Transborder Café:
Still Building Neighbourhood – Lessons learned and future visions for the Barents community

18:00 - 20:00
Digital / Kirkenes / Murmansk
Hybrid (Local and Digital)

Limited number of tickets will be released on ticketco Thursday 11.02. All Transborder Cafés will be streamed live to and Stream Cube at ‘torget’ in Kirkenes.

Transborder Café:
Still Building Neighbourhood – Lessons learned and future visions for the Barents community

Moderator: Torill Olsen
Host in Murmansk: Maria Matveeva
Panelists: Dr Jørn Holm-Hansen – Researcher at Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research, Dr Ingrid Agnete Medby – Senior Lecturer in Political Geography At Oxford Brookes University, Lars Georg Fordal – Head of the Norwegian Barents Secretariat, Vera Arntsen – International Coordinator Barents Sport, Barents Games, Valentina Likhshova – Psychologist and Human Rights activist and Ilia Kuzubov Manager in the area of culture and art.


Barents-Quiz-Show: Daria Bolkhovskaya, Sonya Poguts, Anastasia Mostovaya, Roman Gladyshev


Music: Piotr Makarov

The Transborder Café returns during Barents Spektakel 2021 to bring the most important cross-border debate and discussion to the eyes and ears of the Barents Region and beyond. 

Crossing borders and interacting with our neighbours is an essential part of being a Barents citizen – for decades, people in the different regions have been used to crossing borders; for trade and exchange of goods, and in recent years, for shopping, tourism and cooperation. The ‘Barents Generation’ – people who have never experienced a time with closed borders – are today on their way to becoming the decision-makers and leaders of our societies. Their experiences of cross-border cooperation and border crossings give the region a unique advantage.  

Using digital solutions, Thursday’s edition of the Transborder Café, organised by Barents Secretariat, centres on the newly published report “Still Building Neighbourhood”, that shows how the transfer of knowledge has always been (and continues to be) a recurrent theme in the cooperation between Norwegian and Russian partners. What does this report say about cooperation, trust, and ideas of equal partnerships? What are the lasting effects of these networks? And how do we maintain them through the present challenges?

We seek to find the essential pieces to the puzzle, and to understand what creates a good neighbourhood in the Barents Borderlands, as well as the obstacles that might complicate these visions. The discussion will include panelists from Norway and Russia through representatives from academia, civil society, and the Barents Secretariat.


Dr. Jørn Holm-Hansen

Researcher at Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research

Dr. Jørn Holm-Hansen is a scientist and senior researcher. His main academic field of work is politics and public administration in Russia, EU’s eastern member states and the Western Balkans. Holm-Hansen is also conducting applied research, mainly evaluations of development aid and democracy support.

In Norway

Valentina Likhoshva 

PhD in Psychology, human rights activist, LGBT + activist, Board member of the Initiative Group “Equality Dignity Pride”, member of the Barents Pride team.

 She was born and studied in Murmansk. Until 2015, she worked at the Murmansk Institute of Business Education. Since 2014, she has been a volunteer at the RIG for LGBT + support “Maximum”.

Since 2017, she coordinated the preparation and conduct of the Barents Pride from the Russian side.

In Russia

Lars Georg Fordal

Head of the Norwegian Barents Secretariat.

In Norway

Dr. Ingrid Medby

“Dr Ingrid A. Medby is a Senior Lecturer in Political Geography at Oxford Brookes University (UK). Her research focuses on questions of Arctic identity and geopolitics, and most recently she has looked at potentially transferable lessons from the Barents Cooperation. Prior to her current position, Ingrid worked at University College London (UCL) and the North Norway European Office in Brussels, and completed her PhD at Durham University (UK).”

In Norway

Ilia Kuzubov

Manager in the area of culture and art, organizer of the northern art-festival “Taibola”, director of the team “Taibola Assemble”, director of the Russian-Norwegian non-profit partnership “Taibola Norge”, project manager and participant of the NGO “Rainbow Snake”, participant of international cultural projects (Sweden, Norway, Finland, Italy), promoter, copywriter. Winner of the “I am a Citizen” award of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation in the nomination “The Best City Project” in 2015, the repeated winner of federal, regional, municipal competitions in the area of culture, youth policy and tourism.

In Russia

Vera Arntsen

International Coordinator Barents Sport, Barents Games

Barents Games is a joint project between Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia aimed at young people aged 15–25 and involving up to 10.000 young adults every year. Vera Arntsen is the international coordinator, located in Bodø.

In Norway


Torill Olsen

Short Background: Forfatter, redaktør, filmskaper, kåsør, kommentator, moderator, debattleder, konferansier, foredragsholder, skribent, kursleder m.v.

Finnmark fylkeskommune, Innovasjon Norge, Finnut, NRK (journalist, redaksjonssjef), gründet Norventus (konsulentfirma), Formidlingskraft (kommunikasjonsselskap), Sett Nordfra (nettmagasin).

In Norway


Maria Matveeva

Maria Matveeva is the PR manager of the Barents Bird international culture festival. Maria focuses on various cultural projects, social media promotion. She is also interested in sustainability in development of small territories and participated in the Altourism project. Last but not least, she teaches contemporary dance and English for children. Maria loves what she does and constantly finds inspiration for new ideas and projects. 

In Russia