Denmark – Aalborg Uni

Danish netting projectAalborg University logo













Aalborg University offers education and research within the fields of natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, technical and health sciences. Aalborg University currently consolidates and further develops its profile as a dynamic and innovative research and educational institution oriented towards the surrounding world. It is characterised by combining a keen engagement in local, regional, and national issues with an active commitment to international collaboration.

The Division of Food + Design forms part of the Department of Civil Engineering at Aalborg University. Through a holistic and human centered approach the center works to continuously improve our physical surroundings focusing on integration of aesthetic, functional and constructional considerations. A main research area under the Division of Food + Design is an interdisciplinary study of how the physical surroundings influence the experience of a meal.

In the research division a research group is focusing their work on Architecture + Interior, and here architecture is considered not only about building and construction – architecture is scenery, it is a phenomenon of constant variation that appears in different scales, spanning from urban landscapes over buildings, interior, furniture to product design – and even food. It evolves in time and adapts to changes in human needs. It sets the framework for our being in the world and, as such, the field of architecture holds a responsibility to address societal and environmental issues. Key in the work of the research group is a belief that understanding our culture historical past is essential for developing the initiatives of tomorrow.


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.

Our focus addresses Cultural Heritage Diversity in Europe. Our part of the Transparent Boundaries project takes its point of departure as the old fishermen and their craftsmanship, and their traditional techniques of net making. Techniques that with modern advanced technologies are close to being 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 give 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 as a metaphor, 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 aims to bring together diverse theoretical, methodological, phenomenological and operative contributions to the interpretation of Cultural Heritage.

With the fishing net as a metaphorical lace, fragments of myths and traditions within the older generation are highlighted and reinterpreted to form a reference point for dialogue amongst the elder and younger population.

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 – in connection with the yearly Fish Festival in Hirtshals, Northern Jutland – the outcome is expected to raise discussion in the local community as well as amongst the tourists visiting the place.