The first CIG course in Sweden is currently underway! Kristian Bjørnstad from Norway (who lives on the Swedish border) is the very much appreciated leader, and the course is hosted by the Swedish Centre for Nature Interpretation (SCNI). Our first three days were held in Uppsala on 21-23 August and everyone is now doing homework and looking forward to the last two days of the course on 21-22 October.
During the first three days of the course, the 16 participants worked with the IE tools for interpretation in two comprehensive exercises carried out at the SLU campus Ultuna. The group consists of a broad array of interpreters from national parks, visitor centres, private enterprises, forest organisations, educational institutions and others. It was three very intense days, but the good balance between practical work, discussions, presentations and the inevitable Swedish Fika helped everyone keep their focus and spirit.
The old pines at Ultuna proved to be good tools during the introduction session and discussion about some central parts of interpretive guiding, such as meaning-making, stepping stones and universal concepts. Other phenomena that served for us to interpret included a sunflower bursting right out of the wall in the central part of the campus and an ordinary remote control – you would not believe how many potential meanings we came up with for this object!
We then prepared for a group exercise, practicing interpretive guiding in a chosen area of the campus. One group focused on the hidden possibilities of a superficially boring-looking place – a dam. There was much more to see and experience than first meets the eye. The other half of the course interpreted the indoor environment of one of the main buildings on campus. Quite a lot was learned and discussed based on the architecture, materials and exhibits inside.
Although at times it was really rainy, our spirits and enthusiasm were not dampened and it did not prevent us from being committed! Thank you so much, Kristian, and thanks also to all participants for your great dedication! Good luck for the final assessment!
Anders is a Project Leader at the Swedish Centre for Nature Interpretation (SCNI), Department of Urban and Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, based in Uppsala. He can be contacted at: [email protected]