In the first week of August, a small group of us returned from sailing, cycling, and holidaying to welcome Under Ombygning, a collective of non-binary, trans, and female tradespeople/construction workers for the week.
The collective meets once per month in a social setting to provide a space for gender minorities to network and share experiences. Annually they come together for 5 days to work on a shared project, interspersed with workshops and talks. This year they chose Hawila Project to be the setting for their 3rd annual gathering.
The task at hand was to create two floating platforms for Hawila and the National Museum to share to enable working on the outside of the ships from the water, something that is safer and more versatile than working from a dinghy. It was decided that it must be possible for these two platforms to be lashed together with the flexibility to create the area needed to work but also that they can be transformed into a space for fun and creativity.
With over 30 participants in this week the volunteer house would have been beyond capacity, so the Kystliv Centre kindly donated the use of their space to the collective for the week which became a hub of activity.
People slowly arrived along with sleeping mats, blankets, vegetables, tools, and a huge bbq. After introductions we split ourselves into two groups and began to brainstorm around the basic design we had. The teams were comprised of carpenters, boat builders, metal workers, sailors, riggers, a sign maker, and people exploring their interest in construction work. The aim was to create a working environment where each person had the freedom to exercise their skills or choose to learn new ones.
Alongside this main project a smaller group chose to help with work on Hawila’s rigging lead by our rigging team Johanna and Liesbeth.
Three days were spent on the construction projects, culminating with a launch and naming ceremony. Each morning began with breakfast, group stretching, and a small assembly to organise the day.
In the evenings we ate and drank together before heading inside for a presentation from someone within the group. These included an introduction to drawing boat plans by boat builder Sofie and a talk about a recent experience working in Colombia by carpenters Sini and Frida. Saturday was dedicated solely to workshops and discussions, and we reflected on what this week meant to us and what is needed to make construction workplaces comfortable for all.
At Hawila we were really curious to create this new connection with the opportunity to consider ways to work from different perspectives. We are hugely grateful for the work done both in the organisation and the work carried out by the collective.
A big thank you to Under Ombygning for a wonderful week!