Last week MIC’s Board of Directors reached a unanimous decision; Svein Bjørkås (50) is to lead the Music Information Centre Norway in the years to come. Bjørkås will take his new position on October 1, while Head of Administration Lisbeth Risnes will be the acting MIC director up to that date.
Says the new MIC director to Ballade.no: “The field of music is a tempting place to be because of its complexity.”
Svein Bjørkås is presently the head of Arts Council Norway’s research department, and he has led several extensive key processes focusing on the Norwegian music scene. The research programmes on popular music, performing ensembles and folk music, programmes which were coordinated by Bjørkås, represent important documentation and have acted as well-founded stimulants to public debate.
Bjørkås is a sociologist and graduated from the University of Bergen. Previous positions include Head of Centre for Cultural Studies at the University of Bergen, group leader at the Telemark Research Institute and Head of the Norwegian Association of Arts and Crafts. Bjørkås is also a member of a number of boards of directors and has played a central role in local, national and international processes centring on strategic development within the field of arts.
Says the new MIC director on his change of career: “Through my work at the Arts Council Norway, I have developed into a research figure with close contact with a long list of key players within the field of arts. I want to find a practical purpose for the insight I have gained, and if you have decided to move from research to active work in the arts, the field of music is very tempting to delve into given the immense complexity and diversity that’s on display.”
Bjørkås feels that MIC has managed well the transition to an ever changing reality by changing the centre’s focus from being only oriented towards contemporary music to now including documentation, information and dissemination of all forms of music and the entire professional Norwegian music life: “The Music Information Centre Norway has managed to transform itself to meet a changing reality. The centre has modernised itself. It is a brave ambition to strive for equal information on and dissemination of all genres.”
Bjørkås is also impressed with Norwegian music’s extensive international network. In his opinion, the present music scene is mirroring the situation of the domestic music scene 150 years ago; ensembles and individual artists develop strong ties across borders within their respective fields of expression. Says Bjørkås: “You can no longer present Norwegian music as something that’s integral and unified, nor is the music abroad something that we can receive as an integral package. Everything’s interwoven and complex and MIC is also part of this internationalised reality as part of the IAMIC (International Association of Music Information Centres) network.”
Bjørkås feels that his predecessors and MIC’s board of directors have been courageous and responded well to the developments on the music scene through inclusion of the entire spectrum of Norwegian musical life. His ambitions on behalf of the centre are clear: “MIC should not only be in the musical public sphere, the centre should also contribute to create it. MIC should be a fluorescent fly-paper that attracts and gives away attention.”