It is with great pleasure I welcome you to Skåne, in the very south of Sweden. I’m very happy that the 2022 ASSITEJ Artistic Gathering will take place here in Skåne in connection with this year’s Bibu – the Swedish biennial performing arts for children and youth. The Regional Culture Committee has been funding and supporting the biennial since the first Bibu was organized in 2006. And we are both happy and proud that Bibu has developed to be the most important meeting place with, for and about professional performing arts for young audience in Sweden.
The theme for Bibu this year – Leave no one behind – goes very well together with the regional culture plan for Skåne that is named “Together we create a culture life – open and accessible for everyone!”
The right for children and youth to experience a variety of art and culture from different art forms on regular basis has always been high on the agenda in Skåne. Children and youth’s right to culture is also one of the prioritized areas for development in the regional culture plan for Skåne. How we work to develop the culture for children and youth starts from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. It means that we need to respect and promote the right of the child to participate fully in cultural and artistic life, opportunities for their own creation and to acquire an individual aesthetic language, regardless of where they come from, their own abilities or individual conditions and preferences.
In Skåne we have broad culture life with a lot of variety. Many of the cultural organisations stands out for their quality and innovation when it comes to their work for and together with a young audience. We have several independent theatres, dance and circus companies specialised in performing arts for children and youth, strong institutions in the bigger cities, a great network of organizers in every part of Skåne, a strong municipal culture school, innovative methods for participation and not the least a great number of artist that is devoted to create art and culture for a young audience. The diversity of the culture life and the richness and variety of the cultural landscape is characteristic for Skåne. The cultural heritage is rich and it reminds us that Skåne always has been a place where people from different cultures and background have met and mingled. We continue to work together to make Skåne continue to be an open and welcoming region where people wants to visit, live and work. And we hope that everyone that visits Skåne during Bibu and ASSITEJ Artistic Gathering in May will feel welcomed.
In times like this is it even more important to fight for the freedom of art and culture. No matter what happens in the world we should never allow us to lose faith in the ability of art and culture to connect people and to let people’s stories, experiences and thoughts come alive. Create meaning and coherence in life. But also to stand up for democracy, equality and freedom of speech. It’s only in a free society culture and art can become a force to be reckoned with.
Personally I’m looking forward to spend some days in May at Bibu to explore amazing performances, listen to interesting presentations, take part of vivid discussions and, last but not least, get the chance to meet so many of you that works on daily basis to ensure that children and youth all over the world can experience performing arts in their lives. It is a privilege for me to welcome all of you to Skåne. Let us continue our mission to make life better for the coming generation and never stop believing in a better and brighter future.
Gitte Grönfeld Wille head of Department for Culture in Skåne since 2012. The regional budget for culture includes SEK 575 million. Most of the money goes direct to approximately 100 culture organisations in the region.