Tales of Past Tables: Karen Blixen's Storytelling as a Foundation for a New Narrative Design Tool

Tenna Doktor Olsen Tvedebrink, Anna Marie Fisker, Anna Eva Utke Heilmann, Nini Camilla Bagger

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review


‘As any skilled host or hostess knows, the success of the dinner party often hinges on the atmosphere of the setting. The setting not only shelters the table but influences the course, content, and mood of the conversations that happen around it…’ (Robinson, 2015:6). Such is the thought-provoking statement put forth in the book Mind in Architecture edited by Robinson and Pallasmaa (2015). This book presents and discusses how the notion of ‘embodiment’ brings the perception of architecture beyond pragmatic experience and phenomenology, and into complex user-centred, psychological-emotional domains and concepts of cognitive science. Here the notions ‘memory’ and ‘imagination’ are key because the human brain supposedly is “primed” to run on narratives and imagine scenarios. According to Sussman and Hollander (2015:133), ‘…the unusual ability of the mind to create stories, and in the process, find multiple ways of linking to the environment and securing a place in it.’ They continue: ‘…you are because of the way you are enabled to create, remake, and remember stories.’(Sussman and Hollander 2015:134). Following that line of thought, we ask if a new tool for design with a narrative approach and educational perspective can be developed with a point of departure in the Danish author Karen Blixen’s use of Storytelling? This is done, first, by presenting a hermeneutic study of a series of Blixen’s own spaces to explore her narrative approach - then by reflecting on the implementation of such a narrative approach in the teachings in the educational programs Integrated Food Studies and Architecture & Design at Aalborg University.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBack to the Future: The Future in the Past : ICDHS 10th+I Barcelona, Conference Proceedings Book
Number of pages5
Place of PublicationBarcelona
PublisherEdicions de la Universitat de Barcelona
Publication date2018
ISBN (Print)9788491681564
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventICDHS 10th+1: Back to the Future - The Future in the Past - Universitat De Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 29 Oct 201831 Oct 2018
Conference number: 10th+1


ConferenceICDHS 10th+1
LocationUniversitat De Barcelona
Internet address


  • Learning
  • Storytelling
  • PBL
  • Problem-Based Learning
  • Karen Blixen


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