Under the EEA Norway grants program for strengthening bilateral relations between Donor States and Slovakia in field of cultural heritage management, we are happy to announce this ‘short and sweet’ new project!

As both Norway and Slovakia have a folk costume culture based on wool and intricate embroideries, and both countries have a rich knitting heritage, we have found common ground for a small project. In these traditions, the local sheep have played an important role. In Norway, this has helped to maintain a local value chain for wool, and we see today that several companies supply woven fabrics and yarn for embroideries and knitting, in local wool in Norway. This does not happen in Slovakia, where the manufacturers of folk costumes struggle despite their rich tradition to find local woollen materials, and the same applies to embroidery thread. Knitting yarns are just slowly emerging. The Slovak partners are at the very beginning of unraveling issues surrounding the use of local wool, and want expertise and knowledge from the Norwegian partners on both what has happened historically to maintain a vibrant wool industry, but also how this is maintained in a situation with globalization of the textile value chain and where workers in the Global South are underpaid. At the same time, the donor country wants to learn more about the history and market forces of a former Eastern Bloc country that earlier backed the same industry with state funds, and how this collapsed in the wake of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The aim is knowledge transfer and identification of tools for safeguarding cultural heritage management of folk costumes and other heritage practices based on local wool and small-scale business operation. All partners will be involved in setting up a full-day webinar where knowledge will be exchanged. The Norwegian partners will mobilise the wool actors in Norway, both commercial businesses and institutions involved in safeguarding the cultural heritage, and ensure that they share their business and research experience and how they cooperate to uphold the cultural heritage management.

Date for the Slovool webinar: March 15th 2024, link to the event, click here.

Naša Vlna is the Slovakian project-owner, and for the Donor country, Norway, the main partners are Consumption Research Norway SIFO (Ingun Grimstad Klepp and Lisbeth Løvbak Berg), Selbu Spinning Mill (Ingvild Svorkmo Espelien) and Tone Skårdal Tobiasson.