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Beyond Site/Sight's Community

Get to know the participants of the CROCUS conference Beyond Site/Sight.

As a preparation for Beyond site/sight we ask all participants to reflect on place and placemaking in relation to their own practice. Reflections are posted here ongoing, and we invite you to check in here regularly to get to know the CROCUS community.

 

Malin Andersson, Lund University

How does your practice relate to placemaking?

I do research for instance about the meetings industry, and more specifically convention bureaus´ place marketing of professional meetings. My empirical data is convention bureaus online marketing of places; their communication of place related values directed to potential meetings bookers.

How is it possible to use sense of place as material and starting point for research and/or artistic work?

By collecting visitors´/ planners´/leaders´/users´/citizens´/consumers´ different and/or similar stories about their view of- and understanding of a certain room/a site/an area, how and they have been viewing that place, what history and stories they connect to it,  how they are experiencing a place right now and how they envision its future.

What methods do you use for co-creation and relationship building in relation to place?

In order to make sure that the research is relevant and timely, I as a researcher can and should co-create in the sense that I aim for a certain level of collaboration between societal actors in the study and the academic community. It can for instance be useful to co-create by joint seminars, workshops and conferences


Erika Andersson Cederholm, Lund University

Department of Service Studies

How does your practice relate to placemaking?

In my professional practice as an academic and researcher, I use placemaking mainly as and academic concept, to analyse phenomena related to various actors’ placemaking practices.  

How is it possible to use sense of place as material and starting point for research and/or artistic work?

In research, I would use a description, for instance an interview extract or narrative. about someone´s sense of place to analyse what new questions, or what general characteristics and analytical generalization would be possible to draw from such material.  

What methods do you use for co-creation and relationship building in relation to place?

Well, I don’t know, honestly. This probably means that I do not use any particular method.  


Image of a parking house at night
Peter Bengtsen

Peter Bengtsen, Lund University

How does your practice relate to placemaking?

I have been researching and writing about street art and graffiti since 2006. In my work, one aspect I have covered is the way that street art can turn urban public space into what I call a site of exploration. In brief, this means that unexpected encounters with street art can cause people to become more conscious of the spaces they move through and can also encourage a more active exploration of, and engagement with, our everyday environments.

How is it possible to use sense of place as material and starting point for research and/or artistic work?

As a part of a recent project on graffiti writing in Malmö, I found that members of Malmö’s graffiti world (both graffiti writers and others who take an interest in graffiti) may develop a refined attentiveness to, and deeper knowledge of, the city’s geography, topography, materials and textures. This started as a hypothesis, based on my own experience, which I then tested through the use of experimental methods (see below).

What methods do you use for co-creation and relationship building in relation to place?

Recently, I have been working with visual methods (mostly photography, videography and visual analysis). I have also undertaken research that involves more experimental approaches, including creating scavenger hunts in Malmö to test the idea that members of the city’s graffiti world have intimate knowledge about the city. One outcome of this effort is a 9-minute research video, see the following link.


CAD drawing of building with a black background
Per-Johan Dahl

Per-Johan Dahl, Lund University

How does your practice relate to placemaking?

I am an architect, and a researcher in architecture. For architectural discipline and practice, the notion of place and space, and the processes of placemaking and space construction, remain key aspects for the design and understanding of our built environment. Personally, and for many years, I have found Michele Foucault’s distinction between the concepts of place and space to be utterly useful, both in theory and in practice. Drawing on his seminal text “Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias,” we can understand place as something delineated, defined – something rather static and local -- while space remains intersected with time, thus instigates something in motion, something infinitely open. Yet, however, we also realize that place and space always intersect and overlap, thus are difficult to separate, at least in practice. Foucault discusses a historical ensemble of places, such as urban places, rural places, open and exposed places. We may use architectural and urban typologies to materialize such ensemble, for example through the city square, the community garden, the atrium, and the roof terrace. All these typologies describe tangible places, where humans and non-humans can meet, socialize, and thrive. As a designer and scholar, I rely much on Robin Evan’s statement that “architects don’t make buildings, they make drawings of buildings.” Thus, my practice relates to placemaking through means of representation, such as drawings, models, and texts.

How is it possible to use sense of place as material and starting point for research and/or artistic work?

Architecture is first and foremost an art form – architecture became a discipline through art, architectural practice relies, to a large degree, on artistic processes. My own work operates primarily within the theoretical framework of constructivism. To design and understand our built environment, I must evaluate both empirical and sensorial data. To me, it is utterly important to process not only the things we see, but also the things we don’t see. Within this operative mode, it becomes crucial to translate a sense of place through the means of representation that we use to formulate instructions for placemaking and space construction.

What methods do you use for co-creation and relationship building in relation to place?

My primary methods reside within architectural representation and pedagogy. For architectural representation, I use drawings and models in sketch and/or presentation mode. Ideally, I include 1:1 scale prototypes – a method of co-creation and relationship building that operates in-between representation and construction. For pedagogy, I use dynamic interactions between groups and individuals. Instant changes in the size and configuration of social formations often install certain levels of uncertainty and unpredictability, which tend to accelerate creativity. I believe the open-ended character of this pedagogy is becoming increasingly important for our common effort of responding to the global challenges.
 


Orchestra infront of film on screen with boat in river
Jörgen Dahlqvist

Jörgen Dahlqvist, Lund University

Representation of Place through Theatre 

How does your practice relate to placemaking? 

In my practice as a playwright, director, and artistic director of the performing arts collective Teatr Weimar, I have been interested in the sense of place in different ways. This has to do with an overall desire to understand how theatre can contribute to the knoledge on how to solve societal challenges. 

How is it possible to use sense of place as material and starting point for research and/or artistic work? 

In a trilogy of performances produced by Teatr Weimar the Canadian journalist Doug Saunders' concept of 'Arrival City' (2011) was used as a lens to explore aspects of migration through intermedial theatre. According to Saunders, migration from rural to urban areas is a key factor in the development and prosperity of the world and this also became a call for engagement. The performances Arrival cities: Malmö (2013), Arrival Cities: Växjö (2013) and Arrival Cities: Hanoi(2103) were all part of a research practice that aimed to understand the anatomy and mechanisms of migration and xenophobia (see Nguyễn & Östersjö) while developing novel methods of enhancing storytelling in theatre with mediatised technology (see Olofsson 2018; Dahlqvist & Olofsson 2023).

What methods do you use for co-creation and relationship building in relation to place? 

Since then, I have used Helsingborg as the backdrop in three performances to discuss socio-economic division and the democratic engagement in Sweden. Knutpunkten (2019) used the train- and ferry station, a location that balances on the invisible border between the Northern and Southern parts of Helsingborg, as a meeting place for fictional characters from different parts of Helsingborg to meet and to discuss their life situation in a dramatic play. Trädgårdsgatan (2021) portrayed three generations of women living in Helsingborg. Although the storyline and characters are fictional, the play relates to real places in the city. Finally, the audio walk Monument (2022) explored Helsingborg's identity through the questions of who the city is there for and what the citizens want it to be. Using place as an object of exploration allows me as a theatre maker to engage with society and to enable a discussion of the common interests in society through theatre. 

A car and fire
Jörgen Dahlqvist

References

  • Dahlqvist, J. (2019) Trädgårdsgatan, Dramatic text, unpublished
  • Dahlqvist, J. (2021) Knutpunkten, Dramatic text, unpublished
  • Dahlqvist, J. & Olofsson, K. (2023). Performing with Technology. Echo Journal, Issue #5, 30 June 2023, https://echo.orpheusinstituut.be/article/performing-with-technology
  • Nguyễn, T T & Östersjö, S. (2019). Arrival cities: Hanoi. Laws, C. et al. (eds.), (2019). Voices, bodies, practices. Leuven: Leuven University Press
  • Olofsson, K. (2018). Composing the performance: An exploration of musical composition as a dramaturgical strategy in contemporary intermedial theatre. Diss. Lund : Lunds universitet, Lund
  • Saunders, D. (2011). Arrival city. London: Windmill

Sketch over city street in watercolor
Cecilia Fredriksson

Cecilia Fredriksson, Lund University

Department of Service Studies

How does your practice relate to placemaking?

For me as an ethnologist, the ethnographic approach is an im­portant part of the understanding of placemaking practices. I am interested in the ongoing aestheticization of cities and urban environments, and how the urban culture is shaped based on artistic ambitions. I am also interested in the ongoing dialogue about who is responsible for developing the urban space and how a “living city” should be designed. There is a strong belief in the power and potential of culture and creativity in terms of making a place visible. These ambitions are often shaped in the form of various projects and events linked to specific values. Along with visions of a living city, follow visions of what kind of attractions and what kind of environments and atmosphere such a city needs.

How is it possible to use sense of place as material and starting point for research and/or artistic work?

By composing and using drawings and paintings in my fieldworks I have become more aware of what matters and the importance of thinking along the lines as creative method and as tool for interpreta­tion. Sketching and drawing can be compared to written ethnographic notes made during fieldwork or observation. The relationship between drawing and taking notes can be regarded as a dialogue, an ongoing conversation in which getting close to the place is more important than the competence to draw. The sketchbook functions as a memory object for the ethnographic experi­ence. It creates connections between words and images and, as Micheal Taussig puts it, new connections between inner and outer worlds. 

What methods do you use for co-creation and relationship building in relation to place?

A recent example from my ongoing practice is the use of a contemporary phenomenon, urban sketching, as an empirical starting point to develop visual methods and perspectives in the borderland between cultural analysis and artistic research. Through active participation as an urban sketcher, I try to analyse my analytical process and artistic practice. Based on the connection between urban ideals and innovative, creative environments in a local context, I try to get close to a sense of place by drawing and painting myself into an area of urban ambience. 

Sketch over city street in watercolor
Cecilia Fredriksson

Dennis Kerkhof, Helsingborg Stad

How does your practice relate to placemaking? 

Our practice in Gåsebäck doesn’t relate to placemaking in the more traditional sense, we are more in the stage of placebranding where we are deciding what the people residing in our area want and expect. We are gathering forces, starting up dialogues and finding people that take an active interest in the area. At the same time we are not only focusing on public spaces. In Gåsebäck we have the unique opportunity to use buildings as a part of our placemaking/placebranding. Some of the people we took in as tennants have been involved in our placebranding. 

How is it possible to use sense of place as material and starting point for research and/or artistic work? 

In Gåsebäck I think the sense of place is much more connected to the people in the area than the actual physical area and/or the buildings itself. We are using that as a base in our city development project (focus on people and community in stead of buildings) so it seems like a good starting point for research and artistic work as well. 

What methods do you use for co-creation and relationship building in relation to place? 

Our approach is based on being a facilitator in our area. Which is based on the realisation that our organisation (the city of Helsingborg) has its limits. We, as a whole, cannot really comprehend or create the kind of environment that the current inhabitants want us to create. We are making ourselves dependant on the energy and creativity of the people that want to work and live in Gåsebäck and work to support them in creating it for themselves. We do this by trying to be the connector between Gåsebäck (unstructured, wild, full of energy) and the City organisation (structured, governed by rules, bureaucratic) in any way shape and form we think is needed. 
 


Image of lake taken above
Sandra Kopljar, Vipeholm neighborhood building site

Sandra Kopljar, Lund University

How does your practice relate to placemaking? 

My main interest in relation to placemaking is to interrogate how place can be seen as a simultaneously local and globally influenced experience steered by carried biographies and knowledge. I see “places” as essentially unstable and sprawling ideas that resist a uniform definition. 

How is it possible to use sense of place as material and starting point for research and/or artistic work? 

I have worked with practical interventions, and theoretical and artistic speculations of alternative futures. This has been done in order to give several interpretations, and many implications of place, in relation to what is often taken for granted through collective and individual expectations of certain futures. 

What methods do you use for co-creation and relationship building in relation to place? 

In order to interrogate taken for granted paths of for example urban development or regulations, artistic methods that include sensory experiences and immediate affects have a potential to introduce an understanding of alternative scenarios and places.
 


People creating art together
Photo: Liga Lagzdina

Liga Lagzdina, Se Din Konst

How does your practice relate to placemaking? 

I work at a culture association with a plan to create a children’s art gallery. In this context, my practice relates to placemaking by creating a space that is specifically tailored to give space for children and young people’s unique artistic expression. The gallery will also be a place for them to experience and be inspired by the art of other artists in specifically curated exhibitions. By designing the gallery with their perspectives in mind, it becomes a place where they feel welcome, empowered, and inspired to explore their creativity.

How is it possible to use sense of place as material and starting point for research and/or artistic work? 

The place as a starting point for research and artistic work for us means engaging with the local physical environment and the community. This could include incorporating elements of the surrounding area and the history of the building into the exhibitions, collaborating with local artists and organisations. The children and young people could be invited to explore and engage with the gallery and the place in their creative process. 

What methods do you use for co-creation and relationship building in relation to place? 

For co-creation and relationship building in relation to the children and young people’s art gallery, we work with various groups who visit the space and participate in creative brainstorming workshops. We plan to involve children and young people in the planning and design process of the gallery together with city planners and architects. We also host community events and workshops in cooperation with partnerships with schools, youth centers, and cultural institutions to gather input and feedback. https://sedinkonst.se/ 
 


Marthe Nehl, Lund University 

How does your practice relate to placemaking?

As a social scientist with an affinity to cultural geography, I understand space and place(making) as an important dimension in how I make sense of what I study. Here I would pay special attention to expressions in the form of stickers, posters, tags, or graffiti to sense dynamics not always tangible in the first place. I would also look at how spaces are used, who is present and who is not, and see whether interesting questions come up.

How is it possible to use sense of place as material and starting point for research and/or artistic work?

I am viewing the social and spatial as entangled to some extent and I prefer to do research on site. During 2020 and 2021, I tested walking interviews in which the space we walked through could spark conversations and add another valuable layer of information to the conversations. 

What methods do you use for co-creation and relationship building in relation to place?

If I understand interviews as co-created data, I would say that the joint experience of walking a neighborhood, of dealing with noises, smells, and the weather, like rain, or wind, is something I share with interviewees and that is usually something connecting. Once we needed to share an umbrella and another time, we talked about memories of how an area has changed in the past years. I guess walking together, even though the space was not always of immediate concern for the research, has been a connecting experience and I would do it again, independent of a pandemic forcing me to, or not.


Michael Nilsson, Manifesto

How does your practice relate to placemaking? 

I started Manifesto in 1995 and have been working with place development for almost twenty years now. In 2006 and 2010, I participated in two projects for Copenhagen Malmö Port. Together with SAMARK architects, I worked on visions for the development of the ports in Malmö and Copenhagen. In 2009, I participated in an international design workshop in Malmberget, where I collaborated with 35 architects and designers from around the world to develop various strategies to move a city. In 2011, I collaborated with Metro architects on a vision for the area around Mieån in central Karlshamn. When I work with architects, I represent vox populi. Since then, I have developed strategies for different places around Sweden: Alvesta, Hudiksvall, and Kristinehamn, to name but a few. My strategy för Söderhamn led to the municipality's first positive population net growth in 21 years. (And loads of more work.)

How is it possible to use sense of place as material and starting point for research and/or artistic work? 

My own starting point is always the sense of place. Nota bene, it is not primarily my own sense of a place that I start from, but that of the residents. Almost everyone has a latent desire to like the place they live or work in. I activate this latent pride through social inclusion and various forms of involvement. When I was invited to participate in Denmark's national branding process, I realized how differently involvement is perceived in Denmark and Sweden. Among other objectives, Branding Danmark set out to create 5.5 million ambassadors.

What methods do you use for co-creation and relationship building in relation to place? 

In Söderhamn, I focused on involving the young residents, who are avid users of social media. (2010, I had just published the printed version of my first book on social media.) I held a workshop with children, talked to young people in the city, and at a cinema. Additionally, I initiated an advertising film competition for the local youth. 13 entries resulted in 11,000 views, which is about the same number as the population of the urban area. Here in Helsingborg, I have led several co-creation projects with support from the Vision Fund in Helsingborg Municipality. I have made films, cooked food, and created a city anthology together with the people of Helsingborg. Hopefully, our next collaboration will be AI.


Maps over 2 cities
Gunnar Sandin

Gunnar Sandin, Lund University 

Department of Architecture and Built Enviroment

How does your practice relate to placemaking? 

My practice spans from academic research activities to free artistic work. 

How is it possible to use sense of place as material and starting point for research and/or artistic work? 

A sense of place can be both the starting- and endpoint in my investigations. 

What methods do you use for co-creation and relationship building in relation to place? 

The methods may include performance, collaborative narration and writing. An example follows below. 

Lund Irbid Parallel Walk

This architectural research project (Marwa al Khalidi and Gunnar Sandin) emanates from a performative dialogic art event, labelled Lund Irbid Parallel Walk connecting two geopolitical regions and cities: Lund in Sweden, and Irbid in Jordan. The geopolitical belongings of Lund and Irbid, representing a division between a global North and South, show interesting local complexities as regards ways of handling housing for newcomers, especially refugees, linked to the history of the two cities, and their neighboring relations on minor and major scales. In this project we point to the mechanisms of integration in the two cities, as regards how local border-formation appears in architectural and urban transformation. 

A multi-agentic performative search for urban stories

On 12th September, 2020, Gunnar Sandin and Marwa al Khalidi staged a synchronized walking and talking act, by inviting one friend each to participate in a dialogic event using a real-time video broadcast application (Zoom), connecting in real time Lund in the North of Europe (Sweden), with Irbid in the Middle East (Jordan). The walking act was announced at AURA art gallery in Lund as a performative connection of two geopolitical spheres.1 The spots in each city chosen for the routes had been discussed by the performers beforehand. Certain key places, such as official governmental buildings, city kernels, and nearby places of varying social function, were chosen as informing the broadcasted dialogue. The two persons in Lund and the two in Irbid walked and talked for an hour in a convivial manner telling each other (and an on-line audience of approximately 20 persons) what they encountered along two routes. This temporal, verbal and peripatetic communication between four persons created a common narrative which pointed out urban and architectural relationships between the two cities, as well as bordering principles in each city, and as a result this walking act came to drive our attention towards the general social contrasts in the two cities. Ultimately, in a follow-up text, Al Khalidi and Sandin (2023) pointed out areas beyond the immediate routes taken, that completed the urban narrative including pointing out the local policies and architecture of the housing where newcomers settle.2 

Buildings
Gunnar Sandin
References

1 AURA Krognoshuset, ‘Lund-Irbid walk talk’, 2020, https://www.krognoshuset.se/aura/program/ Performed by Marwa al Khalidi, Gunnar Sandin, Aya Musmar and Kajsa Lawaczeck Körner. 

2 Marwa Al Khalidi & Gunnar Sandin, 2023, Bordering Principles and Integration in Urban Context, in field: a free journal for architecture, Vol. 9 Issue 1, ‘Across Borders: Questions, Practices, Performances', Published by The University of Sheffield School of Architecture. 


Burak Sayin, Lund University

How does your practice relate to placemaking?

I am supporting people who would like to start a cultural or creative place by facilitating complex project management processes or connecting them to their peers across the globe. I am also researching placemaking for developing better city development policies in post-industrial settings.  We can develop better policies by exploring the motivations and emotions that emerge between place (i.e. urban built-in environment) and people (i.e. passion for creation) in post-industrial settings. Culture and creativity are the basis for the organic, fair-trade and ecological social fabric. With a little play, fun, and team activities, magic can happen in any neighbourhood. 


Still from the audiovisual installation 'The Mundania Chamber'
Robert Willim, Still from the audiovisual installation 'The Mundania Chamber' (2024)

Robert Willim, Lund University

Dept. Of Arts and Cultural Sciences

How does your practice relate to placemaking?

In my practices as a researcher within digital cultures and cultural analysis as well as an artist, I have approached placemaking through various engagements with site-specificity. I developed the concept Industrial Cool to explore how former industrial areas have been aestheticized. I have made several digital artworks that explore the site-specific and imaginaries about places. Recently, I have developed the concept Mundania to explore the interplay between new technologies and everyday life, between media and imaginaries. In this work, questions about place and what is present and absent in different contexts is crucial. 

How is it possible to use sense of place as material and starting point for research and/or artistic work?

Sense of place entwines the site-specific with the imaginary and the affective. Through this entwinement there is huge potential for both art and research. This is something I have explored in several of my works, such as ”Possible Worlds”, ”In Praise of Other Places”, ”Selkonen”, ”Almost There” etc. Through the links below, you will find more info about these works.  

What methods do you use for co-creation and relationship building in relation to place?

I use a method called probing to engage people in different contexts. Probing is a way to take concepts (such as Industrial Cool or Mundania) as point of departure in iterative processes of art, research, and collaboration.  

References

A site that describes the Mundania-concept. It circulates around the book ”Mundania - How and Where Technologies are Made Ordinary” 2024). See the following link.

Art piece
Robert Willim, NON-LOCATION SEL001 From the series Selkonen (2017)

Sima Wolgast, Lund University

How does your practice relate to placemaking?

My artistic practice intertwines with the concept of placemaking by delving into the dynamic landscapes of diaspora. Through photography and text, I aim to capture the deep connections between people, memories, and experiences that transcend geographical and cultural boundaries. By focusing on the experiences of the Iranian diaspora in Sweden, I'm not just documenting physical spaces but also the emotional and psychological landscapes that individuals inhabit within those spaces. The combination of imagery, film and narrative serves to construct a sense of place that is rich with personal and collective stories, contributing to the cultural fabric of the community. 

How is it possible to use a sense of place as material and a starting point for research and/or artistic work?

A sense of place serves as both material and inspiration for my artistic exploration. I seek to reflect on the essence of diaspora and human experience within specific geographical contexts. By a combination of photography, film and text, I aim to amplify and reinterpret these experiences, using intermediality as a tool to deepen our understanding of identity and belonging in a globalized world. Through the synthesis of human expression and intermedality, I transform the sense of place into a dynamic canvas for exploration and reflection. 

What methods do you use for co-creation and relationship building in relation to place?

In my artistic process, co-creation and relationship-building are essential components. I engage with individuals within the Iranian diaspora community in Sweden, listening to their stories, memories, and lived experiences. Through conversations and reflections, I collaboratively shape the narrative that accompanies my photographs, allowing for a multiplicity of voices to emerge. Additionally, I further expand the dialogue by analyzing and transforming these conversations into visual representations that complement the imagery. This collaborative approach not only fosters a deeper connection with the community but also invites viewers to engage with the artwork on a personal and empathetic level, fostering a sense of shared understanding and solidarity. 


Women in jacket infront of wooden panel with the text Hunger

Save-the-Date for CROCUS activities 2024

  • 11-12 April, Research seminar series on the theme Sound, IAC, Malmö
  • 15 April at 15:15-17:00, Book talk with Katja Lindqvist (Department of Service Studies, Lund University), Lizette Gradén and Thomas O'dell (both from Division of Ethnology, Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences, Lund University), Lund (location to be announced shortly), and Erika Andersson Cederholm (Department of Service Studies, Lunds University) and moderator Chris Mathieu (Department of Sociology, Lund University). Venue: LUX, Helgonavägen 3, 223 62, Lund, Room: LUX:B352
  • 12-14 June, CROCUS conference BEYOND SITE/SIGHT, Brandstationen, Helsingborg, see the conference page for more information. The register is open, see the following link. Please note that seats will be limited.
  • Research seminar on the series theme Materiality, IAC, Malmö (moved to autumn, date TBA)

For more information about each event, see the page News from CROCUS

Welcome!