March 6, 2023

Distributed Design bootcamp turns into an annual seafood festival

In the last years of participating in the Distributed Design project, many new ideas have become reality and this text handles one of those ideas that was developed in a DDP bootcamp in Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland.  

The original idea was to have a big positive social impact with the ideology of  Distributed Design. Vestmannaeyjar is a group of islands south of Iceland and the community there depends very much on the environment, fishing and fishing industry. The idea that was formed and developed in a Distributed Design bootcamp was to create a whole concept about the fishing community of the island. The concept that was developed was around establishing a program to attract tourists to the island and connect the local habitants, designers, tourism industry and the fishing industry to form a unique concept around the cultural heritage, fishing industrial knowledge and tourism industry. The designers who participated in the Bootcamp developed ideas for the community to work further with and develop. Ideas around using the cultural heritage and the concept  of fish and people working together in the fishing community.

The ideas that were designed and prototyped were around programs for events, virtual dissemination of cultural heritage, and tangible objects.  

One of the ideas that was developed further was the idea to hold an event and have the local tourism companies, local restaurants working together with the fishing industry and hold a seafood festival with local fish on the menu. Since Fab Lab Vestmannaeyjar is active in the Make. Works community it was easier to establish connections with the fishing industry and the tourism industry and in the spirit of Distributed Design, some international talents around culinary arts were invited to the island to develop new ways of using local ingredients to serve for the guests of the islands.

This concept became reality in September 2022, when Vestmannaeyjar was presented on the gastronomic world map at the Matey Seafood Festival in Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland. The event which was held in September 2022, showcased the genuine food of Vestmannaeyjar and highlighted the collaboration between restaurants, fish factories, food producers, and other food industry service partners to deliver 1st-class quality fish and fish products. Attendees learned about the importance of the blue economy of the islands and experienced great fish from family-run restaurants around the island.

At the festival, attendees could sample authentic local dishes with a twist from some of the best chefs in the world and learn about the culture and food history of the region. A variety of restaurants offered different aspects of local cuisine and fusion with cuisines from around the world.

The festival is one of the outcomes from Distributed Design bootcamp and other Distributed Design events that have been held in Vestmannaeyjar and were supported by Creative Europe.

Story by Innovation Centre Iceland

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