6.Make Room and Take Space: Art as a Space for Political Change
Saadia Hussain, artist, art activist, and art teacher at Multicultural Center
Saadia Hussain works as an artist, art educator, and art activist and has her base in Stockholm. Through her work she wants to create and share tools of creativity and outreach. The creative process has been a vital tool in her own life—to explore, question, create, and share. Being born in Pakistan and raised in Sweden, Hussain carries duality within her, of her homeland and her motherland. Her topics revolve around home and identity, losing and finding, and longing for belonging.
7. Stand up and Criticize the Power: Be the Ones that Create Opinion and Change
MKC is a multidisciplinary research environment. The research is based on issues related to international migration, ethnic and transnational relations, and intercultural issues. The profile is cross-disciplinary and the methods are both qualitative and quantitative. Studies are conducted in three areas of knowledge: critical cultural heritage studies, urban living conditions and race, and discrimination and Swedishness.
Researchers often work closely with people and businesses in the field. Our goal is to provide new angles and perspectives, and create a basis for nuanced discussions, which we do by offering training and skills development for organizations, authorities, and civil society, for example.
8. Join, Participate, and Engage: Create New Networks and Invite Others to Join
MKC and the cultural project Noncitizen started a collaboration in 2020, which has resulted in a group exhibition and a scholarship. With this scholarship, we have chosen to support Dennis Harvey and his documentary project about contemporary movement policy, which takes place in six different countries and charts five years.
Under the leadership of the collaboration’s leaders, Harvey and Salad Hilowle, 14 artists with experience of migration have had the opportunity to develop their creations. During the project, professional photographers, artists, and filmmakers have supervised the participants.
Noncitizen, which started in 2015, is a nomadic film and cultural project. The aim is to highlight the issues of oppression in our time, borders, freedom of movement, and people’s human rights. Noncitizen organizes film screenings, seminars, meetings, and discussions. Noncitizen believes in the potential for documentary films to be the starting point for dialogues about issues that are bigger than the individual stories they portray. Noncitizen opposes all sorts of repressive or restraining boundaries: between citizens and non-citizens, rights holders and rights deprived, and between nations, cultures, religions, gender identities, and sexualities. This is done by actively working to create forums for encounters and , and by highlighting relevant films, images, and texts.
Noncitizen Archive is a nonprofit digital archive for storing images of migrant experiences. It is an independent platform for the secure digital storage of personal and observational footage. Noncitizen believes that videos, photos, and audio material captured by migrants and people living in “noncitizenship” are crucial documents of our time. Through Noncitizen Archive, the aim is to save this material for the future, whether it’s for personal use or for research-based or cultural projects.
9. Changing the Master Narrative: Make Room for the Untold Stories
In September 2022, we will launch the exhibition We are Neighbors, About Genocide and Crimes against Humanity. The exhibition will highlight personal stories from Botkyrka residents, among others, and is part of a broader project by Botkyrka’s municipality, which also includes program items and a themed conference in the spring of 2022.
Migration and flight due to genocide and crimes against humanity are both a local, national, and international issue. Many Swedes live with these experiences, and carry inherited traumas from previous generations. Many people have a great need to remember together events that they themselves have experienced or inherited, even if these events took place outside of Sweden. Therefore, we are now collecting personal stories about genocide and crimes against humanity, and hope that many of those who share these are also interested in letting parts of the stories find a place in our upcoming exhibition. With the exhibition, we want to increase the mutual understandings of others’ experiences of genocide and crimes against humanity, and also share knowledge about the mechanisms that can lead to these types of crimes. By highlighting personal stories and testimonies, we shed light onto the ways that crimes against humanity have a lasting impact on contemporary migration in general and specific kinds of migration in today’s local communities.
10. Educate Others: Especially the Ones with the Power to Change
For us, education is about creating processes where learning becomes critical, reflexive, and pleasurable. We therefore take our starting point from MKC’s previous and ongoing research as well as norm-critical perspectives. Through creative and interactive workshop methods, together we increase our understanding and broaden our perspectives. Through theoretical input and joint reflection, our goal is to create nuanced discussions, twist and turn these concepts, and contribute with useful and proven methods.
What is meant by everyday racism and how is it expressed? What is Swedishness and who can call themselves Swedish? Does segregation mean that people with different ethnic and economic backgrounds meet less and less? We illuminate the norm of whiteness and the social structures, hierarchies of power, and the histories that enable and reproduce these norms. Based on MKC’s research and practice, we discuss what differential thinking looks like in today’s Sweden, and what we can all do to change these patterns and actions to achieve a more inclusive and equal society.