Fransesca believes in culture as an enabler in Skellefteå

Fransesca Quartey has been working in the performing arts for over 30 years. Now she will soon hand over the job as CEO of Västerbottensteatern. She has great faith in the future of Skellefteå and the region.
"If we can create a kind of emotional infrastructure in the same way that this municipality is exceptional in terms of water, sewage and schools, then I feel that this place is the future," she says.

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Fransesca Quartey, who grew up in Gothenburg, came to Skellefteå in 2013 when she took over the role of theatre manager at Västerbottensteatern. Before that, she had never set foot in Skellefteå.
- I got off the bus at what was then the bus station and recognised this bus station from my childhood when I visited my grandmother and grandfather in Trollhättan. I remember walking down by the river and seeing the new things that were coming. I felt it was a city at a crossroads between old and new. And it felt exciting," she says.

Wanting to contribute to an attractive place

As CEO of Västerbottensteatern, she leads a regional county theatre that is tasked with touring the county and delivering theatre and experiences in Skellefteå. The theatre consists of six departments, three of which meet audiences directly: the Theatre Department, the Young Horse, which plays primarily for children and young people, and the Nordic Storytelling Centre, which works with the strong regional storytelling that exists in Västerbotten.
- We have a vision that everything we do should contribute to making Västerbotten an even more attractive place to live and stay, says Fransesca.

She likes to highlight Unghäst's unique approach to children's theatre.
- Unghäst does not start from an artistic idea. They start from the question: What is the problem right now? They are in close contact with the people who work in schools and after-school educators. The motto of the Young Horse is that no one should feel alone. That's what makes them so loved," she says.

"Culture can save lives"

As a cultural worker for over 30 years, it is clear that Fransesca Quartey is passionate about her field.
"We who work in culture know that culture not only develops thoughts and attitudes, but that it can also save people's lives. The Young Horse, in particular, has ample proof of this. But culture is like love. You can't always define it in words. But the lack of it will be disastrous for you as a human being. Culture is a kind of interpersonal glue that enables a society, a nation, to expand," she says.

Dare to try and challenge

Making culture a more inclusive place for everyone is something Fransesca feels strongly about. It requires both lowering thresholds and daring people to challenge themselves, she says.
- It's partly about enabling people to take on what we do. But it also requires people to dare to throw away their preconceptions. To dare to challenge themselves, to try and investigate. It's like trying new foods. Look at the country we are today compared to the 1970s when there were about three main courses," she says with a laugh.

Fransesca Quartey will soon be leaving her job as CEO of the Västerbotten Theatre. But she has a bright future for Västerbotten and Skellefteå.
- I believe that the community we are building here has a future that is greater than the south. But can we perhaps find some better keys for how we will live together? Both old Swedes and new Swedes. Both techies and traditionalists. Both village people and city people. I'm a child of divorce, so I always dream of family. Wouldn't it be great if we could use culture as an enabler for that? If we can also get some self-driving buses and electric cars on it - then I think there are greater opportunities here than in many other parts of Sweden.


  • "For everything that happens in a community, the stairs must be cleaned from the top. So it is with culture. That means that people in leadership positions have to lift culture, walk on culture, commit to culture."
  • "When I came to this town, the gang at the Västerbotten Theatre took me to play hockey. I thought: God, this is fun! I'm usually a football girl. The first game I saw, we lost big. But that didn't mean I never went to hockey again. You think, "They're coming again! I wish more people would dare to have that attitude when it comes to culture. So what if you don't like this show". So what that you didn't understand exactly what this artist wanted to say. It's about daring to challenge yourself, to try and investigate."
  • "You also can't forget about the old audience. There is so much knowledge here in the villages and in the outskirts. How can we pick it up? Inclusion is about everyone being able to feel that there is a little shard for me."


Senast uppdaterad:
2 March 2023