Baltic Sea Festival: Culture and Democracy in the Baltic Sea Region

With the aim to inspire and encourage cultural actors to lead the way towards sustainable, resilient democracies in our region, the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS), the Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI) and the Swedish Institute (SI) organized a livestreamed roundtable discussion on September 12.

The event revolved around culture, cultural diplomacy and transparent democracies. Three key speakers from fields of culture and politics catalyzed the discussion by presenting their viewpoints, experiences, and specific perspectives. Audience members were invited to contribute to the discussion and pose questions to the speakers at the conclusion of the event. 

The speakers were:

  • Dr Evan Fein is a graduate and current faculty member of the Juilliard School, USA, as well as a composer. He talked about the transformation of young artistic talents into compassionate professionals through the school’s many socially oriented programs.
  • Ms Ellen Sarkisian Åkerman is an intern with the Stockholm Centre for Eastern European Studies (SCEEUS) at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs. With a background in Russian art and feminism Ms Sarkisian Åkerman talked about the societal hub that culture and politics create in Russia.
  • Mr Stefan Ingvarsson, Senior Analyst with the Stockholm Centre for Eastern European Studies (SCEEUS) at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs, has a background in diplomacy, culture, publishing and journalism. He focused on how Poland’s neoconservative and nationalist turn has affected artistic freedom in practice and the understanding of what free art is and should be. 

The discussion was facilitated by Ms Hedda Krausz Sjögren – Director, Producer and Government Official, former cultural attaché to South Africa.

This event was organized in collaboration with the Baltic Sea Festival, a festival for musical experiences and inspirational talks which took place September 9-18. It included the musical piece “Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman” by the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. The discussion was livestreamed from 4pm to 6pm CET on September 12.