Visit to Finland and Estonia

At the end of November Martyn, Stella and I (Tom) went to Helsinki in Finland to visit Sirpa Kokko  and then to Viljandi in Estonia to visit Ave Matsin. You may remember that these two ladies had visited the Leeds end of the Design Routes project in the summer. We had a number of objectives on this visit and an unfortunately short timescale in which to achieve them. They were:

  • Test the latest form of the strategy taxonomy
  • Talk about possible future collaborations and funding to make this possible
  • Do a bit of spinning in Viljandi.….….….….….….….……well Tom’s objective really

In terms of the first objective we carried out a test exercise with Masters students of the department of Craft Science and Textiles Education at the university of Helsinki. Then we carried out the same exercise with staff of the department of Native Crafts at Viljandi Culture Academy (part of the University of Tartu). Both exercises went well and we got lots of good feedback (both positive and negative) to help us refine the taxonomy. Stella and I had already carried out a pilot test with 32 MA Design students at Leeds. Armed with all this feedback Stella is making good progress with work on the taxonomy and Martyn is making arrangements to turn this into an interactive online tool for designers, design researchers and teachers.

We had a Skype meeting on the morning of our day at Helsinki with the three of us, Sirpa, Ave and a professional carpenter from Sweden named Ulrik. We are now poring over possibilities to aim at European funding calls.

Tom got to play (sorry…work) in the wool mill at Viljandi Culture Academy and had a great time. Only regret was the shortage of time. This is a great project. Watch out in the future.

Tom works will wool as Ave looks onTom and Ave at the woollen mill in ViljandiMartyn and Ave outside in the snowMartyn and Ave on a walk in Viljandi



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