SKREI Convention was a two-year cooperation project, 2018–2020, initiated by Museum Nord (Lofoten – Norway, Lead Partner), CERS Italia (Italy) and Ílhavo Maritime Museum (Portugal). It re-imagined the historic trade routes of dried and salted codfish from the North of Norway to the Baltic Sea as far as Germany, the UK, Italy and Portugal. The project was funded by Creative Europe as part of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 programme.
The collaborations and the exchanges with the project partners brought to the table an extraordinary wealth of information. We realised two things in particular: firstly, how much the story of codfish is connected, yet little understood as a European history. Secondly, how codfish is a tool that can convey other meanings: it is an opportunity to instigate a process of critical reflection on urgent socio- political and economic issues.
Through the course of the project, via conferences, activities and artist residencies, SKREI Convention investigated the concept of regional cultural identities as a fluid and inclusive concept.
We developed three artist residencies and chef residencies hosted by the project partners, creating artwork and practices in the specific geographical contexts of North-East Italy, Lofoten in Norway and the Aveiro Region in Portugal.
Also in these residencies, Atlantic cod was the subject and the starting point for conversation. It enabled the audiences to reflect on topics such as cultural identity, the politics of food and the coexistence of animals and humans.
We built a multimedia interactive archive which presents a collection of resources on the history, trade routes and uses of Arctic Cod to a wide audience.
SKREI Convention marked the beginning of further exciting explorations, which continued with a series of multidisciplinary online talks, the SKREI Nordic Talks.
Between January and February 2021, thanks to the support of the Nordic Council of Ministers, we developed a series of online talks on how codfish can enable us to consider regenerative systems, innovation and alternative food systems for an industry based on tradition. The talks brought together inspiring speakers from across the world to start thinking afresh and to analyse how the story of Atlantic Cod could inspire positive changes towards a more sustainable world.
This multidisciplinary approach, merging creative practices, science, anthropology, history among others, will be at the heart of the future of Museum Nord’s SKREI Centre, a new national museum, dedicated to the story of Atlantic cod. The new building in planning will find it´s place between the Lofoten Aquarium, the Galleri Espolin and the Lofoten Museum in Storvågan.