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Lectures & Literary Lectures & Literary Programs

For reservations, call 212.847.9740 or email

Exhibitions Exhibition-Related Lectures & Symposia

Sami StoriesIndigenous Expressions and Identity:
A Symposium

Saturday, May 10, 3:30 pm
Free, but RSVP encouraged

Sámi Stories: Art and Identity of an Arctic People opens with an afternoon symposium offering in-depth perspectives on Sámi history, identity, and visual culture. The program will feature a panel discussion with contemporary artists Britta Marakatt-Labba, Aslaug Juliussen, and Jason Lujan; renowned musician Mari Boine; and curators Charis Gullickson, Northern Norway Art Museum and Marit Anne Hauan, University of Tromsø Museum.

Program Schedule
3:30 pmWelcome | Edward P. Gallagher, President, The American-Scandinavian Foundation
3:40 pmIntroduction | Dr. Anne Husebekk, Rector, University of Tromsø
3:50 pmRemarks | Knut Ljøgodt, Director, Northern Norway Art Museum
4 pmTalk: Sámi Identity & Citizenship | Dr. Anne Julie Semb, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Oslo
4:20 pmBreak/Coffee
4:40 pmPanel Discussion | Renowned musician Mari Boine and contemporary artists Aslaug Juliussen, Britta Marakatt-Labba, and Jason Lujan in conversation with Charis Gullickson, Curator of Contemporary Art, Northern Norway Art Museum and Marit Anne Hauan, Director, University of Tromsø Museum
5:40 pm Audience Q & A
6 pm Exhibition Opening Reception

Exhibition-related educational programs have been supported in part by Scandinavian Seminar and the Royal Norwegian Consulate General in New York.

See also Sámi Stories: Art and Identity of an Arctic People in EXHIBITIONS section.

Duodji: Sámi Traditional Objects
Lecture by Dr. Thomas DuBois, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Tuesday, June 24, 6:30 pm

DuodjiIn this talk, Dr. Thomas DuBois, University of Wisconsin-Madison, introduces some of the basic considerations of form, substance, and use that characterize traditional Sámi objects. He shows how in Sámi art, aesthetic values are inseparable from other considerations such as usefulness, belief, and skill. A sense of beauty arises from practical concerns, but this pragmatic approach means that beauty comes to pervade all aspects of life, even the performance of ordinary, mundane activities. The talk will be illustrated through abundant images, some of which are paralleled by elements seen in Sámi Stories.

About Dr. Thomas DuBois

Thomas DuBois is a professor of Scandinavian Studies and Folklore at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He researches and writes particularly on Finnish and Sámi cultures, past and present. Along with numerous books and articles, DuBois has translated important works of Sámi literature, including Johan Turi's An Account of the Sámi, the first book ever written in Sámi language, which appeared in 1910.

Exhibition-related educational programs have been supported in part by Scandinavian Seminar and the Royal Norwegian Consulate General in New York.

See also Sámi Stories: Art and Identity of an Arctic People in EXHIBITIONS section.

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Upcoming Lectures & Literary Programs

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Babette’s Feast 2.0
PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature

Tuesday, April 29, 7 pm

For the first of PEN World Voices' three curated readings in a dinner setting, gather at the New York epicenter of Nordic culture, the beloved Scandinavia House, to inaugurate this reading-dinner pairing. Travel to Nordic heaven – right in the heart of Manhattan – and break bread with audience and artists alike, including Tomas Bannerhed, A.M. Homes, Steinunn Sigurdardottir, and Bob Holman.

Babette's Feast 2.0: PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature
About the participants

Tomas Bannerhed, born in 1966, grew up in Uråsa village in the province of Småland in southern Sweden, and now lives in Stockholm. His professional background includes being a university teacher and a magazine editor. In 2011 his debut novel The Ravens/Korparna was awarded the prestigious Swedish August Prize (Book of the Year) and has since received several other prizes. Foreign rights have been sold to seven countries, including the U.K., France, and Germany. The U.K. edition will be published by Clerkenwell Press in spring 2014.

Born in Reykjavík, Steinunn Sigurðardóttir made a name for herself at the age of nineteen with a volume of poetry entitled Continuances/Sifellur (1969). Sigurðardóttir has since become one of Iceland’s most frequently translated writers, and one of its most lauded, having won the Icelandic Literature Prize for Place of the Heart/Hjartastaður (1995) and the national Bookseller’s Prize in 2011, among others. Sigurðardóttir’s extensive body of work includes eleven novels, seven volumes of poetry, two volumes of short stories, radio plays, television plays, and a children’s book; Place of the Heart is her English-language debut.

A.M. Homes is the author of the novels May We Be Forgiven (2012), This Book Will Save Your Life (2006), Music For Torching (1999), The End of Alice (1996), In a Country of Mothers (1993), and Jack (1989). She also penned the short-story collections Things You Should Know (2002) and The Safety of Objects (1990), the best-selling memoir The Mistress’s Daughter (2007), the travel memoir Los Angeles: People, Places and the Castle on the Hill (2002), and the artist’s book Appendix A (1996).

Bob Holman is best known as an impresario of new poetry: slams, hip-hop, and performance, but he has also written eight books. Most recently he collaborated with Chuck Close on A Couple of Ways of Doing Something. Holman is the Proprietor of the Bowery Poetry Club and teaches at New York University and Columbia University. He is currently working on On the Griot Trail, a documentary about the poetry of endangered languages that includes footage from a recent two-month shoot in West Africa; and another documentary about Allen Ginsberg's experiences in India.

Presented in association with Scandinavia House, and co- sponsored by The Copenhagen, with support from the Consulate General of Denmark, New York, the Consulate General of Finland in New York, the Consulate General of Iceland in New York, the Royal Norwegian Consulate General in New York, the Consulate General of Sweden in New York, The Danish Arts Foundation, Finnish Literature Exchange, Icelandic Literature Center, the Nordic Culture Fund, NORLA – Norwegian Literature Abroad: Fiction & Non-Fiction, and the Swedish Arts Council.

Learning from Each Other:
Gender Equality in Iceland and the U.S.

Thursday, May 1, 8:15 am – 12 pm
Free, but RSVP required to

"Iceland was the first country where all the highest Offices of State and Church have been held by women: the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, the Bishop and the Presidents of the Parliament and the Supreme Court. How did it happen? That is the essence of our New York dialogue."

- His Excellency Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of Iceland

Iceland leads the world in closing the gender gap that has held back women around the globe for centuries and the U.S. holds the highest ranking among the largest nations, according to The Global Gender Gap Report 2014, issued by the World Economic Forum.

This one-day conference focuses on why and how the people of Iceland have achieved near equality between the genders and how Americans have continued to close the gap in the U.S.

Program Agenda
Welcome | Jón Sigurðsson, ChairmanIACC, President and CEO, Össur
Opening remarks | Nancy Ploeger, President, Manhattan Chamber of Commerce
Presentation #1: The Iceland Story | Kristín Ástgeirsdóttir, Director, The Center for Gender Equality, Iceland
Presentation #2: Gender Equality in the U.S.: The Present and Future | Deborah Gillis, President & CEO, Catalyst NYC
Panel: Gender Equality Issues in Both Countries | Kristín Ástgeirsdóttir; Deborah Gillis; Ambassador Gréta Gunnarsdóttir, Permanent Representative of Iceland to the United Nations; moderated by Jenny Nordberg, Journalist
Presentation #3: Challenges for Women in Business | Marsha Firestone, Women Presidents Organization
Panel: Challenges for Women Business Owners Today | Marsha Firestone; Herdís Fjeldsted, The Enterprise Investment Fund; Guðbjörg Glód Logadóttir, Founder and CEO, Fylgifiskar; moderated by Nancy Ploeger, MCC
Closing Remarks | His Excellency Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of Iceland

Presented by The Icelandic-American Chamber of Commerce and the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with The American-Scandinavian Foundation; and co-sponsored by Icelandair, Eimskip, Siggi’s Skyr, Össur, High Liner Foods, and Century Aluminum.

Older and Happier!
A Book Event with Dag Sebastian Ahlander

Wednesday, May 7, 5 pm

Dag AhlanderSome retired men are reasonably happy, some are dissatisfied, and some have simply resigned themselves to their situation. After retiring, Dag Sebastian Ahlander, former Swedish Consul General in New York, learned the importance of relishing his age – despite setbacks – in order to get the most possible satisfaction in his “golden years.” Drawing from his own experience, Ahlander penned Older and Happier! Inspiring, Amusing, and Useful Advice for Men of a Certain Age (Skyhorse Publishing, May 2014), a thought-provoking call to transformation and a practical guide to making simple changes for a happier life.

Ahlander will do a short reading from his book, offering up his pearls of wisdom for happy, old men. Copies of the book will also be available for purchase and signing.

About the author

Dag Sebastian Ahlander (b. 1944, Uppsala, Sweden) trained as a lawyer and served in his country’s foreign service, where he was Consul General in New York from 1992 to 1999. He is now a successful author of historical biographies for young adults, including Queen Christina, Alfred Noble, and Raoul Wallenberg. Older and Happier! Inspiring, Amusing, and Useful Advice for Men of a Certain Age was first published in Sweden by Bonnier in early 2012 and quickly became a best-seller; this English translation of the book is its second, after Norway, where the book also became a best-seller. Older and Happier! will also be released in Danish and Finnish in 2014.

Special thanks to Skyhorse Publishing.

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Exhibitions Off-Site Zorn Exhibition Lectures

Off-Site Zorn Exhibition LecturesCo-sponsored by the ASF with The National Academy Museum, in conjunction with the exhibition Anders Zorn: Sweden’s Master Painter, on view at The National Academy Museum – February 27 through May 18, 2014
Lectures held at The National Academy Museum – 1083 5th Avenue (@ 89th Street), NYC

Zorn, Paris, and the International Avant-Garde
Lecture by Dr. Thor J. Mednick, University of Toledo

Wednesday, April 16, 6:30 pm
Free, but RSVP required to or 212.369.4880 ext. 201

Anders Zorn was arguably the most internationally successful of all the Scandinavian painters working in the 1890s. In his effort to make a place for himself as a Scandinavian modernist, Zorn fashioned a style that was at once internationally relevant and regionally peculiar. With particular attention to Zorn’s extended sojourns in Paris and the United States, the works he produced in these years, and the cultural luminaries he encountered and worked with, this talk will contextualize Zorn in the general emergence of Scandinavian art into the mainstream and evaluate his significance for this phenomenon.

About Dr. Thor J. Mednick

Dr. Thor J. Mednick, former Fellow of the ASF and the Ambassador John L. Loeb Jr. Foundation, is Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Toledo. A recognized scholar of 19th-century art and an expert on turn-of-the-century art in Denmark, he has published on Peder Severin Krøyer and the artists’ colony in Skagen, Denmark, and is currently preparing a publication on the work of Vilhelm Hammershøi.

Mednick earned a Ph.D. in 2009 from Indiana University, Bloomington, School of Fine Arts, Department of the History of Art, specializing in the areas of 19th- and 20th-century European Art, with minors in African art, as well as European and American History. In 2003, he also earned an M.A. in Art History/Museum Studies, with a Museum Studies Certificate, form the University of Southern California, Art History Department. Prior to that, in 1993, Mednick earned a B.F.A in Screenwriting from the University of Southern California, School of Cinema/Television. In spring 2003, he also studied at the University of Copenhagen, Institute of Fine Arts, taking written examinations in Modern Danish Art.

He is an internationally recognized expert with a solid record of publications, presentations, exhibitions, awards, fellowships and numerous works in progress.

A proven instructor in a variety of settings since 2003, Dr. Mednick has been affiliated since 2010 with Missouri Southern State University (MSSU), in Joplin, as a non-tenure stream Assistant Professor of Art. He was Visiting Scholar for the University of Copenhagen's Department of Art and Cultural Studies in 2009 – 2010 and for the Scandinavian Section at the University of California, Los Angeles in 2008 – 2009. He served as Visiting Lecturer, from 2006 to 2009 at the University of Copenhagen, and in 2005 at the Visual Arts and Media Studies Division at Pasadena City College.

At Indiana University, he was Instructor of Record in fall 2004 and spring 2005 as well as Teaching Assistant in fall 2003 and spring 2004. Between 2000 and 2003, he was also employed in a number of curatorial positions, including at the National Gallery of Art in Copenhagen; the Bowers Museum of Cultural Art in Santa Ana, California; and the Fisher Gallery at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles.

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