Bring Birds Back workshop, Christoph Matt. Photo by Stefan Kraupner

Design workshop educating on birds of the past, present and the future via designed communication tools and embodied engagement with materials on site.

As a part of the event The city with a bird perspective / Staden med ett fågelperspektiv the Bring Birds Back workshop, Eco-social designer Christoph Matt from Austria aimed to reconnect people with three bird species linked to the past, present and future of the site through a design walk with communication materials. The workshop aimed to bring back birds that disappeared from the area to people’s consciousness with educational talks, and physically by creating bird artworks using a stencil tool and bodily engagement finding materials from the site connected to the habitats of the birds.

For the past, the workshop focused on the ruff, a reed-dwelling bird that used to live in the city reeds that once covered Frihamnen. Participants learned about the ruff’s need for large areas of reeds and how the environment in Frihamnen can be transformed to support its return, creating sculptures of ruffs using reeds.

At present birds like common redstart and black redstart are species thriving in the industrial areas and wasteland. Participants used the abundant trashfound in Frihamnen to craft redstart sculptures, a material that this pragmatic bird often uses for nest building. 

Looking to the future, the workshop explored the endangered white-backed woodpecker, whose habitat requires substantial time to recreate. Participants built sculptures from wood chips, symbolising the woodpecker’s reliance on dead wood, particularly aspens, which are now planted in Jubileumsparken, a new park in Frihamnen. This park will take several decades to mature in order to host the woodpecker.

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