Norwegian photojournalists seek stories
“Brown cheese for stories!” That’s what Norwegian
photojournalists Kristian Balsrod, Anton Ligaarden, and Katinka Hustad
will be offering to Cook County residents of Norwegian heritage – or
locals with good Sven & Ole jokes.
The three University of Oslo students arrived in Cook County on June
12 for a four-week stay during which they will start filming a
documentary intended to find out how much Norwegian culture remains
alive in descendants of the 50 percent of the Norwegian population
that emigrated to the United States several generations ago. Indeed,
the population of Norwegian-Americans – close to five million – is
about as large as the current population of Norway. They also hope to
get a sense for whether Norwegian heritage will still mean something
to Norwegian-Americans 50 years from now.
“Norwegians have no idea how they’ve gone out and made a mark on
the world,” said Balsrod, who with his colleagues stopped by the Cook
County News-Herald office seeking help in finding Norwegian-Americans
for their project. They are hoping to interview people of all ages.
Balsrod, Ligaarden, and Hustad started the project three years ago.
The final product will be a new form of documentary Balsrod calls an
“interactive web documentary.” Offered on the Internet, it will
include educational links and opportunities for people to leave
comments and get in touch with each other. They also hope to use the
project to teach young Norwegians about their own emigration history.
The researchers plan to return for two weeks in December and then
again next spring.
The photojournalists have funded this phase of their project on their
own. Their first order of business is to create a pilot they can use
in seeking grant funding for the next phases of the project. Toward
that end, they are organizing an event in which they hope to draw
potential interviewees, luring them with “brun ost” – Norwegian
brown cheese – with bread and butter. “That in exchange for some
good Norwegian stories of the area and possibly some good Sven & Ole
jokes,” said Balsrod.
The brown cheese event had not been scheduled yet, but at Balsrod’s
request, this News-Herald Associate Editor Jane Howard agreed to be a
contact person for people interested in being part of this project.
The News-Herald’s phone number is (218)387-9100. Balsrod can also be
reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.