Barents Spektakel is Norway’s most border-crossing festival!

Since 2004, Barents Spektakel has been a cultural-political cocktail with contemporary art and music, theatre and performance, literature and architecture and seminars and debates as its ingredients – all spiced with current issues related to the Barents Region and the High North in general.

Despite the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will go ahead as planned in 2021, continuing its border-crossing mission for the 17th time through an adapted, hybrid format that will combine local and digital events. Our priority is to keep everyone safe this year and to continue to do something special under the circumstances. Check out our social media pages for all the latest updates!

The curatorial team of Pikene på Broen will work together with artists, collaborative partners, and members of local communities to experiment with new and responsive ways of working across borders under unusual conditions. The team will set up a series of enquiries to discover what it means to do something that is ‘essential’ in life, how these thoughts and actions shape our understandings of everyday living, and where exactly arts and cultural activities fit into these conversations.

Barents Spektakel 2021:

What is Essential here?

Considerations of ‘the essentials’ have been fundamental in the past year, not only for governments managing the COVID-19 pandemic, but for many of us negotiating new, everyday ways of being in the world – amidst the uncertainty of this ongoing health crisis, activities such as work, movement, communication, and a whole spectrum of social actions, are all prompting questions as to what is ‘necessary’, ‘key’, or ‘essential’ within a range of conversations, contexts, and settings.

At a time of information saturation and continuing global insecurity, these are context-dependent issues where the subtle aspects of living are often as important to consider as the greater shifts – How can art, poetry, and local voices respond and contribute towards these discussions? How can we think beyond our human perspectives when we consider these ideas? What deeper issues are at play, and what forms of organisation emerge, as our previous priorities and value systems undergo radical change? And what does all of this mean specifically for life in the North?

Just as other arts and cultural activities attempt to adapt to ongoing restrictions, the 17th edition of Barents Spektakel will also experiment with how to keep going despite the present challenges. During February 2021, it is likely to be the first year in the festival’s history when Kirkenes is unable to physically welcome its closest neighbours on the Russian side of the border. The festival’s form will therefore closely connect to its theme, as solutions and new ways of thinking are found to maintain important relationships, and to figure out how we can continue to work together and create new connections.


Neal Cahoon
curatorial team
Mobile: +47 48 66 82 29

Inger Blix Kvammen
Mobile: +47 95 06 45 64

Franziska Kraiczy
administrative director
Mobile: +47 98 62 95 14

Kjetil Nicolaisen
technical manager
Mobile: +47 98 11 78 57

Andrea Astrup
media and public relations assistant
Mobile: +47 97 02 95 64

Masha Kotlyachkova
curatorial team
Mobile: +46 707 494 792

Ingrid Valan
curatorial team
Mobile: +47 48 14 03 95

Evgenia Bektasova
producer and project manager
Mobile: +47 99 89 06 12

Ekaterina Pirogova
media and public relations
Mobile: +7 905 771 73 22