Pilot 2: OAMK (Ostrobothnia & Sápmi, Finland)

Traditional Knowledge Meets Tomorrow’s Wardrobe for Sustainability

  • The Sámi artist community including traditional craft artists and local fashion, textiles and design entrepreneurs will be the core participants in the pilot. This group is located across the northern Finland region and will include connections with expert practitioners and Finnish professional training programs at the Sámi Education Institute (SAKK) in Inari, Finland. 
  • The Centre for Arts Innovation (CAI) will facilitate collaboration with regional technology companies in the fields of extended reality (XR), printed intelligence (OAMK PrinLab), immersive visualizations, and gaming as well as connect with proposed projects (2023-2024) with the European Media and Immersive Lab (EMIL) in the field of XR and garment haptics innovation. The CAI will draw on experience at the OAMK building on interdisciplinary students for example, from the Oulu Game Lab. 
  • VTT, will support pilot connections with national-level industrial innovation projects and circular economy policies. In this way, VTT will support pilot integration with Finnish projects on new materials and fashion innovation. 

A critical aspect of this pilot is the connection with the Sámi Indigenous communities of the region. Sámi handicraft production involves a deep connection with the environmental ecosystems of the region and holds deep ties to reindeer herding and the Indigenous cultural practices of these communities. The SMEs of Sámi craft and textile producers will act as the core professional communities participating in the pilot. The city of Oulu will leverage its background as a city with a global tech industry focusing on mobile technologies. In this way, the pilot will bring together expertise from Sámi traditional craft professionals and professionals within the local emerging technologies industry. Oulu will be European Capital of Culture 2026 with art and technology programming as one of the key themes, including projects on new textiles and Sámi culture. Ultimately, the pilot will support meaningful co-creation driven by traditional craft practices for production and knowledge of natural materials, supporting traditional indigenous knowledge and livelihoods with appropriate innovation methods and materials. Thus, there is a strong focus on Indigenous community-led engagement instead of industry-led, highlighting a decolonizing and ethical approach to innovation in the sector.

  • Design and implement a platform for traditional expertise and digital creative entrepreneurs to connect, share and co-design. 
  • Test approaches for digital practices and platforms connecting with Indigenous knowledge within the professional craft (handicraft SMEs) and craft education (vocational instructors for traditional craft and textile) sector. 
  • Develop garment prototypes and examples of sustainable production methods by merging traditional craft practices with emerging technology and new materials. 
  • Support Sámi-led innovation methods, business models and balanced interdisciplinary approaches as well as articulating meaningful and ethical collaborations between Sámi SMEs and other organizations engaged in innovative uses for emerging technology and new materials.