Creating an inclusive culture program

By Anne Sophie Parsons

Whenever somebody hears the word “culture”, the first image that comes to mind tends to be the well-known scenes and institutions; the theatre, the cinema, music venues and book cafés, all of which are familiar establishments which have been closed and collecting dust during lockdown. But the country is slowly reopening, and with it, an occasion to begin looking forward to the culture and art we are going to experience during World Pride in Copenhagen Pride next year.

With the Arts and Culture Program for Copenhagen 2021, familiar cultural activities will be available, but at the same time, the whole city of Copenhagen will be activated and included as a platform for expression – also in more unexpected locations:

 “With the Arts and Culture Program for Copenhagen 2021, we want to make space for the camp and performative aspects of art, as part of the protest that is at the heart of Pride. We are attempting to evoke emotions and create a broader sense of understanding, both within and outside the LGBTI+ community,” says Sasha Carlson, one of two culture coordinators for Copenhagen 2021.

To put together an Arts and Culture Program that takes place in all corners of Copenhagen, as opposed to being confined to the more established art and culture scenes, is a rainbow colored bench mark that could give even the most experienced of cultural coordinators a few gray hairs.

The trick will be reflecting the composition of the program by encouraging inclusion of the entire LGBTI+ community; everyone should feel represented to the most extensive degree, within a range that has room for the small niche cinema and the large art gallery, as well as all the letters in the acronym.

The Arts and Culture Program for Copenhagen 2021: Seen, heard, experienced, included

All of this is why the first point of order for the culture coordinators is to keep both eyes and ears open for what is happening – both in a cultural context, but also with regards to representations of the diverse identities of the community. To select something that is relevant, something current that affects people, is the primary goal, but also comprises the hardest task:

“We work from the solid assumption that art can create new forms of solidarity, new communities and can push the boundaries of existing norms,” Sasha continues, emphasizing the diverse facets of art and culture. Art can protest and create space for dialogue, tradition, history, and innovation to come together within the framework of community. To support representation across genre, expression, and sexual and gender-based identities will be emblematic for the culture and arts events awaiting next year, with a norm critical and intersectional program.

Charlotte Plesner Bliddal, the other half of the culture coordinator duo for Copenhagen 2021, emphasizes the importance of feeling included as part of the community that is reflected in the art: “Nothing about us without us! As a culture coordinator, my hope is that LGBTI+ people will be able to see themselves in our events, and that there will be room for niche as well as mainstream cultural expressions. And who knows? Hopefully, you will encounter and participate in cultural events in places where you’d least expect it.”

Just like the yearly celebration of Pride shows us that we are not alone, culture and art can do the exact same thing: it creates a space where the conversation is always on-going and all voices can be heard, seen and experienced through the message of art. It will be with approach that the Arts and Culture Program during Copenhagen 2021 invites everyone to join experiences that will be involving all of Copenhagen – and the entire LGBTI+ community.

“Art speaks where words fail. With the cultural events of Copenhagen 2021, we as LGBTI+ people get a stronger voice and a platform to share our stories and wishes for the future,” Charlotte concludes. 

Would you like to know more and to stay updated about the developments of the Arts and Culture Program of Copenhagen 2021? Visit for news and updates.

Do you have any input you would like to share? Then write an email to [email protected]

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