North Atlantic Native Sheep & Wool Conference 2013
The North Atlantic Native Sheep and Wool (NANS&W) Conference is an international project held annually in venues in the North Atlantic region. Previous meetings have been held in Orkney, UK (2011) and Hordaland, Norway (2012). The 2013 Conference will be held in the Shetland Islands (UK) over four days in October, to co-incide with the annual Wool Week festival. Download the Programme.
The theme of the 2013 Conference will be sustainability.
The North Atlantic region shares common cultural, environmental and natural heritage. The indigenous sheep breeds in each area are historically and biologically related. Sheep production in the region shares common concerns and challenges of sustainability, promotion, markets and diversification. The aim of these conferences is to bring together beneficiaries and stakeholders in native sheep and wool production to collaborate and develop new projects and initiatives. Holding the conference in different venues throughout the North Atlantic each year allows the host area to highlight initiatives and challenges in their own area.
Specifically, the project focuses on:
- Local conditions and their value for local and regional development;
- Safeguarding cultural heritage through sustainability of the breeds;
- Production, use and new markets for wool and meat of native breeds;
- Diversification opportunities and challenges for farmers in each area;
- Raising public awareness about local wool and meat production;
- Safeguarding and learning how to take advantage of the unique integrity of a breed.
Conference organisers in Shetland are pleased to announce an international range of speakers, with a varied array of discussion topics.
Karin Flatøy Svarstad
Karin Flatøy Svarstad lives in Bergen, Norway. She is educated in arts and crafts, and marketing. Karin is the leader of the Summer Academy (Sommerakadameit), an institution whose main goal is to inspire and communicate for rural development with arts and crafts as it's primary instrument, and with extensive contact with 'western islands' like Orkney, Shetland, Faeroe Islands, Iceland and Outer Hebrides - and in 2013, the Isle of Man.
Karin has been responsible for several big national and international projects where sheep and wool have been the subject matter - including initiating the North Atlantic Native Sheep and Wool Conference. She runs her own Gallery, studio and arts and crafts shop in Kalvåg, a fishing village on the west coast of Norway. Karin has been travelling to North Atlantic island locations for years doing exhibitions, workshops and presentations of her 'woolly work'
Dr Carol Christiansen
Dr Carol Christiansen was born in Seattle USA. She has had a life-long interest in textiles, learning to sew and crochet as a child, spin and weave in her teens, and taking up knitting as an adult. For many years she worked at the University of Washington Libraries in Seattle, where she also studied for a certificate in Museums Studies. She received her undergraduate and Master's degrees in medieval history and social anthropology, respectively. Her Master's dissertation was on traditional Shetland crofting methods and its impact on local textile production, and she spent five months doing fieldwork in Shetland in 1994. Three years later she came to the UK, pursuing a PhD in Archaeology (Textiles) at the University of Manchester.
She moved to Shetland in 1999, where she completed her PhD on early textile production in Shetland and worked as an archaeologist for 5 years. Currently she is Curator and Community Museums Officer at Shetland Museum and Archives. Her professional responsibilities include care of and access to the Museum's large textile collection. She regularly researches and publishes on aspects of Shetland's textile traditions. She also practices as a textile archaeologist, analysing early Scottish and Scandinavian textiles. Her research includes husbandry and use of landrace sheep breeds for textile production, their wool as comparators for fibre in archaeological textiles, and ethnographical and historical methods of hand textile production. She has travelled widely throughout Scandinavia studying landrace breeds and traditional ways of working sheep and wool.
June has always been interested in sheep, wool and craft. The opportunity to keep sheep came in 1987; three Soay shearlings arrived, the first in Wensleydale. In 1989 she went to St Kilda to learn more about the sheep and the island, abandoned by its human population in 1930. After her flock was killed in 2001, when Foot and Mouth Disease decimated stock farming, she moved to Cumbria. She bought back ewes which she had bred, two of which are now 14 years old, teaching her a lot about ageing sheep.
June's other involvements include: The Wool Clip Cooperative, which aims to add value to local wool, and which founded in 2001, to add value to local wool. It organises Woolfest, 2005, now an award winning international festival; Chairman of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, Cumbria; Participant in Wool Art Fair at Rambouillet, Paris, and she has been invited to give a paper at the2014 World Congress of Coloured Sheep Breeders. Since 2003 June has been working on a personal research project on sheep, wool, textiles,especially folk knitting, and cultural traditions in Lithuania. Her book on the subject is near publication.
Deborah Robson began working with textiles before she could read, using her mother's sewing scraps, the biggest scissors she could handle, and needles and thread before she could put pencil to paper. She has been combining textiles and writing for her entire adult life. She edited both Spin-Off and Shuttle Spindle & Dyepot (Handweavers Guild of America), as well as many books and magazines for trade, scholarly, and literary publication. In addition to more magazine articles than she can remember, her publications include Handspun Treasures from Rare Wools; The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook: More than 200 Fibers from Animal to Spun Yarn; and The Field Guide to Fleece: 100 Sheep Breeds and How to Use Their Fiber (the latter two as fiber author with livestock expert Carol Ekarius).
Her primary current interests revolve around restoring wool to its rightful place as a central part of everyone's life and of the economic picture of raising sheep. She enjoys working her way steadily back to the sources of the materials while considering the historic and contemporary aspects of their use.
Ólafur R Dýrmundsson
Ólafur R Dýrmundsson was born in Iceland in 1944. He studied agricultural science at the University of Wales, where he obtained his degrees of B.Sc Honours in 1969 and Ph.D in 1792. He started his career in Hvanneyri Agricultural College during 1972-77, working on administration, teaching and research, mainly on sheep.
Since 1997, Ólafur has been the National Advisor on land use, and since 1995 also on organic farming, in the Farmers Association of Iceland. This has included work on organic sheep production and conservation of genetic resources with emphasis on heritage populations of leader sheep, goats and poultry. Ólafur has been active in international organisations such as EAAP (animal production), IFOAM (organic agriculture), NGH (genetic resources), RBI (rare breeds) and Slow Food. He has publisehd a large number of scientific and popular articles. His main hobby is small scale sheep farming and organic gardening. He lives with his wife Svanfríður, in Reykjavik where they have four children and five grandchildren.
Dana has been involved with Uist Wool since 2009 and is now working as Project Manager for the organisation. Originally from the Isle of Lewis, she graduated in 1989 from Grays School of Art (Aberdeen) in Craft & Design (BA Hons) and has a keen interest in textile design and production. After graduation she worked as a freelance designer with community projects in central Scotland before entering the museum sector in 1991, becoming an Associate of the Museums Association and training as a curator in social history.
From 1996 to 2007, Dana MacPhee was Museums Officer with the local authority in the Outer Hebrides and it was during this period that she became more engaged with
community enterprise, fundraising, project management and the value of independent businesses to the local culture and economy of the area. From 2007 until July 2011, Dana MacPhee was employed as Chief Executive at Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum & Arts Centre in North Uist.
Ronnie graduated from Edinburgh University in 1979 with a BA in English Language and Linguistics before returning to Shetland. He worked for the SIC Construction Department and became supervisor for the South Mainland area. During this period, Ronnie purchased some crofts, leaving full time employment in 1988 to farm sheep and cattle. He runs Uradale Farm in Scalloway organically and has established a direct sales business based on native organic Shetland lamb and beef promoting native sheep and their wool, native beef and native crops.
Through membership of local and national bodies, Ronnie has developed a strong background in agricultural and environmental promotion and research. He is a Director of ShetlandOrganic Community Interest Company and is Chairman of Shetland Livestock Marketing Group.
His interest in rural development has led to the study of an MSc in Sustainable Rural Development. He was also part of a team engaged in an EU Interreg Project, which seeks to suggest integrated solutions for current rural ills and through this there is an emerging desire to see the formation of a Shetland based institute for the development of truly sustainable options for the European periphery.
Ronnie will be speaking jointly with Lyall Halcrow. Lyall is an experienced graduate statistician employed by Aberdeen University. He has been working as a researcher on a range of agricultural projects in Shetland.
Jim Nicolson, a former Head Teacher, is a crofter on the West Mainland of Shetland. He runs some 270 ewes, 220 of which are pure Shetland with 120 bred to Shetland rams and the rest crossed with North Country Cheviots. He also has 50 Shetland x Cheviot ewes which are crossed with Suffolk tups.
Jim has for the last 12 years been Secretary of the breed society of native Shetland sheep in Shetland, Shetland Flock Book Trust, and is also Secretary of the Shetland Cheviot Society. He is currently Vice President of Shetland Branch of the National Farmers Union Scotland, a Common Grazings Committee clerk and an area assessor for the Crofting Commission.
Outwith agriculture, Jim, a former lifeboat crewman, is Operations Manager for Aith Lifeboat.
Lord Lieutenant Robert W. Hunter
Details to follow.
The North Atlantic Native Sheep and Wool Conference 2013 will take place in October 2013. The programme is specified below.
Friday 11th October
Venue: Shetland Museum and Archives, Lerwick
6.30pm - Conference Registration and welcome reception
7.30pm - Opening address by Shetland Lord-Lieutenant, Robert W. Hunter
7.45pm - Address from Eric Wilson, past-master of the Worshipful Company of Woolmen and Director for Campaign for Wool
8.00pm - Keynote speech by Karin Flatøy Svarstad, Conference Founder
8.30pm - Ronnie Eunson and Lyall Halcrow: Carbon Kind Lamb
8.45pm - Close
Saturday 12th October
Venue: Shetland Marts, Lerwick
All day event - Shetland Flock Book sheep judging and sale
9.00am - Demonstration of Flock Book points for rams, with Addie Doull and Jim Nicolson
10.00am - Abbattior Visit, led by Ronnie Eunson
11.00am - Sale of fleeces in the main arena
12noon to 2.15pm - Observation, with Shetland Lunch served during this time
2.00pm - Ram Sale
3.00pm - Fleece grading and sorting, with Oliver Henry
4.00pm - Close
Sunday 13th October
Visit to UK's most northerly islands of Unst and Yell
7.30am - Pick up from Shetland Museum and Archives car park for bus and ferry travel to Unst. A guide will accompany the bus, providing a commentary on rural life in Shetland, with a focus on Yell and Unst.
9.30am - Arrive in Unst, with morning coffee at Haroldswick
10.30am - Meet with crofters at Hermaness Nature Reserve to see and discuss Shetland sheep, common grazing on the Reserve and issues of conservation/wildlife tourism
12noon - Fine lace knitting displays, spinning and knitting demonstrations at Unst Heritage Centre (continues to 2.00pm)
12.30pm - Lunch, live music and local craft market at Haroldswick Hall (next door to Heritage Centre, continues to 2.00pm)
2.00pm - Travel to Yell
3.15pm - Visit to Centre for Creative Industries and Shetland Gallery
4.00pm - Afternoon tea with talks from local and visiting textile artists (talks TBC)
5.00pm - Leave for Lerwick
6.30pm - Close
Monday 14th October
Venue: Shetland Museum and Archives, Lerwick
10.00am - Welcome and Introduction from Jim Nicolson
10.15am - Dr Carol Christiansen: Sustainability through the ages
11.00am - June Hall: Soay Sheep (Ovis aries) - Prehistoric Survivors on Britain's Remote Islands
11.45am - Break (refreshments provided)
12.15pm - Deborah Robson: Rare Breeds from North Atlantic Native Sheep: An Important Piece of the Sustainability Puzzle
1.00pm - Ólafur R Dýrmundsson – Icelandic Sheep and Sheep farming in Iceland in the context of sustainability
1.45pm - Lunch
2.45pm - Dana MacPhee: Cloimh Uibhist – Sustaining the islands through a textile tradition
3.30pm - Panel Discussion: All speakers will take questions from the floor
4.15pm - Conclusions and outcomes of the day summarised by Ronnie Eunson
4.30pm Free time
6.30pm - Pick up from Shetland Museum and Archives car park for transport to Tingwall Hall. Conference dinner, entertainment and social time.
11.00pm - Close
Tuesday 15th October
10.30am - Thanks and farewells from Lord-Lieutenant Robert Hunter and Karin Flatøy Svarstad
11.00am - Wool Clip: Jan Hicks will give a talk on the work of the organisation, including Woolfest.
11.30am - Look forward to 2014. A representative from Iceland will discuss next year's Conference.
This morning will also include an opportunity for visiting delegates to give short presentations and share practices from other North Atlantic regions.
In addition to the listed programme, there will be an exhibition of products made from native breeds from each area. These products will be on display in the Learning Room at Shetland Museum and Archives. Opening times for this display are 10am - 4pm on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. A preview opening will be given on Friday evening during registration.
Please note, while speakers are confirmed as at April 2013, the programme may be subject to change following circumstances beyond organisers control.
The North Atlantic Native Sheep and Wool Conference 2013 is brought to you by a comittee of local organisations with a vested interest in the sustainability of sheep and wool, from heritage to future development.
Delegate bookings can be made online at Shetland Box Office from Monday 29th April 2013. Delgate fee is £150 GBP per person and includes listed activites, and all transport and meals specified in the programme. The fee is payable on booking and is non refundable. Travel, accommodation and other expenses are not included in this fee and delegates should make their own arrangements. Travel and accommodation advice can be found on visit.shetland.org.
There are 80 delegate spaces available for the full conference. Additional day tickets will be announced for the Monday lecture programme at Shetland Musuem and Archives.
Enquires for further information may be addressed to Emma Miller at Shetland Amenity Trust at email@example.com or 01595 694688.
The partners involved in the organisation and delivery of the North Atlantic Native Sheep and Wool Conference 2013 are: