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EACEA National Policies Platform


8. Creativity and Culture

8.1 General context

Last update: 28 November 2023
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  1. Main trends in young people's creativity and cultural participation
  2. Main concepts

Main trends in young people's creativity and cultural participation

Iceland has a vibrant artistic and cultural scene. The participation of young people has increased over the decades with more venues and opportunities geared towards them specifically, or with increased emphasis on the participation of young people in established cultural venues. Whether it is music, performing arts in theatre, film or some other setting, literature or design, young people should be able to find a way to express their interest in Iceland. Although the author was unable to find any concrete measures of the participation of young people in arts and culture, a short description of cultural venues available to young people in various parts of the country should give some indication on participation. I will divide the list into two, first describing some venues in a general setting, and second, venues that are within the boundaries of the school environment:

General venues
Reykjavík Culture Night

Reykjavík Culture Night: takes place in August every year since 1986 with a variety of arts performances across streets and squares, businesses, museums, and residential gardens across central Reykjavík. The Culture Night marks the beginning of the city’s cultural year. All events are free of charge and everyone can apply to the city’s cultural office to perform, or to host a performance.


Unglist (no official translation available) is an arts festival for young people where miscellaneous arts and culture events take place, such as poetry, music, and the performing arts. This festival is under the auspices of Hitt Húsið (e. The Other House), the first youth centre focusing on the age group 16 – 25.

The Icelandic Youth Symphony

The Icelandic Youth Symphony (sinfóníuhljómsveit unga fólksins) was founded in 2004 and gives young music students at the age of 13-25 the opportunity to play in a symphonic orchestra, tackling both original pieces by Icelandic composers as well as the classics. Since its foundation the orchestra has played on numerous occasions in many parts of the country. The orchestra is considered a good preparation for promising talents to transition into the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra later.

The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service

In 2015, The Icelandic Broadcasting Service (Ríkisútvarpið or RÚV) launched KrakkaRÚV, a specific broadcasting division aimed at producing quality content for children. In 2018, RÚV launched another division called RÚV Núll, which has a similar philosophy of producing content for young people. Both divisions broadcast quality overseas content for theses age groups but also focus on producing shows locally, often giving children and young people the opportunity of hosting.

The Icelandic Music Experiments

The Icelandic Music Experiments (Músíktilraunir) can be traced back to 1982 and is essentially a competition between young musicians or bands with four to five semi-finals. The winner from each semi-final then competes in the final. Bands are selected by a popular vote by the audience as well as by a jury committee comprised of industry professionals. The grand prize of this competition has been studio recording hours. The IME has gained a notoriety for being a platform for early-career bands and musicians, some of which have received international success.


Main concepts

There are no specific concepts within the national policy which could impair understanding of the information provided here.