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Our Norwegian Story – exploring cultural connections at The Stove

As Scotland continues its fascination with Nordic culture, The Stove Network in Dumfries has received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund for their project, Our Norwegian Story, which will map a trail through Dumfries’ town centre celebrating its links with Norway during WWII. This is another example of a local arts project being successful in bringing national investment to the area to create activity in the town centre for the benefit of local people and businesses. The Stove has been awarded funding by Heritage Lottery Fund for a series of public events highlighting ‘Our Norwegian Story’
During WWII Dumfries’ population was nearly 20% Norwegian harbouring the headquarters for Norwegians in exile and as a result became the birthplace of the Scottish Norwegian Society we know today.

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Norway House, or Norges Hus in Dumfries. Note the shot down German tail fin attached to the front of the building.

The project comprises of a series of imaginative public events, led by the artists of The Stove Network, that create opportunities for Dumfries to tell its Norwegian Story. Work begins with participation in Dumfries Museum’s Viking event Summer Wandering on Saturday May 14th when The Stove building becomes Norway for the day. June will see a Norwegian Market as part of the town’s Guid Nychburris celebrations. Other events planned to highlight this important relationship include football in the town square hosted by local club Greystone Rovers, Norwegian skill-share and story-telling events, musical composition workshops, performance, creative mapping, as well as the launch of the Norwegian Trail itself in March 2017.
Working with research and design collective Lateral North the project will use this important part of Scotland’s history for people to learn about the stories of our past in a way that can also help re-imagine our future and connect to the wider Nordic Scottish Connection.

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Project Leader Katharine Wheeler says, “We are very excited to have received funding for this project and be able to start our programme of events. It allows us to record, preserve and learn about this part of Dumfries’s story in a contemporary context as well help to re-establish connections with Norway providing exciting new cultural opportunities”
Stories and memorabilia gathered during the life of the project will be included in an online archive to provide a lasting legacy for future generations to access and share. The trail itself will be an interactive app that guides local residents and visitors around places of particular significance, learning about this part of history in a fun and contemporary context.

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The Stove Network are currently seeking a creative practitioner to work on Our Norwegian Story on a ‘Research-Led Residency Commission’ – details on how to apply available here
Anyone wishes to find out more about the project and its calendar of events should contact Katharine Wheeler at Katharine@thestove.org or call 01387 252435.