Can art change the world? Revisit the Annual Lecture on Indigenous Rights

Can art change the world?

Ande Somby gave this year’s Annual Lecture on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights

For the 7th time, LawTransform, in collaboration with Bergen Sámiid Searvi (Bergen Sami Association), organised the Annual Lecture on Indigenous Rights. The lecture is held in February, as a celebration of the Sami National Day.  This year, focused was the importance of art and culture for indigenous identity and rights struggles.

The event was supported by Selskapet til Vitenskapenes Fremme and the Fritt Ord Foundation.


The first part was an amazing musical performance by Sondre Pettersen and Snorre Bjerck

A thought provoking and insightful Annual Lecture on “The importance of art for the Sami people’s rights struggles” was given by Ande Somby, law professor at the University of Tromsø and an active artist

The roundtable discussion:  “Can art change the world? The importance of art for indigenous identity and struggles for rights»  probed further into the social and political significance of art, and how art and cultural expressions are used as part of political mobilisation and rights struggles, historically and today.  What if art could change the world? Under what conditions can art contribute to social and political change?  How should we understand art as a political arena?  How do rulers use art through propaganda?  What is it that gives joik and other art political power? The participants are active artists, activists and researchers on art and on political mobilisation and bring different perspectives conversation. The participants were:

  • Ánde Somby
  • Katarina Isaksen (leader of Bergen Sámiid Searvi, artist and activist)
  • Sondre Pettersen (musician and researcher)
  • Jostein Gundersen (associate professor at the Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design at UiB)
  • Siri Gloppen (professor of political science at UiB and head of LawTransform) moderated the conversation


  • When: 14. February (Wednesday)  at. 16:00
  • Where: Litteraturhuset i Bergen,  (Østre Skostredet 5-7) the  Olav H. Hauge room.
  • Free access and light refreshments.

Photo: Siri Gloppen