On Fanoe we have many special things. Life on the island has its own category on my blog menu, so check that out if this post makes you want to know more about this holiday paradise island.
Today I want to tell you about an organization, where I have been a board member since 2008.
It is called Kulturelt Samraad. Which can be translated into Cultural…Advisory Board, perhaps? It is a group of volunteers run like an Ngo, but really a part of the local council. K.S.receives a given sum of money every year, from the politicians’ budget, and then we take cae of the applications for local cultural projects and events. We have received about… £ 8.000, the last few years… 89.000 Dkr for those of you into knowing the exact amount.
So we meet once a month, in eachother’s homes, and look at the newest applications, and decide if we can support the event or project financially. It is a lot of fun actually. To see who wants to make what happen on our local cultural arena. And be able to give them a helping hand if we find its valuable to the citizens. Cultural events/projects is a very broad category. We for example last year got an application from a group who made a meeting of Citroen cars. We wrote them and said that we would support them and pay their expenses for posters and flyers, if they made a parade event for the locals and invited Fanoe’s citizens to their gathering in some shape or form. They were really happy. They had not imagined the local people would be interested in them in that way.
We give money to concerts, or the making of a puppet for a children’s play, or folk dancing workshops, Fanoe story telling festival, street theatre festival, poetry readingd in a gallery, a series of talks about music… anything. As long as the locals have access to it, and it is not a purely commercial project. A hard line to define. But between us we manage.
The discussions are always interesting, and we also make our own projects.
One year we got made a big wodden picture frame and placed it on the harbour!
It was three metres long and teo metres high, something like that. There was an elevated floor behind it, a kind of small stage. Lots of groups of tourists had their photo taken in the frame, resulting in Fanoetrips ending up in lots of local German papers, and facebook pages… It was a pretty frame, with big flowers carved into it. Hang on, I have a picture of it from an art festival last Summer, who borrowed it:
(I´m in the frame too, wearing a bright blue vest, in the middle of the back row there… I participated in the festival´s art exhibition with my videopoem installation Linking, you can see it in my blogpost called Linking… I also was hired to be the festival video documentation maker, so I filmed throughout the festival, all the exhibited pieces by 35 people, and landart and workshops…it became a 2 hours long chain of short films…wonderful job, I love to film and edit art).
When it comes to other projects K.S. has initiated, we invited a woman once, to do a play for the school children. And this winter we invited a musician to come and do a workshop in three parts for the kindergarten children (one group of 2-3yearolds and one group of 4-5yearolds), plus in the afternoon she make talks for adults about “The secret language of music”. (I have written a post about that project, called “work?”).
Some years ago we also made a sketch for a beautiful outdoor stage we would like to see on the harbour. (Different area to where the frame was put). Shaped like a huge sail, made of glass and iron, by local artists… we got a model made, and technical data put together in a nice presentation, we had meetings with the artists and the council. They were interested in the idea, but then suddenly, months into the proces, said it had to wait until later. Now they seem to have hired a company from the mainland to develope that area of the harbour. That’s a bit disappointing. We are so many qualified people here, who would like to make a mark on our island´s little towns. And we know what our needs are and our island´s esthetical style/atmosphere, more than a company from outside can ever know. But there you go. Politics. So many interests involved.
Our latest great idea, is to get two swings set up, for adults! So that two adults could sit down next to eachother, and have a turn on good size swings. Maybe overlooking the ocean. Or set on a children’s playground. It is a technically quite demanding project to materialize, one needs engineer reports and stuff like that. But we are working on it.
We have a facebook page and a facebook group for locals to advertize their events etc.
(Search for Fanø Kulturelt Samråd, I can´t figure out how to link to the page directly here now)
And we have a new homepage, findable on Google!
(I wish I could make it pop up here with a direct link, but).
We are nine members. From age 19-70. Every year we hold an election, and some may leave and new people join. So the group is dynamic and it’s interesting to see how the group’s energy changes according to who the members are. Our meetings are very “hyggelige” (see my post Danish “hygge”, it’s a cultural concept central to why Denmark is said in a UN report to be the country in the world with the happiest population)! We have bread and cheese at the meetings, coffee and wine most times. And we are ofcourse interested in arts, all of us, so there is plenty to talk about. And then we just give money to people. Sweet as a nut.
Here is a picture of the KS board at our 30.anniversary party in November 2013. It was one amazingly brilliant party, for children and adults alike, the island’s foreigners made an international buffet of hot dishes and of cakes (extremely popular), and 35 artists gave an act on the stage as a present to the board. 500 people came. Big succes. (Fanoe has 3000 citizens).
It was so much fun to organize it, the nine of us lifting together, creating something quite remarkable. The party is a big source of inspiration for the new ngo I am part of creating these days, called The Incredibles. Read all about that fantastically ambitious project, in the post “The Incredibles on Fanoe.
Here is a paragraph about the K.S. party from that same blogpost,”The Incredibles on Fanoe” I quote:
“The climax of the party happened when the last act went on stage. It was belly dancing by the woman we all know as our tourist information desk lady.
She was wearing this great bellydancer costume, everybody was smiling and clapping, suddenly she comes dancing down the stairs from the stage snd she shouts at us that we must join her and dance too!
And immediately, I tell you, hundreds of people jump up from their chairs and we just burst into this wonderful freestyle dancing to Arabic music! Everybody just grinning.
You don’t get a lot of those moments in a lifetime.
After the dance, we all took each other’s hands and formed a circle, and we sang the local song always sung at the end of a party. It goes, “To gather and to part, welcome and farewell…” Very nice, old melody.
After that a man played a tune on his bagpipe (!) signalling the party was over, time to leave. And then. I expected people to drizzle off and for the nine of us to start tidying up the place. But everybody just jumped to their feet and started taking tables apart, gathering garbage into binbags, taking chairs to where they were stored…. I mean. That´s just… plain… opposite of evil. ! It was mindblowing for me to see the guests involving themselves in the tidying up. We were all just very happy, tidying up like a whirlwind, finished in no time. Sweet!”
Yeah… Kulturelt Samraad… wonderful organization.
We just held our yearly election meeting last Wednesday. Cake and coffe for the participants, in a local restaurant. (Every citizen of Fanoe above the age of 14, are members of K.S., and can come to the annual meetings and ask for election or vote for the people who want to be elected).
At the annual meetings we read out loud our accounts and budget,(everyone receives a printed copy of our balancing sheet, stamped to be legal by our accountants) and then the fore-woman’s report is read out, all about what we have done this last year, which events we have supported…
Three members wanted to leave this year. We will miss them. One of them, a pensioned librarian who also makes lovely paintings, he joined the board in 08, same time as me. So now I am the only veteran, who has been a member the longest. Our three new members are all women, one in her 20s and the other two a couple of decades older. Very nice ladies all three of them, known individuals by us remaining KS members.
It isn’t easy to recruit new members to volunteer boards here, as there are so many ngos on Fanoe. People tend to already sit in a couple of boards.
Fanoe has got the most ngos per citizen in the whole of Denmark! It has a very high level of activities. Anything from one wheeled bikeriders club to petanque, anything from horse riding to yoga to different music festival organizers, to a yearly event where they show the old folk costumes and the special folk dance and Fanoe folk music…
Yes, it is easy to get too organized here! 🙂
So our three new members are friends of our existing members. I’m looking forward to meeting with the new group, and for us to get to know eachother and have discussions with voices from new angles.
We have our first meeting on Wednesday. So I have to get the report from the year meeting sent out to them, reminding them of the address and time of the meeting. (I´m the secretary in K.S.).
Wish us luck with another year of cultural fun!
And feel free to like our Facebook page. We don’t update that often, but there are photos etc… a Facebook like is always a nice thing to receive.
I hope this post can inspire. All local councils should give away this bit of power to the citizens, I reckon. It really gives us a feeling of having influence, when the local cultural events supported is decided by a board of civilians, not party members with political agendas. The council gives us a high degree of freedom. We have made the criteria for giving support, and other rules, ourselves.
Empowering. An important word. A central feel good factor in anyone’s life.
I am so glad to have gone on board this board. I’m not at all bored!