Denmark – Fishing: a metaphor for life? Aalborg University

Netting project

In the North Denmark region, where Aalborg University is situated, the fishing industry has a strong tradition. Historically, it has been single fishermen occupying the industry, however recent years development have resulted in an industry today dominated by a few but large consortiums. To the elder fishermen, it has been a remarkable change compared to their ways of life at sea – a change causing a cultural distance between the tradition and the future.

Addressing focus on Cultural Heritage Diversity in Europe, our part of the Transparent Boundaries project takes point of departure in the old fishermen and their craftsmanship in traditional techniques in net making. Techniques that with modern advanced technologies is close to be forgotten. Through a redesign and reinterpretation of the fishing net as physical traditional lace, we seek to define new cultural intergenerational links and connections between the old fishermen and the industry of today.

At the division of Food+Design at Aalborg University, we have gained experience processing a number of development projects directed at the regional fishing industry, and we see the trans-national, inter-disciplinary and cross-generational project – Transparent Boundaries – as a great opportunity to work with this traditional industry in a new yet undiscovered setting.

The combination of textiles, fishing nets, handcrafts, techniques and performance gives new possibilities to generate a dialogue between the elder fishermen and the new generation of the fishing industry. By this we seek to explore the power of lace in a metaphorical meaning and through this explore the boundaries between the older generations, the society and the cultural setting where the textiles, i.e. the fishing net becomes the central element.

Through the project, improved knowledge and advancement in Cultural Heritage Diversity in Europe will be provided. Secondly, by establishing synergies between leading national and local institutions, the project aim to bring together diverse theoretical, methodological, phenomenological and operative contributions on the interpretation of Cultural Heritage.

Through the project an architectural installation will be developed linking the old traditions with the future fishing industry, and by this defining a reference point for discussion and dialogue with the elder fishermen.

Based on workshops and conference contributions, a new cross-cultural reverberation will influence the local participants, and by placing the activities directly within the areas of the traditional Danish harbours, the outcome will be expected to raise local discussion regarding the future of the industry.

Find out more about the University and their netting project.