Reflecting on design, sustainability and social change

Malmö University DESIS Lab and MEDEA are producing a series of short interviews with design practitioners and researchers to explore if and how design can contribute to sustainability and social change in different contexts.

The first interview is with Sreejata Roy and Mrityunjay Chatterje, a two member team of an artist and a media practitioner based in New Delhi.  Their practices with regard to urban space are generally twofold. Through the projects, using and combining different media, they document the changes in the city and study how these changes affect peoples’ lives. They also explore, adapt and create spaces for public interactions and collective intellectual and creative practices.

Working-Class Literature(s) – New Book

Professor Magnus Nilsson is the co-editor to the new book Working-Class Literature(s).  Read more about the book.

The aim of this collection is to make possible the forging of a more robust, politically useful, and theoretically elaborate understanding of working-class literature(s).

These essays map a substantial terrain: the history of working-class literature(s) in Russia/The Soviet Union, The USA, Finland, Sweden, The UK, and Mexico. Together they give a complex and comparative – albeit far from comprehensive – picture of working-class literature(s) from an international perspective, without losing sight of national specificities.

By capturing a wide range of definitions and literatures, this collection gives a broad and rich picture of the many-facetted phenomenon of working-class literature(s), disrupts narrow understandings of the concept and phenomenon, as well as identifies and discusses some of the most important theoretical and historical questions brought to the fore by the study of this literature.

If read as stand-alone chapters, each contribution gives an overview of the history and research of a particular nation’s working-class literature. If read as an edited collection (which we hope you do), they contribute toward a more complex understanding of the global phenomenon of working-class literature(s).

Interactive Glass at the Exhibition “Handmade – Scandinavian Glass Starting All Over”

EMBODIED SOUND: Touching the glass stimulates an inner play of sounds and light.

K3’s Senior lecturer in tangible interaction design and glassblower, Henrik Svarrer Larsen, together with amongst others former K3 PhD student, Mads Hobye, currently exhibit outcomes of a series of AIRs at the Glass Factory as part of the research initiative DynamicTransparencies. The artefacts are early outcomes of material-based explorations and craft-like curiosities from a meeting of hot glass and physical computing. The work partakes in a big-scale exhibition travelling to two other major glass museums in Finland and Denmark as part of the NF funded project, Scandinavian Glass – starting all over.

Discussing the work with some teachers and students from LNU and the glass school.
KLANG: The object responds by the sound of crystal and by subtle movements as the inner glass ball flees an approaching interactor, yet also lurks and thereby emerge from the graduated semi-translucency.
PENDL: A circle of light surveils an interactor.
TOUCH: experiencing the feeling of glass and interactive light.


Read more:—scandinavian-glass-starting-all-over.html

Back to the Homestead: The Idyll as Critical and Aesthetic Discourse in Swedish Literature

Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (RJ) has granted Ann-Sofi Ljung Svensson, senior lecturer in Literature Studies, funds for the research project Back to the Homestead: The Idyll as Critical and Aesthetic Discourse in Swedish Literature/Hem till gården. Idyllens ideologi och estetik i ett svenskt litterärt och populärkulturellt perspektiv. 

”Hem till gården. Idyllens ideologi och estetik i ett svenskt litterärt och populärkulturellt perspektiv” är en kvalitativ genrestudie i litteraturvetenskap. Studien utgår från nutidsrelevanta texter och perspektiv, som dels sätter in genren i ett svenskt litterärt och populärkulturellt sammanhang, dels utforskar idyllgenrens samhällskritiska potential och estetiska karaktär. Tesen är att idyllgenren används för att utöva djupgående kritik mot det moderna samhället genom att gestalta och diskutera mer eller mindre utopiska samhällslösningar. Under 1900-talet har kritiken i idyllens form ofta riktats mot den svenska välfärdsstaten, dvs. folkhemmet. Lösningarna har förlagts till landsbygden, och omfattar ekokritiska perspektiv. En dubbel bindning mellan ideologi och estetik tillhör idyllgenrens konventioner och har varit tydlig genom historien. Men det är oftast de estetiska och nostalgiska dimensionerna i genren som framhålls, medan den subversiva kraften lätt förbises eller avfärdas. Med utgångspunkt i hermeneutisk och socialkonstruktivistisk teori och med en diskursanalytisk metod undersöks fem författarskap från tidigt 1900-tal fram till idag: Karl-Erik Forsslund, Vilhelm Moberg, Astrid Lindgren, vissångaren Bernt Staf och bloggaren Clara Lidström. Urvalet speglar även en populärkulturell medieutveckling. Idyllgenren har varit lågt värderad i svensk litteratur under 1900-talet, men står alltjämt att finna i mer populärkulturella sammanhang.

Un/making Matters – maintenance, repair and composting

The Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) has granted Kristina Lindström, senior lecturer in Product Design), and Åsa Ståhl, Linnéuniveristy fund for the research project Un/making Matters – maintenance, repair and composting. 

The purpose with Un/making Matters is to explore and develop an emerging design space that offers alternatives to the productivist and anthropocentric thinking and making that has been and still is strong within design and design research. 

Åsa Ståhl and Kristina Lindström will carry out a variety of design experiments where human and non-human actors are invited to engage with practices such as maintenance, repair, composting and other ways of caring for that which has already been made, rather than making the new. Our interest here lies not only in what these practices make or sustain, but also what they can unmake, in terms of matters, entanglements, practices, imaginaries and aesthetics. 

Based on these events we will in the final phase of the project craft speculative scenarios, manuals, fabulations and prototypes that offer fantastical as well as mundane proposals for how to care for that which is already made. These speculations will be circulated to a wider public through exhibitions, media and other public fora. 

Through crafting events and speculations we will explore and contribute with inventive couplings between methods and theories from participatory design, speculative design, repair and maintenance studies and feminist technoscience. Insights from the experiments and speculative articulations will be circulated to the design research communities through articles and presentations at conferences and symposia. It will also be brought into educational settings.

More about the project. 


Engaging with The Bridge: Cultural citizenship, cross-border identities and audiences as ‘regionauts’

New article by Tina Askanius, senior lecturer in Media and Communication Studies, in the upcoming issue of European Journal of Cultural Studies.

Engaging with The Bridge: Cultural citizenship, cross-border identities and audiences as ‘regionauts’  

This article explores civic engagement with the Danish/Swedish crime series The Bridge (Danmarks Radio/Sveriges Television 2011–) based on qualitative interviews with 113 audience members, and drawing on the notion of cultural citizenship. The perspective of cultural citizenship, as understood and operationalized mainly by Hermes, is married with critical perspectives on the crime drama genre and its audiences, along with cultural analysis of the construction of and engagement with the cross-border region in which the drama is set. The analysis shows that civic engagement with the crime series is prompted through the construction of community and allegiances through which audiences feel connected. This argument unfolds in three main analytical sections, detailing how audiences’ articulations of community are focused around distinct yet overlapping dimensions of community as (1) a national social ritual, (2) a sense of Nordic community, and finally (3) community as regional identity and sense of belonging to a borderless Öresund utopia – the integrated region between Denmark and Sweden. In so doing, the article offers rich insights into how audiences shape civic identities as members of nation states, of historical and cultural regions and as border-crossers between these geo-cultural entities – in dialogue with popular culture and around the boundary-work of the different communities offered by such texts.

New Article in Architecture and Culture

New article by professor Maria Hellström Reimer in the latest issue of Architecture and Culture. 

Playing the Green Card – The Commodifying Fiction of a Derivative Jardin-Forêt

With the point of departure in the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) – site François Mitterand (Dominique Perrault, 1989–95) and more specifically its central but inaccessible jardin-forêt, this essay problematizes what has been described as the neoliberal shift in architecture and urbanism. The BnF and its garden-forest has been interpreted as a last breath of modernist urbanism and welfare ideas. Yet, rather than dismissing this Grand opération as a tardy spasm of modernism, it is perhaps more productive to consider the ensemble an exponent of the derivative, or spin-off, spatial logic currently sustaining the fiction of urban fertility and growth.

Read full article here.

Co-Design in Co-Production Processes

New article by Anna Seravalli, Mette Agger Ericsen and Per-Anders Hillgren have been publiched in CoDesign- International Journal of CoCreation in Design and the Arts.

Co-Design in co-production processes: jointly articulating and appropriating infrastructuring and commoning with civil servants

Anna, Mette and Per-Anders have been part of the research project URB@exp during the last years.

About URB@exp
European cities face complex economic, social and environmental challenges. To address these challenges, cities seek new approaches. A currently popular approach is urban labs (Living Labs and City Labs), in which local governments engage in solving problems together with other stakeholders in urban development. However, clear guidelines are needed concerning types of problems for which urban labs are most suited and how urban labs can best be organized and integrated into formal local government organisations.

The URB@Exp project aims to develop such guidelines by reviewing experiences of urban labs, and conducting action research in urban labs in five European cities.