Sharing Folktales in Ísafjörður

The events facilitated in Ísafjörður within the Community Co-Creation project were all about the topic of folktales, listening to them and learning to tell them. The event was divided into two parts: The first event took place at Hversdagssafn/ Museum of Everyday Life on April 18th 2023. Participants learned how to tell folktales and spent a cozy evening listening to stories from all over the world. The second event took place at the Public Library of Ísafjörður on April 28th 2023, giving those interested the opportunity to share folktales from their own countries of a country of their choice and inviting everyone to come and listen. A collaboration between the two institutions highlighted the diversity of opportunities provided by cultural spaces in the capital of the Westfjords. The events were primarily facilitated by Vaida Bražiūnaitė – who founded Hversdagssafn/ the Museum of Everyday Life together with Björg Elínar Sveinbjörnsdóttir – and Hannah Rós Sigurðardóttir Tobi. Vaida and Hannah met when they decided to take a car together to Ísafjörður, because the airplane they both had wanted to take had been canceled. On a long car-ride from Reykjavík to Ísafjörður, Vaida and Hannah started talking about their shared love for folktales from all over the world.

This journey then eventually led to a group of people getting together in the cozy building of Hversdagssafn/ The Museum of Everyday Life on April 18th, an institution that describes itself in the following way: “We are an art project that calls itself a museum. We are a museum that collects human connection. We investigate what happens between big events” - Hvers museum // Hversdagssafn

Hópur af fólki á Hversdagssafni

Hannah guided us through the process of selecting, learning to tell, and eventually sharing the stories with the other people present. We did multiple exercises and learned tricks to improve our storytelling abilities, such as dividing the stories into clear steps and trying to tell the stories in varying levels of detail. We also speculated about the meaning behind the stories shared, a joined activity that brought us together. 

On April 28th, a follow-up event took place. In contrast to the workshop at the Museum of Everyday Life where the event took place in the evening and drinks and refreshments were served, the event at the library of Ísafjörður took place in a bright room on an afternoon and attendants drank coffee and ate sweets. Different generations were present. The age of the participants ranged from the age of a baby to senior citizens, and everyone gathered to share and listen to stories. 

The event that took place at the library was in accordance with the policy of the Ísafjörður Library 2021-2024. The library is in the policy described as a place to live together for all people in the town - a house of knowledge, ideas and recreation.

Some of the stories shared were the ones that had already been practiced by the storytellers at the first event. Other stories were shared by attendants who spontaneously joined in and shared stories, such as an Icelandic poem published in Morgunblaðið. Hannah also shared a song during the event. We met all kinds of animals and natural phenomena in the stories, and we philosophized about the meanings and morals behind the tales told.

Further information
Lara Hoffmann
Project manager and researcher