Over the past year we have been working alongside the Stove Network on a project in Dumfries exploring Our Norwegian Story. During World War II the town boasted a population made up of up to 20% Norwegians. Our project has focused on a number of events highlighting narratives of this period in the town’s history, buildings and spaces used by the Norwegians during the war (there was a Norwegian Folk museum and Norges Hus, to name but a few of the buildings) and creating a Norwegian Heritage Trail with the Dumfries community.
On April the 14th 2017 the trail went live and over 100 people attended the weekend of activities based around Our Norwegian Story.
We will be progressing the project alongside the Stove Network as we reach our to our Norwegian (and Nordic) partners and explore further international connections and how these can be opportunities for communities. The goal of the project from the start was to create new cultural wayfinding within Dumfries and we believe, as do the Stove Network, that this is the first stage of that venture; however, we also believe that these types of projects and the outputs they produce can regenerate our town centres.
2020 marks the 80th anniversary of the first Norwegian arriving in Dumfries and it is our ambition that this project will continue to progress – big plans are afoot for that anniversary using our international connections, heritage and culture to create opportunities for the benefit of communities now; in this case we hope that Our Norwegian Story will have a lasting effect on Dumfries town centre.