INTRE:FACE conference archives: Tobias Koch presenting ARS BALTICA

The INTRE:FACE Digital Conference (06.02.2016-07.02.2016), organized by Katharina Deloglu and Tom Bresemann, hosted by Andreas Bülhoff, tackled many important questions regarding digital literature. In a series of articles we bring you the speeches and discussions held at the INTRE:FACE Digital Conference, dealing with problems regarding digital literature and different tools used to construct it, for example how can digital tools be used to offer new approaches to production, what digital tools already exist and how are they structured, to more applied problems, such as how can literary activists use digital means to connect with one another, how we can make most of digital material and many other interesting topics.

Tobias Koch presenting ARS BALTICA
Tobias Koch presenting ARS BALTICA

Tobias Koch was talking about how digital approaches can be used to accelerate or change dissemination between nations of the Baltic Sea Region, on the example of ARS BALTICA, founded in the early 1990s to facilitate cultural exchange and cooperation across the region. The project was initiated by Schleswig-Holstein and the Council of Baltic Sea States and aims to provide a networking platform between Baltic partners so that they can share and develop common visions.

Tobias Koch presenting ARS BALTICA
Tobias Koch presenting ARS BALTICA

Since 2013 ARS BALTICA has supported, together with the Nordic Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of Poland and the Ministry of Justice, Cultural and European Affairs of Land Schleswig-Holstein in coordinating the Policy Area Culture of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. PA Culture focuses on promoting and visualizing the Baltic Sea Region culture and creative industries, on preserving and showcasing its cultural heritage and on improving and facilitating cultural cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region.

Recently, however, it was noticed that funding for the desired transnational visions and projects are at times hard to achieve. There is a need for a strong transnational funding tool for culture. INTERREG for example has no specific culture-funding opportunity and rather focuses on cross-sectional projects. Creative Europe on the other hand often demands relatively high co-funding, which can be a problem for small projects.

In the Baltic Sea Region there is currently room for projects that focus on one specific topic, such as for example digital literature.  Nevertheless, three projects that ARS BALTICA has been involved in show what has happened in the digital field in the Baltic Sea Region, especially regarding dissemination between the connected nations.

With support from INTERREG, from 2010 to 2012, First Motion, a project which was aimed to explore and support modern communication technologies and innovative uses of emerging cross-media possibilities was carried out. As such it was looking for cross-sectional ideas, as for example Dream Equilibrium, a multimedia sci-fi adventure, which will tell its story across different platforms.

After the project’s end in 2012, several partners from First Motion have now recieved INTERREG-funding for a new Cross-Media project. Led by the Baltic Film and Media school in Tallinn, Cross Motion looks to create an intersection between different societal sectors (e.g. tourism, health, education) using audio-visual, interactive, participatory, and multiplatform storytelling and forms of ‘gamification’.

Last but not least the partner of ARS BALTICA, the so-called BALTIC WARRIORS, develop new perspectives on the issue of the eutrophication of the Baltic Sea through live action role playing games, workshops and an interactive digital platform, including an online game. BALTIC WARRIORS aims at bringing together policy makers, stakeholders and citizen in innovative participative events and wants to find new approaches and solutions for a clean Baltic Sea and political and societal dialogue and analysis.

Does ARS BALTICA work across all art forms?

Tobias Koch: Yes – film, literature, music. However, many things that are going on in the region, for example transnational festivals, are offline.

Do you have a budget for the projects?

Tobias Koch: No – we are dependent on external funding bodies. Our means are limited, so we are looking for ways of getting involved in other projects.

Does ARS BALTICA have contacts in Berlin?

Tobias Koch: Our main office is in Rendsburg, Northern Germany, one office is also in Berlin. However, we’re always on the move, as it is very useful for us to have people in different parts of Europe.

What role can digital literature play in cross-border projects? Do language barriers exist?

Tobias Koch: One project that tried to bridge the language gap was the Baltic Sea Library. It is led by Klaus-Jürgen Liedtke, who lives in Berlin. The library publishes literature in translation, into as many different languages of the Baltic Sea Region as possible. Publishing certain works is sometimes difficult because of publishing rights restrictions – these can differ from country to country. Works published include poetry, prose, essays, however they are rarely of contemporary nature.

As can be seen the creation of new and interactive content, available transnationally in the whole Baltic Sea Region, would be very much appreciated. However, initiators developing respective projects need to be aware, taht they need a strong resilient partner consortium, as finding funding resources fcan be at times really challenging. ARS BALTICA is always looking for new ideas. Please feel free to get in touch.


c/o Nordkolleg Rendsburg

Am Gerhardshain

44 24768 Rendsburg


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