In spring 2020, Intercult arranges a number of webinars with different themes live streamed on our Facebook page. The seminars focus on current themes such as the cultural sector's contribution to climate challenges, cultural heritage, European cultural policy in the Covid-19 pandemic. Themes are introduced and discussed by the invited lecturers and the hope is that these webinars will open up a dialogue about culture's relationship to sustainability, social cohesion and urban development. In each passport, we also address a European perspective and experiences gathered through our European cooperation.
The seminars will be broadcast on Wednesdays between 12.30 – 13.15 – keep an eye out for exact times on Intercult's and Europa Direkt Intercult's Facebook.
On Wednesday, April 22, a webinar was held that focused in particular on the cultural sector and cultural heritage from a sustainable perspective. We also gained an insight into common social patterns in Europe's cultural sector, both in terms of actors visible in the public sector and those who are not very prominent. Urban Agenda and Urban Act 3 are now working more actively for learning about integrated sustainable urban development; cultural objectives must be developed in accordance with the objectives of sustainability in Europe. The lecturers in this webinar were artist Sam Hultin and cultural geographer Thomas Borén from Stockholm University. Below is a summary of what was discussed at the seminar!
Artist Sam Hultin often works with queer history writing and site-specific art in collaboration with different queer communities in different European countries. She often uses performance and video in her artistry and the focus is preferably on larger political and social structures. She wants to make queer communities in the city visible through city walks, among other things. Her work is based on workshops with LGBT affiliation where participants write about different places in the city to which they have a personal connection. The stories are then placed on a map and recorded as an audio guide. Participants tell each other's stories.
She now manages an archive that belonged to the first trans activist in Stockholm, Eva-Lisa Bengtson. How can queer communities in Stockholm manage this heritage and spread knowledge about this relatively invisible historical person? The possibilities are now being explored around erecting some kind of monument that can spread knowledge about Eva-Lisa Bengtson and her activism. It also wants to redefine what the monument has symbolised historically. Among other things, a reading at moderna museet of a selection of letters sent to Eva Lisa from transgender people in Sweden has been organized.
Thomas Borén is associate professor of human geography at Stockholm University and has worked on a number of projects in urban development, urban policy and cultural projects, where different ideas and methods are tested against development. Thomas is currently working on an EU-funded project where he looks at a wide range of industries, both commercial and non-commercial, from a human geography perspective. Art in public often has a certain social or political charge, but only certain works of art are experienced in this way. The experience of the artwork often has to do with whether or not it violates established norms and ideologies.
The city can also turn to artists to use their methods in various projects. Art can thus be directly present in the development process. Project managers are often advised to bring in artistic expertise early in the process, as this creates a breadth and a nuance in the decision-making process. Artists can help create forums for dialogue, where planners can discuss together in a safe environment. Different collaborations can thus be created between planners and artists. Could this be a way to stimulate creativity? The method is called creative place-making and is about welcoming artist-led initiatives, where artists and cultural practitioners get to participate in the project process at an early level. This interactivity is welcomed in order to create a creative urban space. One possible method to promote this is a policy platform. This allows us to harness the knowledge and power of artists and cultural practitioners.
A prerequisite for the project to work is that a dialogue between all actors involved takes place from the outset and that everyone should agree on the project's goals and conditions. There should also be a more elaborate plan for promoting various interactive projects in the city. An example of a project in Stockholm is the association premises in Hökarängen that were rented out to artists in an attempt to redefine the socio-economic character of the area. However, the result was not what was expected, as the influx of artists led to a sharp increase in rents in the area. This was highlighted during the discussion as an example of a short-term project and how the project must think from the outset from a sustainability perspective with long-term goals. It is also important to work constantly towards a broader inclusiveness.
A discussion was also held about the role and function of the monument in the urban space. How can the monument create presence without exercising power? In relation to the urban planning process, one must also take into account building permits, permits, the conditions of the site. Such factors also largely create a defining framework for how culture can take place in the urban space.