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SAMKUL-Samfunnsutviklingens kulturell

Intangiblization, Materializations and Mobilities of Kven Heritage: Contemporary Articulations in Family, Museums, and Culture Industries

Alternative title: Artikulasjonen av immateriell og materiell kvensk og norskfinsk kulturarv i familier, museer og kulturindustri.

Awarded: NOK 6.0 mill.

This project is about investigating how Kven / Norwegian-Finnish cultural heritage is expressed today. The project is carried out by UiT The Arctic University of Norway in collaboration with Vadsø Museum-Ruija Kvenmuseum and Nicolaysen Film AS. The project is led by Trine Kvidal-Røvik (UiT). The research group also consists of Stein R. Mathisen (UiT), Kjell Olsen (UiT), Kristin Nicolaysen (Nicolaysen film AS), and Mia Krogh (Vadsø museum / Ruija Kvenmuseum). Gyrid Øyen is associated PhD fellow with a project focusing specifically on museums. By analyzing how language, nature and places are used in identity processes within families, museums and the cultural industry, based in the Nordreisa, Skallelv and Vadsø, the researchers are interested in both global and local aspects of the use and production of Kven cultural heritage. Research data is collected through participatory observation and interviews. The project uses film in both analysis and dissemination. The project has a reference group consisting of Ihana, Nordtroms Museum, Halti Kvenkultursenter IKS, Egil Sundelin and Hilja L. Huru. In addition, the project involves an international reference group consisting of professors Peter I. Crawford, Mara K. Berkland and Lisa A. Flores. The research is anchored in the research group Narrating the Postcolonial North at UiT. It has a total budget of approximately NOK 7.8 million, and will run from 2017 to 2021. The project is funded by the Norwegian Research Council?s Samkul program. The project has a blog, Kvenkulturbloggen ( where research results and activities are disseminated during the process. Project activity in 2019 Dissemination The project group has been involved in dissemination via several lectures and presentations, including Kvenfolkets dag in March (Nordreisa); the National Museum Meeting in April (Haugesund), during the festival Lyden av Skallelv in August (Skallelv), Nordic Conference on Cultural Policy Research in August (Reykjavik). Several of the scientific articles that are in process have been presented and discussed in the academic community at UiT. There has been several media reports based on the IMMKven project, including stories in Klassekampen, Språknytt, NRK, Ruijan Kaiku, Finnmarken and Framtid i Nord. The project has a blog, Kvenkulturbloggen ( where research results and activities are continuously disseminated. Six blog posts have been published during the year. As outlined in the original project application, we wanted to expand dissemination beyond what is done within the framework of the IMMKven project. Based on the IMMKven project, we therefore applied for funding for a traveling exhibition based on the IMMKven (application sent to the Research Council's SAMKUL program). The traveling exhibition is developed in collaboration with Vadsø Museum-Rujia Kvenmuseum, Kvensk institutt, Alta Museum, NordTroms Museum, Halti Kvenkultursenter and the Norwegian Arctic University Museum. The application for a traveling exhibition was granted (project number 297283), and this work started in 2019. Fieldwork / data production This work has been ongoing continuously throughout the year, and has been carried out in Skallelv, Vadsø, Nordreisa related to all three work packages in the project. For instance, we have observed at several relevant arenas, such as at Kven cultural events (for example, the opening of the Kven language center in Vadsø; the Kven heritage play Kyläpeli in Nordreisa; Kven festival in Vadsø; festival in Skallelv, etc.). We have conducted interviews and visual data production via photography and film. We have also had several meetings dedicated to working with, and analyzing, the film material produced in the project. The fieldwork has also extended beyond the three IMMKven core locations Nordreisa, Vadsø and Skallelv. We carried out a joint field trip in June which included Levi, Rovaniemi, Inari, Varangerbotn, Karasjok (in addition to Vadsø and Skallelv) and we have done field work at Kven events in Alta. Other internal activity in the project The project group has had several meetings throughout the year and has kept in touch with the research partners in the project through physical and digital meetings and participation in each other's relevant events. For example, we organized a seminar at UiT in Alta, with IMMKven partner Inger Birkelund, from the cultural industry company Ihana! (September), and we have contributed to, for example, the festival Lyden av Skallelv (August), Langfjorddagan (July) and Kvenfolkets dag (March). One of the researchers in the project had a stay abroad in USA as part of her R&D semester in 2019, and participated in meetings and gave several presentations focusing on e.g. Kven cultural heritage in Chicago, USA. This was organized by the one professor who sits on IMMKven's international reference group, Prof. Berkland.


This project targets two areas of symbolic raw material for heritage building (language and nature/place) and three institutional fields of investigation (family, museums, cultural industries). Three places (Nordreisa, Skallelv, Vadsø) will be nodal points for our investigations, by the concept of returns and mobilities framed by ideas of the cosmopolitan and the vernacular (Bissel 2013; Briggs 2005; Clifford 2013). In line with this, we aim to capture how heritage is shaped by returns to imaginaries of places, and representations of present and past, as well as how mobilities of ideas, people, and representations infuse, as well as create, deficits of meaning. By analyzing contemporary Kven heritage articulation processes and representations, we aim to capture how artefacts and signs of Kven heritage materialize and become located in different delimited fields, their movement between them, as well as how certain locations becomes established as representing Kven heritage - what we will label returns in relation to both temporal and spatial dimensions. This also implies analyzing intangiblization of heritage, where infusion and deficit of meaning connected to different representations in different fields (regardless of what have been seen as their original meaning), become crucial for understanding contemporary heritage use. The knowledge will be of particular relevance to businesses and institutions offering local heritage products and services. Importantly, this project will provide an important foundation for new scholars establishing themselves in the research field on Kven culture. Film will play an important role in the project. We use the visual actively through the research process. Specifically, we use videography, which allows us to explore less traditional ways of producing research-based knowledge.

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Funding scheme:

SAMKUL-Samfunnsutviklingens kulturell