Nordic education, culture and media:

Nordic culture, education and media

As well as content on culture, education and media, you will also find articles on art, literature, belief systems and public policy. Phenomena as diverse as Nordic noir, new Nordic cuisine and Nordic design have achieved global recognition more recently, as Nordic literature and architecture have done historically. Culture is taken in its broadest sense, including for example political culture and that of belief systems, such as the Lutheran church. Content about all these issues and more will be found on this page. 


Portrait of the influential Danish writer and critic Georg Brandes, taken in 1903. Photo: Det Kgl. Biblioteks billedsamling (The Danish National Library's collection of Prints and Photographs).

2021.03.19 | Podcast, Janet Garton, Paul Larkin, Culture, Literature

The Scandinavian Modern Breakthrough

The social, political and literary movement from around 1870 to 1900 in Scandinavia was called the Modern Breakthrough. It was a backlash against conservatism, both culturally and politically, and led to countless challenging and fascinating pieces of fictional and non-fictional literature and art. Authors were like celebrities, propounding social…

Vilgot Sjöman outside Folkets Bio Malmö in 1987. Photo: Jonn Leffmann, Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 3.0.

2021.03.19 | Biography, Lars Gustaf Andersson, The arts

Vilgot Sjöman 1924 - 2006

The Swedish novelist and film director Vilgot Sjöman was born in Stockholm in 1924. Sjöman’s output was extensive and included novels and essays as well as political statements and contributions to debates on moral topics; but first and foremost he was a film director.

Gunnþórunn Guðmundsdóttir is Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Iceland.

2021.03.15 | Podcast, Gunnþórunn Guðmundsdóttir, Literature, University of Iceland

Iceland: Uncovering the past in Nordic Literature with Gunnþórunn Guðmundsdóttir

Literature can tell us a lot about a society and Nordic literature is no different – especially when it envisages the past in new ways, filling the gaps that have been left by dominant narratives. Gunnþórunn Guðmundsdóttir, Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Iceland, specialises in literatures and cultures…

Elisabeth Staksrud is professor in media and communications at the University of Oslo.

2021.03.04 | Podcast, Elisabeth Staksrud, Media, Education, University of Oslo

Norway: Uncovering Nordic Childhood in an Online World with Elisabeth Staksrud

Children being exposed to a certain level of risk is not always seen as a bad thing in the Nordics; exposure can give children the tools to deal with risk and help them to become resilient and independent. The attitude of caregivers, teachers and children in the Nordics to online risk also reflects this approach - while elsewhere in the world a…

Portrait photo of Mai Zetterling taken in 1948. Photo: K. W. Gullers, Nordiska museet. CC BY-NC-ND.

2021.02.19 | Biography, Lars Gustaf Andersson, The arts

Mai Zetterling 1925-1994

The Swedish actress and film director Mai Zetterling was born in Västerås in 1925. Having established herself as a popular actress in Swedish film, Zetterling moved to England where she acted in several films, among them 'Only Two Can Play' (1962) with Peter Sellers.

Janne Holmén is Associate Professor in the Department of Education at the University of Uppsala in Sweden.

2021.02.15 | Podcast, Janne Holmén, Education, Public policy, Södertörn University

Sweden: Uncovering Nordic Education and Society with Janne Holmén

This podcast tackles a wide-range of factors about the educational systems of the Nordic countries, focusing primarily on Sweden and comparisons with Finland. On the way, it answers the following questions: Why does the Finnish education system have such a good reputation around the world? After decades of reform, is the Swedish education…

The interplay between schooling, religion, and political decision-making at the local and national level is complex. Listen to Mette Buchardt providing a historical overview of how all these issues weave together from 1950 to today. Photo: Yadid Levy, Norden.org (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).

2021.01.28 | Podcast, Mette Buchardt, Education, Multiculturalism

Podcast: Migrant Children in the Nordics: A Conversation on Schooling

In current times, schools are often hot spots for education policy initiatives driven by party politics. Encounters between the majority ethnic group and newcomer children can be exaggerated or underplayed depending on the political context, and it can be a highly contested area. In this podcast, the head of Aalborg University’s Centre for…

Bo Widerberg, 1968. Photo: Norrlandsbild/Bosse Emanuelsson. CC BY-NC.

2021.01.20 | Biography, Lars Gustaf Andersson, The arts

Bo Widerberg 1930 – 1997

The Swedish film director, drama director and novelist Bo Widerberg was born in Malmö in 1930. After several novels and collections of short stories, Widerberg published a collection of critical essays, 'Visionen i svensk film' (1962) (The Vision of Swedish film), in which he attacked Sweden’s insular film culture and promoted a new wave of…

Sally Salminen, probably taken at a handicraft exhibition shortly after the publication of Katrina and her breakthrough on to the literary scene. Source: Museiverket. CC BY 4.0

2020.12.28 | Article, Sally Salminen, Ulrika Gustafsson, Paul Larkin, Literature

Sally Salminen and her work

In 1936 the Finland-Swedish writer Sally Salminen won a literary prize for her first novel 'Katrina' which saw her life change. That someone like her, unknown and from the working class, could write such a good book was a global sensation - she was a living example of the American dream. From then on, she could stop working as a maid and become…

Should racist depictions in children's literature be erased? Is erasure an important part of rewriting history and trying to right historic wrongs, or will it lead to a sanitisation and neglect of important aspects of our past? Photo: Colourbox.

2020.12.17 | Article, Vibeke Sofie Sandager Rønnedal, Culture, Minorities, Aarhus University

Racism in classic pieces of Nordic children's literature

Some of the most beloved figures in Nordic children’s literary classics from the 20th century are rooted in narrow-minded caricatures, and racial prejudice can be so subtly embedded in many older pieces of literature that even contemporary readers are blinded to it. The discussion surrounding the republishing of some of these controversial books…

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