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