Ulrik is from Denmark, but currently based in Sweden whilst studying for a PhD in practical carpentry, researching working methods in timber framed constructions. His particular interest is in the different procedures of “Afbinding, Opsnøring and Tilridsning,” Danish words which (unsatisfactory) can be translated into layout and scribing.
The Scandinavians take their traditional crafts much more seriously than in the UK and have an excellent educational programme to show for it. Ulrik started his carpentry training at the Dacapo Craft School in Sweden, which was originally a vocational training centre for carpenters specialising in traditional building crafts, but then became part of Göteborg University. So he now has a Bachelors degree and is currently undertaking a five year research programme for his PhD.
Whilst I admire the Scandinavian’s attitude to traditional craft, it seems that practice-led PhDs are not well established in the field and he is still struggling with “ways of executing practical research in an academic world without losing the performance of the craft”. Having done a practice-led PhD myself and subsequently been doing research training for others, this might something I can help with. I am looking forwards to spending some time with Ulrik in Japan and discussing this.
In the mean time, a large part of Ulrik’s time is spent on practical building projects, both on his own in the building yard, and as a part of different projects, which have been all over Europe since much of the timber construction in Sweden is with whole log construction, rather than timber framing. The Japanese Kesurokai is an opportunity to spread his knowledge a little further!
Ulrik will travel to Japan with his fiancée, Lina Lo Gillefalk, who is just completing a qualification as a conservation officer specialising in the built heritage (“bebyggelsesantikvarie”). She will be an observer on the project and together they will write about the importance of practical workshops to maintain both practical skills and the intangible cultural heritage of the building crafts.
There's more about Ulrik, including some video, on this fascinating French timber framing web site.