The genesis of Upscale

The genesis of Upscale

Happy new year!

Here I am writing my first of hopefully a relatively regular stream of blog posts. I’ve never written blogs before, so bear with me as a I learn the subtle techniques for keeping your interest!

I want to let you know a bit more about Upscale and how it came to be.

I moved to Sandane with my husband and two children just over a year ago. Vidar had just gotten a new job as leader of Nordfjord Aktiv and I was in the process of finishing up my PhD in climate research. I was scheduled to submit my written thesis march 27th 2019 and, dedicated and determined as I am I succeeded in this. However, at the same time I constantly kept contemplating what I would do when my PhD was good and done. My foot was hovering over the next step in life, but I still didn’t know what that step was made of.

You might say that Nordfjordfolkemuseum provided me with the answer.

In February, I attended a presentation by Ingrid Vik Lysne, a participant in NRK Symesterskapet in 2018 at Nordfjordfolkemuseum and a tiny spark lit up in my imagination. What if, instead of directly pursuing a career in climate research, I turned my passion for communication, climate and creativity into something else?

Pictures started forming in my head of a place where environmental consciousness meets creativity and accessibility. I imagined a living room area with comfortable chairs where people could meet new and old friends over a hot cuppa. A place where people didn’t have to choose between shopping environmentally friendly and keeping their bank accounts intact. The place was colourful, vibrant, energetic, where creativity and the will to learn and thrive were encouraged. Both young and old joined together to teach and be taught. A place where people of all nationalities felt welcome. As these visions started forming in my mind I decided to leap rather than step on that uncertain foothold coming after my PhD defence.

I entered Påskepitch and pitched my ideas to the local Gloppen community. They were intrigued. I went further, and with the help of my husband applied for local funding. It went through! There was an empty shop in the middle of town, with a large open area, bright lighting and welcoming windows. The landlord was supportive and welcoming to a new concept and fresh activity. We made a contract and by September 2019, just 7 months after beginning to contemplate the idea of Upscale, renovations began.

Friends and family, students from the environmental club, neighboring business and even my mom (who flew all the way from Canada!) helped to renovate. I couldn’t thank the community of Sandane enough for their support in making Upscale a reality. The past two and a half months that we have been open and running have gone by in a whirlwind and have been more than I could have hoped for. Here’s to an even more thrilling (but perhaps slightly less stressful!) 2020!

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