Sofia Jannok, has received prizes for her artistic work, for example for the best music video at the ImagineNATIVE festival in Toronto, Canada, in 2016, the largest grant awarded by the Swedish Arts Grants Committee in ten years, and the Evert Taube grant awarded by the Swedish magazine Vi in 2020 “for boundless music-making in three languages and for a rare ability to translate political driving force into contemporary pop hits.” The Oxford Handbook of Popular Music in the Nordic Countries regards Sofia Jannok as one of the contemporary musicians of Sámi joik. Besides having put northern Sweden and the Sámi music heritage on the international map, Sofia Jannok has distinguished herself for her work for the rights of indigenous people, against discrimination and racism, and for the Arctic environment.
Luleå University of Technology is located in Sápmi.
Sofia Jannok says that her maternal grandfather would have been very happy for her being appointed Honorary Doctor at Luleå University of Technology. He was very interested in studies, particularly law and the rights of Sámi people. But her grandfather grew up in a period when Sámi people were not eligible for education to the same extent as others, so he only had three years of summer school in a goahti (a traditional Sámi hut), since Sámi people were not allowed to stay in houses in those days. Sofia Jannok would also like to point out that Luleå University of Technology is in fact located in Sápmi. She says that “it is our University too, it is a platform for the development of the Sámi society”.
Her own music has its origins in joik
Sofia Jannok finds it amazing that there is a university like Luleå University of Technology with its artistic specialisation in Sápmi. Her own music has its origins in joik, which is the oldest song tradition in Europe. As an Honorary Doctor at Luleå University of Technology, she wants to bring attention to the fact that the University is located on Sámi grounds, where, she says, the joik has echoed in the valley since ancient times. She hopes to have the opportunity to inspire musical education to take this into consideration. For her, it feels as if she receives the award Honorary Doctor of the year 2021 at Luleå University of Technology on behalf of past generations of her people who did not have access to the university.