I, in the Middle of the History
2019 - 2020
I, in the Middle of History is a workshop where children and youth develop their own voices through the arts of WRITING, SOUND and COOKING. By reading and telling stories, we learn to write better. And we write to tell stories and read better.
The writing school extends over four days and takes place in conservation worthy, newly restored buildings, previously used by the fishermen farmers at Kvalnes. The pupils have named the place Villa Lofoten CAMP. They bring facts about their ancestors along with pictures. The specific surroundings and each individual pupil’s family history are used as frameworks for oral and written narratives. The pupils are invited to think about timeless human themes and in what way each of them constitutes a small piece of cultural history. They articulate their selves in relation to the historical sizes they encounter in the abandoned fishing village, and expand their vocabulary, through facing objects and environments from the past - in new contexts.
We have completed the workshop I, in the Middle of History with 6th and 9th grades from Bøstad school. Author Kjersti Wold was the guest teacher for the 6th grade together with class teacher Elisabeth Krogtoft in May 2019. The author Endre Ruset, composer Camilla Barrat-Due and chef Cecilie Steinkjer were teachers for the 9th grade together with their class teacher Gørild Jensen in January 2020.
Art historian and producer Aaslaug Vaa is the project manager.
During both camps the parents came to visit.
The pupils, writers, composer, chef, teachers and project manager thank the Arts Council Norway and Vestvågøy Municipality for supporting the realization of this pilot project. We will use our experience to develop a three-year project over the same reading.
Look What I Found!
In June 2015, the ninth grade class at Bøstad School in Vestvågøy, Lofoten participated in a three-day film and photography workshop directed by Lofoten Bygdefilmfest. The goal of the workshop was for the students to investigate the rich cultural and natural history around Borge in Vestvågøy, and document their experiences through the camera.
Back in the classroom, the students chose their best and most interesting photographs after discussion with each other and the workshop leaders. This resulted in an exhibition and a slideshow that incorporated the students’ spoken reflections on the experience.
Workshop Leaders: Acacia Johnson & Tor Edvin Eliassen
Concept & Producer: Aaslaug Vaa
The Seaweed Journey
During Easter of 2015, a dozen travelers came to Villa Lofoten to learn to collect and preserve seaweed. Linnéa Sjögren, Jonas Pettersson and Michael Roleda generously shared their knowledge about different types of seaweed, collection methods and preservation. Delicious meals were served, all with the taste of umami.
Linnéa and Jonas run Catxalot, while marine biologist Michael Roleda, born in the Philippines, works at NIBIO in Bodø. Food journalist Nina Frogneborn, from Sweden’s Radio, also participated. Click here to hear her radio report.
Workshop arranged by Catxalot and Villa Lofoten.
Transformation – Building Preservation, Architecture & Film
Kleivan in Vestvågøy is a fishing community worthy of restoring and preserving for future generations. Here, national cultural preservation authorities contribute to the preservation of a rorbu (fishermen’s cabin), a trandamperi (cod liver oil processing building), and a brygge, a pier. This group of buildings, after their restoration, will become a new home for both ecotourism and artistic and cultural productions. In an area where many people have moved away and traditional uses have faded, this building restoration and site development will foster new value, growth, and sustainable activities, bringing new life to the area.
In May 2015, eleven construction students from Vest-Lofoten High School participated in the workshop Transformation – Restoration, Architecture and Film at Kleivan. Students from the Architectural College in Oslo presented their studio project BANDS, which took place in the same location. The workshop students received a cultural-historical introduction to the fishing community and an introductory course in film production and film analysis. They participated both before and behind the camera at the construction site, and started their work with tearing up the floor and old stonework out of the brygge from morning to night. One of the hardworking boys said at the end of the workshop that the experience had been the most fun of his life.
Workshop Leaders: Cinematographer Tor Edvin Eliassen, artist Adeline Keunebrock, art historian Aaslaug Vaa, architect Uffe Black Nielsen and students at the Architectural College in Oslo.
The Whale’s Bones
Whales are animals that children and youth in Lofoten have a close relationship with. Since time immemorial, they have inspired countless stories, surrounded by mysticism and allure. A whale can be used as a powerful metaphor for how humans collect inner images from the deep, bringing them to the surface; it is a way to begin a story with a limitless potential.
In this workshop, the participants learned to write manuscripts, draw storyboards, act, and make a film. Beforehand, they were given an introduction to relevant literary texts: the Bible’s story of Jonas and the whale, and the novel Moby Dick by Herman Melville. The workshop leaders presented a framework for a story that the participants developed.
Workshop Leaders: Jørn Nyseth Ranum and Anders Øvergaard
Concept & Producer: Aaslaug Vaa
Living Clothes Hanger
As a part of Lofoten BygdeFilmFest 2014, a dance workshop was conducted at Kvalnes for the first time. Ten 18-year-olds developed a theatrical production and catwalk with a fashion collection based on recycled materials. Salt and coffee bags, old umbrella covers, and burlap sacks were transformed into jackets, skirts and purses. The collection is created by seamstress Bjørg S. Greiner, who was born and raised at Kvalnes but now lives in Alta.
Workshop Leader: Dancer Anne Katrine Haugen from Tromsø
Collaborator: Hålogaland Amateur Theatre
Stars above Lofoten
Since time immemorial, the night sky has inspired humans to lift their gazes and reflect on life and earthly existence. In January 2013, a ninth-grade class at Bøstad School participated in a three-day workshop in astronomy and astrophysics, in combination with photography and filmmaking. The goal was to spark young people’s interest in science and filmmaking, while illuminating the rich potentials in their local environment. Both telescopes and cameras were used as educational tools.
During the workshop, advanced presentations about astrophysics took place in English. With his excellent pedagogical skills, astrophysics professor Jean Surdej was able to rouse enthusiasm and curiosity in the students. In addition to the challenging theories about planets and light years, the class participated in many practical activities, such as making pinhole cameras and creating spectrographs.
Outside in the night, the participants experienced firsthand how time-consuming photography can be. At the same time, they learned to recognise constellations and galaxies through the telescope. Teachers and parents joined in as Jupiter and its four moons, the Milky Way, the Andromeda galaxy and northern lights made an appearance in the polar night sky. After the workshop, information and time-lapses made by the students were shared on a Facebook page that all the participants could access.
This workshop, directed by Lofoten BygdeFilmFest, resulted in the film Stars above Lofoten. It has been shown at a series of festivals both nationally and internationally
Astrophysicist: Jean Surdej
Filmmaker: Jørn Nyseth Ranum
Producer: Aaslaug Vaa
Løftet blikket (LofotTidene)
Polarhimmel, utekjøkken og lausdans (LofotTidene)
The goal of this workshop was to get young people engaged in physical activities and to remind them of the joy of moving to music. Simultaneously, an ancient traditional dance was resurrected and developed further. Halling-style dancing does not originate in Northern Norway, so the dance teacher gave it a little extra changes, and renamed it Lofothalling.
The group Frikar has revitalised the Halling-dance and made it popular for children and youth. Lofoten BygdeFilmFest 2013 therefore arranged workshops for this dance style for youth between 12 and 16 at Ramberg, Værøy and Røst.
Workshop Leader: Dancer Ådne Kolbjørnshus
Plankekjøring i Lofoten
The goal with this workshop was to motivate its young participants – a local high school class in Lofoten – into increased physical activity, opening their eyes to new potentials in their nearby environment. This took place as the workshop participants explored Lofoten through the video camera, and participated in various outdoor activities on the sea and in the mountains. Ultimately, they learned not only about film, but also about the outdoors and the opportunities Lofoten has to offer.
For nature enthusiasts Finn Å. Holst Sandnes, Finn Olav Olsen, Jann Engstad and Oscar Nordin, spending time outdoors isn’t just an important part of life, but a necessity. The workshop participants were divided into four groups, and spent a day each with one of these experts. They learned to cave, to backcountry ski, to surf and to paddle kayaks, while creating a portrait of their instructor and his lifestyle through the video camera. What does Lofoten mean for a surfer, and what kinds of thoughts does he have about nature, about living so close to the mountains and the sea? Does he live a dream?
The workshop resulted in the film By Land and By Sea.
Workshop Leaders: Filmmakers Jørn Nyseth Ranum and Anders Øvergaard
Concept & Producer: Aaslaug Vaa