Expedition participant takes a rest in an ice cave

Photo: Jens Peter Johannes Lindhard

Arctic Imagination - conversations about a world in climate change

If you imagine the Arctic, you probably see snow, ice and frost. But the mythical region is melting. We focus on the high north in the company of writers, scientists and artists.

In 2017-2018, we carried out the project Arctic Imagination, where you could experience writers, scientists and artists address the Arctic. Now Arctic Imagination 2.0 is here, and on that occasion we have collected recordings of the events from the first round for you.

Facts: Arctic Imagination 2017-2018

Arctic Imagination 2.0 follows up on the first edition of Arctic Imagination, which was held in the period 2017-2018.

National libraries in New York, Nuuk, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo then joined forces on a unified platform where the world's most pressing theme was discussed in conversations between artists. Based on photos, maps and manuscripts from the archives of the National Libraries, the international performers talked about the possible future of the Arctic.

The Arctic is undergoing a dramatic transformation. From merciless, frozen and desolate to a geopolitical flashpoint. Today, the region is affected by increasing water masses and accelerating climate change. The change not only affects our planet in a physical sense, but will also affect our artistic and intellectual understanding of the world. Because what happens to our culture and civilization when the Arctic melts and no longer represents a metaphorical outer boundary? And what kind of future can we imagine in a warmer North?

Throughout the ages, the Arctic has become a symbol of the unconquered and mysterious and has attracted numerous explorers, artists and scientists. With that curiosity and interdisciplinary approach, Arctic Imagination will shed light on the region's physical and symbolic transformation with a series of conversations about the disappearing ice and rising temperatures.

Arctic Imagination is a library collaboration across the Atlantic, where the libraries' extensive Arctic archives and collections act as a sounding board for conversations on the libraries' stages.

Arctic Imagination 2.0 stems from the Nordic Ministers of Culture's event-based cultural exchange effort with Canada, Nordic Bridges. The events are a series of curated conversations between Canadian, Greenlandic and Danish artists and thinkers, and take place both in Copenhagen at the Black Diamond and at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Canada.

Arctic Imagination 2022

Listen to podcasts from this year's Arctic Imagination's talk series:

Ed Burtynsky in conversation with Minik Rosing

In this talk, one of the world's leading geologists, Minik Rosing, and the Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky discuss the ability of science to enlighten, the ability of art to make people act and, not least, all the beauty we stand to lose.

Jonathan Franzen in conversation with Kristina Stoltz

In this talk, the authors Jonathan Franzen (USA) and Kristina Stoltz (DK) discuss the biodiversity crisis, the way we talk about the climate crisis and what we dare not talk about.

Dorthe Dahl-Jensen in conversation with Ray Zahab

In this talk, professor and researcher at the Centre for Ice and Climate, Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, and Canadian explorer Ray Zahab discuss rising water levels, the dizzying uncertainty of climate change, and why it is so important to nurture the scientific enthusiasm of young people.

Katherine Richardson in conversation with Angela Rawlings

In this talk, oceanography professor Katherine Richardson and Canadian artist Angela Rawlings discuss geoengineering, the problematic "politically interesting" timeframe, and why we actually call our planet Earth when it is primarily covered in water.

Jesse Wente in conversation with Svend Hardenberg

In this talk, major contractor and actor Svend Hardenberg and the Canadian cultural personality Jesse Wente discuss indigenous communities and the stories that only they can tell, e.g. about arctic surroundings melting away before their eyes.

Arctic Imagination, 2017

Watch the videos from 2017, when Arctic Imagination was held for the first time:

Laurie Anderson + Sjón (Arctic Imagination 2017)

An unpredictable and philosophical conversation between two creative minds who have both worked with and been inspired by the Arctic.The world-famous American artist Laurie Anderson talking about the Arctic with the Icelandic poet and writer Sjón.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau + Minik Rosing + Martin Breum (Arctic Imagination 2017)

This was the seventh event in Denmark under the heading 'Arctic Imagination': an artistic brainstorm about the disappearing ice and the rising temperatures across the Atlantic Ocean.

Olafur Eliasson + Paul Holdengräber (Arctic Imagination 2017)

The temperatures are rising and the Arctic ice is melting – what role can art play? The world-famous Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson in conversation with Paul Holdengräber, director of the New York Public Library's LIVE stage.

Kim Leine + Simon Winchester (Arctic Imagination 2018)

Kim Leine, one of the most admired contemporary Nordic voices, joins American author Simon Winchester in a conversation about the Arctic.

Live stream our events

You can follow from home when our Arctic Imagination 2.0 events take place. Find the individual events below.