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A festival that places minorities in the spotlight — Transform World Festival

Updated: Sep 28, 2022

Transform is Trondheim’s largest annual world music and cultural heritage festival, celebrating the roots of many cultures that contribute to making Trondheim and Norway a culturally rich and fantastic country to live in. Presenting local folk music, and sounds from every corner of the globe, Transform is set to kick-off during September 5 – 12 in Trondheim’s city centre, with main stages at Dokkhuset, Trykkeriet, Byscenen, ISAK and along the city’s corridors.

A person playing a string instrument with an intricately carved top piece, singing into a microphone, on a stage with blue light in the background.
Opening Concert at Transform World Festival 2019. Photography by Bilge Oner.

The festival first launched in 2005, and re-organised in a new form with additional partners in 2009. Transform brings together people from all walks of life and Norwegian residents to celebrate history, society and culture in a week-long festival including performances, seminars, talks, art exhibits, children’s events and concerts.

With the ambition to help locals '’see the world with new eyes'’ Transform World Festival is set to spice up the music scene this year in Trondheim by bringing in popular music groups from parts of the world such as Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Three people on stage playing electric guitars and a bongo-esque drum wearing traditional middle eastern clothing.
Tarwan N Tiniri Concert at Transform World Festival 2018. Photography by Bilge Oner.

Listing an impressive line-up of musicians and bands from Senegal, Morocco, Iran, Turkey, India, Greece, France, Germany, Mongolia, Finland, Sweden and Norway — the festival hopes to expose Trondheim to an international music extravaganza.

“Transform has, for nearly 20 years, actively engaged newcomers, residents of ethnic diversity and Norwegians in a celebration of culture, to provide greater understanding between ethnic Norwegian society and internationals and minorities. This movement of sharing ideas and inspiration is a stepping-stone to greater cultural understanding”.

Two people on stage in traditional clothing. One is singing and one is playing the guitar,
Opening Concert at Transform World Festival in 2019. Photography by Bilge Oner.

The festival brings together the impressive 140 different nations of people living in Trondheim. It aims to be enhance visibility for cultural minorities in Norway, by bringing artists and organisers from behind the scenes and onto the stage.

Transform creates new meeting places to support enhanced inclusion. Just like Trondheim, Transform festival has something for everyone. You don't want to miss it!

Transform’s impact map

  • A festival that has the most nationalities in its administration and festival-group

  • Succeeded in creating a artistic meeting place, for art, handicrafts and music in a visible Trondheim stage

  • Creating high-quality productions concerts and events, placing minorities in the spotlight

  • Creating opportunities and spaces for collaboration, for some of the world’s most perceived vulnerable, such as Romani people, who themselves are proud of their culture

Behind the movement: Hill-Aina Steffenach

Hill-Aina is the general manager for Transform, as well as a doctor and former brain researcher with a PhD in neuroscience. She grew up in a rich art scene in Svolvær Lofoten.

Leading multiple international projects in the arts and culture scene, she coordinates seminars and lectures about the world around us and Norway’s role internationally. In her work she explores themes such as solidarity, impacts on people and consequences of war and conflicts, freedom of speech and fair distribution.

"Transform's main thrust is the desire to celebrate the international town that Trondheim has become and present the different cultures living here."

Four people in traditional clothing each beating on their own drum on stage.
Lions and Taal at Transform World Festival. Photography by Bilge Oner.

Hill-Aina Steffenach, head of the Transform festival — daytime doctor (Legevakt) and night-time music enthusiast and social change advocate — speaks enthusiastically about the festival and the ideas behind it.

''Norway, is changing and Trondheim is now more ethnic than ever before — we want to show how many possibilities and inspiration we can track from an international collaboration. We also want to reduce prejudices about people from other cultures and join people together in music, exhibitions, workshops and art''.

Woman on stage playing the mouth harp on stage in traditional clothing.
Opening Concert at Transform World Festival in 2019. Photography by Bilge Oner.


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