The objective of the Norwegian Youth Festivals of Art (UKM) is to stimulate young people’s creativity and make their cultural activity visible. The UKM is designed to be flexible and informal; it aims at tickling the participants’ curiosity and broaden their cultural horizon.
UKM arrange festivals all over Norway where young artists between the ages of 13 and 20 can perform and express their artistic vision in front of an audience and each other. During the festivals, participants also attend workshops, where they can explore their interests and be inspired by the works of other artists.
UKM is open to all artistic genres and methods of cultural expression like music, dance, theatre, circus, video, visual and digital art, photography, stage-technicians and journalists.
UKM was started in 1985, and within a few years all counties became part of the system. There has been a tremendous growth in participation, and in 2012, more than 24.000 young people took part. Young people are increasingly active in the planning and decision-making in UKM.
UKM have 400 local and 19 regional festivals every year spread throughout the country. Through selection at the local and regional festivals, 24.000 participants become 500, selected by a jury to represent the diversity and quality of each region. They gather in the national festival in the city of Trondheim for four days in June, giving a lot of performances and putting their mark on the city’s cultural and social arenas.
The UKM is not a regular talent show. The jury’s selection is based upon elements such as originality, creativity, the performers’ ability to create contact with the audience as well as quality.
The management system of the UKM is made up of a network that consists of local municipalities, county councils, and UKM Norway, an independent body funded by the Government.