge, digitisation, new markets and international launches. Learn more about ATLAS ON IRON.

The seven project teams taking part in the NAA Programme pilot with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt at the launch event held in the state representatives house Thursday 25 November 2022.
From left to right: Anniken Huitfeldt, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Mads Andreas Andreassen, Founder/Director Elephant Kunsthall; Maria Brinch, Artist

Participants 2021–2022

The artist Maria Brinch and the artist-run gallery Elephant Kunsthall in Lillehammer will be collaborating on the exhibition project Atlas on Iron. The exhibition is being curated by the Hamburg-based curator and art historian Martha Kazungu (UG) and scheduled to be shown in Hamburg, Germany in 2022/2023. In Atlas on Iron, Brinch unites the social aspect of craftsmanship, where the exchange of traditional knowledge is seen as a platform for personal narratives and political experiences across cultures, resources and understandings.

Nordting, by Amund Sjølie Sveen and Inger-Marie Lupton, is a mobile people's assembly for the Cap of the North - a party for the periphery and a separatist movement for the Arctic. Nordting is an expanded performing arts project which aims to change the prevailing narrative about the northern areas, as well as shifting the existing balance of power. Photo: Michael Miller

Saxophonist Bendik Giske is participating along with manager Sofie B. Ringstad and the project Cracks Tour. Photo: Luis Alberto Rodriguez

Furniture and product designer Sverre Uhnger, of the designer-duo Jenkins & Uhnger, is collaborating with the producer Nuen on the chair Minus – a piece of furniture produced at the very lowest cost to the environment. How? New technology, local production and local materials that will set a new standard for furniture production – in Norway and abroad. Photo: Sverre Uhnger

Victoria Kielland's critically acclaimed novel My Men, (original title Mine menn, published by No Comprendo Press), is a poetic and captivating literary fantasy about Brynhild who traveled from Selbu to the United States in the late 1800s and ended up as Belle Gunness, America's first female serial killer. The book has already been sold to several countries, and participation in the competence program will strengthen and continue this work. Photo: Julia Marie Naglestad

Jennie Hagevik Bringaker is the first artist to be presented internationally by Jenny Kinge via the art gallery Femtensesse. Photo: Tove Sivertsen

The Recovery Channel is a genre-exploring film by director Ellen Ugelstad, which imitates the news-report aesthetic by using a newscaster, vignettes and features. This is an alternative news broadcast which goes in-depth and presents news that is exclusively about mental health, while also addressing the role of the media, its power and how its scant format helps to define how we receive knowledge about mental illness, diagnoses and coercion. The film is produced by Twentyone Pictures AS, Tonje Alice Madsen and Ellen Ugelstad.

See all the final projects here

The program's application deadline was in September, by which time 28 applications had been received from the various fields of art. Of these applications, seven projects, one from each discipline, were selected by an international jury comprising members from each art field.

The international jury consisted of:

Walter Heun, Artistic & Executive Director, Joint Adventures, Germany
Nanna Hjortenberg
, Director, CHART Art Fair, Denmark
Alex Gilbert, Associate Director, Friedman Benda, USA
Nicole James
, Founder of The James Literary Agent, USA
Klara Nilsso
n Grunning, Film Commissioner NFI, Sweden
Maurice Jones
, Curator, MUTEK, Canada
Hanna Nova Beatrice, Editor-in-Chief of The New Era, Sweden

Photos and press release available here
Press release from the Norwegian Government here

Apply for the NAA Programme

The application deadline for the pilot project has passed (27 September, 2021). Check this website for updates on future opportunities in the NAA Programme.


  • Applicants (the team) must be familiar with their specified field of art through relevant experience and previous projects.
  • Applicants must have a clear artistic profile and plans for international investment.
  • Applicants must display obvious potential and ambition.
  • Applicants must have a project that is ready to be launched internationally.
  • Applicants must commit themselves to attending gatherings, and to sharing insights and expertise with the other participants in the group.
  • The applicant must be registered as a legal entity in the Brønnøysund Register.

Send your application in English (2-4 pages) to Norwegian Arts Abroad. The application must contain a project description for a specific project, including plans for international activities, and within a budget of NOK 200,000. The support can be used to cover expenses such as travel, marketing, events, translation, launches, mentoring, legal fees or other resources relevant to implementing the project.

Selections are made by an international jury in collaboration with Norwegian Arts Abroad.

For questions regarding the program and the application, contact the Norwegian Arts Abroad organisation that works for your field:

DOGA, Anita Cecilie Drabløs
NFI, Rune Tellefsen,
NORLA, Oliver Møystad,
Norwegian Crafts, Hege Henriksen,
Music Norway, Kathrine S. Finnskog,
OCA, Toril F. Høye,


Norwegian Arts Abroad (NAA) is the network of organisations that disseminates art from Norway internationally – Performing Arts Hub Norway, Design and Architecture Norway, Music Norway, NORLA, Norwegian Film Institute, Norwegian Crafts, Office for Contemporary Art Norway. Together, we create new international opportunities for practitioners within the Norwegian arts.