Culture and cultural heritage as resource in Nome

03 July 2019 - Published by Anna Grude
KRAFT is the name of the pilot area in Nome municipality in Norway. KRAFT stands for culture and cultural heritage as resource for workplaces and belonging. Nome municipality is working with a lot of different things to use culture and cultural heritage as a resource for creating jobs, profits and belonging. Working with communication, holding workshops and meetings, connecting companies and attracting youth to Nome Municipality are some of the examples. In this article Marit Svalastog, Project Manager for KRAFT tells us more about their work.

What is the background of your pilot?
Nome municipality is struggling with an increasing proportion of older people. The project wants to see if cultural industries can help revitalize the municipality, and thus prevent this trend. The project plan has described KRAFT like this:

“KRAFT is a 3-year international project where the purpose is to use culture and cultural heritage as a resource for creating jobs, profits and belonging. The goal is 5 new small and medium-sized companies within culture and cultural heritage. The project will use new, research-based methods to sell and market cultural products, so that manufacturers get more sales and better earnings, and thus develop their cultural businesses in a sustainable manner.”

What you are doing in your pilot?
The pilot in Nome is called KRAFT and stands for culture and cultural heritage as resource for workplaces and belonging. There are also new ideas and projects stemming from the project that is called KRAFT-seeds and a Center of Excellence that is called KRAFT-høbben.
In KRAFT, we have interviewed and had meetings with several companies. Cultural players, investment companies, politicians, organizations and business developers. We have told them about the project and examined how they can connect to it to achieve a win-win situation, particularly taking interest in their needs and expectations. By linking companies from different industries, we want to find new salable products and an increased awareness of what can be achieved when collaborating across industries.

So far, most of the work has been to identify which players can be involved, but we have also had concrete results from the meetings in the form of new products and new ways of marketing. Recently we welcomed our first trainee. She will work with the Communication plan for KRAFT, educate companies in systematic use of social media, test new cultural products in the market and explore how an active cultural life can be a way of attracting youth to a local community.

We have two workshops planned in the pilot so far. One is with the Steering Committee and the Resource group. The workshop will be held in August 2019 and will focus on how we all can contribute to the communication of the project. The second workshop is a cross-sectoral workshop for businesses and the cultural sector that will be held in September 2019. The workshop will address two questions: “What can my business do for culture, and what can culture do for my business?

Together with Nome Tilflyttingsforum (Nome Home Movement Forum) we are planning a digital strategy where we want to involve youth (age 18-23 years) who show how they spend their spare time. We want youth to investigate the place, tell stories and spread the news about the place in their channels.
Where is your pilot located?
KRAFT-høbben is the Center of Excellence. It is located in the Competence House in the center of Ulefoss in the same department as the Telemark Canal, Mid-Telemark Area Development Corp, the local newspaper Kanalen and a contracting company that develops drone technology. The competence house is relatively new, and more businesses are going to move in. The project collaborates with a designer to express the site's DNA through the decoration inside the building and will test a new product that has emerged through the project as a decoration: Knitting patterns transferred to wallpapers.
Who are working together in your pilot and your region?
In KRAFT we emphasis the power of networking, deep involvement with the stakeholders and a mix of people representing different social segments. There is a tradition for cooperation between official and private sectors in Telemark County region. Many projects have a project group consisting of people who represent different municipalities, regions and sectors. Through our networks the project manager is recruited to a new project in Telemark County Council: “How to cooperate smarter in the region?” – led by the swedish company Future Place Leadership. Hopefully this will contribute to KRAFT.

In the pilot there is a broad-based steering group and resource group consisting of people from the public administration, the politicians, the funding, the business community, the university of South-Eastern Norway, the volunteers, the tourist office and business developers. At a daily basis the project manager works together with a trainee.
What are the challenges?
There are some challenges for Nome in the pilot. Nome consists of two areas with different cultural backgrounds, Lunde stems from the farming culture, Ulefoss from the working-class culture. There is some resistance against cooperation between the two places. We will try to make the differences a positive potential for growth. “The glass ceiling” – how can we make people believe in new ideas, and that it is possible to create a change?

We collaborate with those who wants to contribute to the main topics of the project and realize that we can´t force anyone to anything. Most cultural actors consists of small businesses – often only one person. They don´t have much time or recourses, so we need to work smart. “This is what you have, this is what you get” must be clearly communicated, and it is important not to overpromise. There are no hotels in Nome Municipality, which makes it difficult to focus on the group market, courses, conferences and the like. Through this project we investigate whether the cultural sector can help providing the increasing of elderly population in Nome Municipality. There is a constant awareness of the importance of involvement and strategies that can cause results after the project period.
What do you hope to achieve and who will be affected by the result?
We hope that the project will lead to new products and new businesses, and new connections between both existing and new companies. Better economy in the existing companies, festivals and amongst the cultural players, and a new energy and belief in the municipality amongst the young people. We want a politically adopted place development plan that includes the DNA of Nome, and a stronger identity and sense of the place. We hope to establish a winter festival and new project ideas that helps to achieve the main goal: To prevent an increasing elderly population.

If the project succeeds it will affect both the existing companies and the municipality. The economy of the existing companies will improve, and therefore their power and will to develop will increase, and as a consequence of stronger companies, the economy and the municipality will improve due to increased payment of taxes. The success of the existing companies will be an inspiration to the new SMBs. The youth will take pride in their home place and therefore want to stay in Nome, or move back home to Nome. If the image of the place and the DNA of the region gets more visible, it will get more attractive to tourists as well as citizens.


Marit Svalastog, Project Manager for the CUPIDO pilot KRAFT

Partner: Nome Municipality



Our trainee Maren Sandbakk started at June 4th. We spent the day visiting some of our stakeholders. The picture is taken at Øvre Verket, an old working-class society transformed into a Museum and hosting a range of small cultural businesses. Their newest device is an old fashion baking oven – they hope to start a bakery store and asked KRAFT for help to develop a business out of it. From the left: Mette Sanden - Øvre Verket, Marit Svalastog – PM, Maren Sandbakk – trainee.


Approximately 60 000 tourists travels on the Telemark Canal every summer. We want them to spend more time in Nome – how can we influence the boat companies to facilitate this? Our trainee Maren Sandbakk experienced how the historical Canal boat M/S Henrik Ibsen went down the lock chambers in Vrangfoss.



Manhole covers – an international article from Nome This picture was taken at Øvre Verket, Ulefoss, at an exhibition that tells the story of the local iron factory. Ulefoss jernverk was founded in 1657 and is one of Europe’s oldest companies.


The top picture: Visit at Øvre Verket. from the left: Trainee Maren Sandbakk, knitter Bjørg Lunde, PM Marit Svalastog