Svolvær, the smell of the sea



”I am sitting on board MS Lofoten writing the introduction of this book. I see Germans, Swedes and Americans cutting tongs of cod, going king crabs fishing and on excursions where they hang fish to dry or gutting cod. They eat cured halibut, smoked turbot and poached salmon in the buffet of the restaurant. The Hurtigruta ought to promote these pilgrim cruises, a homage to the food of the sea, our savior of all times, to us Norwegians. Because now it is the tourists who are learning the things that we ourselves are about to forget. We would have good use of a journey of knowledge along our own coasts of Norway.”

                              Veronica Melå, Havet, Mat, Makt og Meninger, 2015.



It was exactly such a trip I experienced at my stay in Svolvær, Lofoten, a small fishing community surrounded by majestic mountains.


Here we traveled through a journey of knowledge. Local knowledge of the area was shares through stories of locals, local who are akin with the sea, the smell of the salt water, the winds blowing and the waves folding themselves around the cliffs of the shores.


This knowledge was both shared by walks along the peers and among the smell of drying fish,

-but also through art of local artist who in a unique way visualized the history, knowledge and stories of the communities scattered on the islands of Lofoten and surrounding Svolvær. With their art this unique knowledge was being preserved.


The locals had become scientists and these scientists educated us on how one through multi disciplinarity could address topics regarding “Dynamics, resilience and change of arctic marine social and environmental systems”. Here we were joined from various places of the world, from India to Greenland, from fields of artists, glaciologists, economics, biologist, to anthropologist –among many other fields.


Here both different cultures of sciences, different cultures of heritage, different cultures of perceptions and knowledge met and together shaped ways of how to perform science and topics of concern, these of which were expressed scientifically, through Music of “Spot the POPS”, through education and not at least in an interdisciplinary manner.


I think it is no secret that discourses, perceptions and outcomes are many (as the colors of buoys marking the visualized route at sea) when regarding “Dynamics, resilience and change of arctic marine social and environmental systems”. Changes seen in the future are not only caused by climate change, but through anthropogene disturbances, politics, economy and global demand on given resources.

It is important to think that changes are not only obstacles, but can be innovative, enhance creativity and an acknowledgement of these coastal communities who so much shape the history of the coast of Norway.


Knowledge can be expressed in so many forms as well as understood in a diverse variation and it is important to recognize the interrelated ways of expression.





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