FIRST RESIDENCY: VARJAKKA, FINLAND

From July 26th – August 6th, three artists will begin their CROWD journey together in the small village of Varjakka on the coast of Gulf of Bothnia, about 18km SouthWest of Oulu, Northern Finland.

Varjakka has a school, harbour, manor house, bar and is currently home to around 400 households.
A small deserted Island sits just off the coast, accessible by boat or cable ferry in the Summer, and by walking or skiing when the sea becomes frozen.

It was not always so quiet.

100 years ago, Varjakka was a busy industrial centre, with the island home to Varjakka Sawmill – one of the biggest in Nordic countries at the time. The mill attracted workers from all over Finland, Sweden and Russia and Varjakka was home to most of the 700 employees. In 1929, the Wall Street crash had affected international trade and when the main drive shaft failed, it was decided that the mill was no longer viable. Gradually the island became abandoned. During the second world war, prisoners from the nearby POW camp worked on the island making charcoal and then it was a holiday destination in the 50s, 60s, 70s and early 80s.

Today, the island is mostly unused, with a few beautiful old buildings hiding amongst the trees. The old sawmill offices will form the main studios for creative exploration.

This residency is hosted by TaikaBox, a local organisation dedicated to multi-artform collaboration. They have been running a programme of residencies in the area since 2017, bringing artists together to research collaborative practice.

Published by john

dancemonger

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