InterdisciplinaryWorkshop seriesexperiencingethical site-specific methods of sensing and engaging with places
as a visitor


Workshop 1 :    Várjjat - where the land and ocean speak...

The workshop invites the participants to move through the land and seascape of Várjjat/Varanger, indigenous Sea Sámi land, - listening, sensing, being in the spring; the beginning of the year in Sámi tradition, at Biergi/Kiberg/Kiiperi (Norwegian Sápmi) with artist and composer Elin Már Øyen Vister.

Location: Biergi/Kiberg/ Kiiperi, Finnmark (NO)
Dates: Friday–Sunday, 18-20 May
Maximum 12 participants
Programme includes visits to Várjjat Sámi Musea/Varanger Sámi Museum, Ceavccageaðge/Mortensnes cultural heritage site, Ihkkot/Ekkerøy or Hornøya seabird mountains, and common listening sessions.
Invited artist & composer: Elin Már Øyen Vister
Invited performer & choreographer: Katarina Skar Lisa
Coordination: Nancy Couling & Atso Airola with Elin Már Øyen Vister

Workhop 2

Location: tbc (FI)
When: Autumn 2024
Details: tbc

Workhop 3

Location: tbc (SE)
Details: tbc


The workshops are inspired by the Sámi worldview’s deep belonging to and reciprocity to the land, as well as the non-relevance of the sharp western distinction between nature and culture. The workshops will introduce ways of negotiating site specific work in indigenous Fennoscandian Sámi lands, and enable participants to experience the interconnectedness of architecture and landscape, land- and seascape, physical and philosophical elements, circular understandings of time, with human and other living beings.

The workshops focus on sensing spaces and happenings, seeking to challenge inherited spatial conceptions through experiencing the land and meeting and listening to local people who have deep roots and knowledge, respectfully.

In this spirit the workshops work and act freely, in direct interaction with the materials, land-and seascapes, people and stories of the region and bring together experience from local knowledge keepers with people from the fields of architecture, art, sound and choreography/movement. We are looking for a combination of academic, and non-academic participants from different ages, backgrounds, ideally regional (less CO2 emissions) to take part.


Sápmi spans a region highly affected by climate change and loss of biodiversity, while neo-colonial policies including greenwashing capitalist development are leading to further ecological degradation at the same time as the Sámi peoples still lack self determination and self governance. The outcomes will be documented in non-extractive openly accessible ways, serving for further reflection.


Our workshop locations are part of Sápmi, a cultural region traditionally inhabited by Sámi people, stretching across the national borders of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. The Sámi people are the only recognised indigenous people of continental Europe by the European Union. Workshop coordinators in this programme are not Sámi and are not experts on Sápmi as an indigenous cultural territory. We recognise that our workshops take place in the indigenous territory of Sápmi and acknowledge that we are guests in this land. We ask our participants to do the same.

The workshops aim to establish a dialogue with indigenous perspectives, however we do not aim to reproduce indigenous approaches, rather understand how they could inspire and influence working methods across disciplines and cultures, in close consultation with invited specialists. We see these exchanges being carried out more around a plural cultural interface. The workshops are ethically committed to include and attend to all forms of life, indigenous or otherwise, human or non-human. They strives to work through a relational understanding of space to develop an ethics of inclusion and attention that should drive the development of more balanced research methods and more inclusive/responsible spatial interventions.

- --

Interdisciplinary workshops in Sápmi is a series of three explorative workshops in 2024 directly engaging with the land through sound, materials and movement in three selected parts of Sápmi. The collaborative project was initiated by architects Dr. Nancy Couling and Dr. Alberto Altes, in response to the NOS-HS Exploratory workshop call 2022, and is funded by NordForsk.

Project lead:
Assoc. Prof Nancy Couling, BAS (NO)
Lead Institution:
Bergen School of Architecture
Assoc. Prof. Alberto Altes (SE)
Asoc. Prof Per Nilsson, Umeå Academy of Fine Arts (SE)
Prof. Janne Pihlajaniemi, Oulu School of Architecture (FI)