The main objectives of FUGLAN VEIT are to generate new knowledge and public awareness about seabirds as part of coastal heritage, and to improve and safeguard the nesting situation for red-listed and endangered coastal seabirds, through new alliances and collaboration between scientific experts and local knowledge-holders in traditional seabird practices that centres on more-than-human approaches.
FUGLAN VEIT is a transdisciplinary, collaborative research project that aims to examine and understand shared human-avian histories and create new lines of thought and action that ensure co-existence in times of alarming declines in seabird populations. Seabirds are part of coastal cultural heritage, and by building new alliances between scientific experts, local caretakers, artistic cultural brokers, AND the seabirds, the objective is to improve the nesting situation for seabirds that seeks protection from humans during the nesting season.
The project will apply a more-than-human approach, and will focus on two circumpolar species, the common eider (Somateria mollissima), and black legged kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla). While the eider for centuries has sought human protection during the nesting period and constitutes a unique example of sustainable use and inter-species collaboration (Sundsvold, 2015), the kittiwake has recently become urbanized, intruding city life with its messiness and noisy behaviour (Reiertsen, 2019-2020). By juxtaposing between these two species, the project will provide new knowledge on management as well as on the placemaking potentials of inter-species relations. By this, the project will contribute to address needed green societal transitions for management of critically endangered seabirds. FUGLAN VEIT will contribute to new perspectives on conservation, placemaking and management that recognizes diversity as a necessary part in communicating knowledge, and how this diversity may be put to work for mitigating climate-related environmental and societal challenges through concrete and practical collaboration.
FUGLAN VEIT is led by UiT- the Arctic University of Norway, in collaboration with the Sámi University of Applied Science and NINA, and includes partners in Vega, Vardø and Porsanger. The partner locations represent a diverse history of traditional utilization of seabirds, including sea Sámi practices. Two types of partner activities are planned: 1) local “archival”- workshops: by using a 1970s’ archive on seabird practices as an asset for sparking memory and reflections on contemporary local practices and potentials 2) nesting workshops focusing on the birds’ nesting preferences and manners in approaching human settlemets. A kittiwake hotel is planned in Vardø, an anthology of human-bird stories published, a PhD and master scholarships will be affiliated, to explore the potential and uncertainties for future inter-species coexistence.
"FUGLAN VEIT" - "lottit dieđihit"
The title, Fuglan veit, (in English: The birds only know) is a Norwegian proverb that refers to situations where things go beyond human comprehension. The proverb has a much longer history related to pre-modern mythical thinking, when coastal people and fishermen tried to forecast the weather and cope with future threats through reading signs in nature (Fulsås, 2003; Solheim, 1940). In Saami the equivalent, lottit dieđihit, still has these connotations: The birds bring omens and they guide you. The title and its connotations aspire to provide room for the birds as active partners in cultural and natural realms– in a more-than-human approaches.