‘Our Norwegian Story’ has been a year long project running from March 2016 – April 2017 to explore Dumfries’ unique connections to Norway and will continue to celebrate and share in our contemporary interest in Nordic culture in Scotland today through future developments of the project. So stay tuned! With the aim of sharing, learning and celebrating, we have been eating waffles, trying cod roe and kransekake (not together), exploring stories and ideas across the generations and indeed the water. Beginning the forging of friendships and strengthening relationships locally, in Norway, and looking to other Nordic collaborators. Check out our antics during our research trip here.
A bit of History – From whalers and Norwegian exiles arriving in Dumfries during WWII at one point 20% of our population was Norwegian, becoming a headquarters for the Norwegian Free Army and the birthplace of the Scottish Norwegian Society and Norwegian Scottish Association we know today. The recent discovery of the Galloway Viking Hoard highlighted that Dumfries’ Nordic blood runs strong but remains a lesser known part of its history. Our stories, traditions and values have a strong echo of those of our Nordic neighbours.
‘Our Norwegian Story’ captured a chapter of this connection in Dumfries’ story, finding creative ways to interpret and showcase. Ideas of conversational seats, football in the streets, public art installations and journeying trails all helped to form the Heritage Lottery funded phase now completed with the Launch of our Trail and WebArchive in April 2017.
We have created something not only to share and learn from, but hopefully to add to and grow on:
Sharing food has brought us together throughout the project. Our Recipe Swap launched on June 17th 2016 when we spent an evening in the Stove exchanging recipes and tasting dishes people had brought to share. We are continuing our collection of recipes for Norwegian and Scottish favourites, so if you have one please add to our Recipe Swap page here.
Sept 2016 brought us Draw it big. Mapping our Norwegian story through the town square to identify places of significance and interest within the town and outlying areas, pinpointing places of relevance to our story.
Exploring age-old techniques and craftsmanship activities and workshops included nordic knitting patterns alongside their Scottish counterparts, leatherwork and learning about boat-building techniques.
What’s Your Story? Storytelling, workshops writing about “place” and facilitated discussion alongside a fully inclusive music block with Paragon Music. Our showcase and performance evening hit it off in Nov 2016. If you have a Norwegian story to share please add it the STORY page on our website at www.ournorwegianstory.com
We have launched our Norwegian Town Trail!! A walk through our town around places of significance to Norwegian exiles in Dumfries during WWII. Walk the places they frequented and imagine the many tails these places hold. You can explore online or download our leaflet at www.ournorwegianstory.com
Stitching Our Story
Stitching Our Story started as part of our Mapping event when we invited artist Deirdre Nelson down to find a fun way of looking at places of significance in Dumfries to Our Norwegian Story. Since then we have continued to gather every month, stitching places of importance and personnel connection and narrative to Dumfries with a core group of dedicated Stitchers – join us on the first Wednesday of every month – find out more here
2019 saw an exciting development in Our Norwegian Story with the installation of a Whale bench opposite Rosefield Mills. This was a collaboration project with Friends of Dock Park to commemorate the first Norwegian Refugees, Whalers, to arrive into Dumfries and reside for awhile a Rosefield Mills – see more here