In the year 2022, the new program on Storytelling Nordic Baltic Stories for the three Baltic countries was launched. One of the most significant challenges facing public health in Nordic and Baltic societies is the growing level of problems with well-being among young people. Anxiety about the planet’s future, the struggles of the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, fear, and hypersocial isolation have resulted in many people feeling disconnected from friends and family. These dangers of disconnecting and disassociating are greater in youth who are part of minority communities and in youth living in rural areas.
The Nordic-Baltic Stories project will aim to engage youth up to the age of 26 in cultural activities where the main focus is on acute youth issues which influence well-being: social equality, human rights, and anxiety about the world issues such as the environmental crisis. Special focus will be put on youth in rural areas, vulnerable youth, and minority groups in the Baltics and the Nordics. These activities will give young people tools, knowledge, and a platform where they can voice their thoughts and fears and be heard.
This project is a follow-up to the Nordic Authors Crossing Borders project which was a cooperation project between all the NCM offices in the Baltics taking place over a three-year period from 2019 to 2021. During the authors’ projects, three creative writing/spoken word workshops were hosted for Nordic and Baltic young people between the ages of 15-19.
The first storytelling workshop took place in Jurmala in October 2022. The event gathered 18 youngsters and was led by a Swedish writing author from Finland Henrika Andersson. It focused on self-expression through the individual mystical memory. During the workshop participants learned about various methods for creating their own stories and later shared those with other participants.
The second storytelling workshop took place in Gulbene in February 2023 and was led by Linda Bondestam - a Finnish children's writer and illustrator. She has illustrated dozens of children’s books for Finnish and Swedish publishers, and her books have been translated into several languages including Arabic, Belorussian, Croatian, Danish, English, Finnish, German, Latvian, Norwegian, Russian, Serbian, Turkish, and Ukrainian. She is one of the most prominent children’s book illustrators in the Nordic countries.