Nasim Aghili and Björn Karlsson, artists:
“Why do we want our own stage?
“In Hässelby-Vällingby, as in many other Million Programme areas, there is no shortage of meeting places designated for artistic interventions in the public space. On the contrary, the Folkhemmet concept offers potential for everything from spontaneous encounters between neighbours to the organisation of residents. The People’s House, libraries and sometimes even a theatre share the square and this close proximity to artistic platforms could raise interest in artistic commitment and a greater sense of belonging. Thus, there are a number of platforms for reflecting the needs of the residents and creating common frameworks and shared lives in shared locations.
“Still, there is a need for a platform of our own. A platform where our creativity is given free reign and our expressions are not reduced to educational presentations of the diversity of the area. A meeting place that doesn’t scare off little sisters, parents, friends or neighbours. An articulated idea that is not based on the comfort zones of whites or their colonial desire in the form of architecture. An act where whiteness is not the point of reference* which is invisible and simultaneously dominant.
“Together we are formulating a performative platform based on the comfort of our bodies, our parents’ right to the public domain and our children’s visionary accounts of the future.
“*In our work, we often start from Sara Ahmed and her phenomenological studies of the whiteness as a point of reference.”
Kamaran Pishtewan, project manager for the Council for United Creoles and participant in Art is Happening:
“A person’s well-being comprises, among other things, education, material living standards, social relations, participation, health, safety and environment. Reducing differences by improving the living conditions for socio-economically vulnerable groups in society is therefore positive for the individual and for society as a whole. Thus, from a social investment perspective, there are good grounds for distributing societal resources in a way that counterbalances differences in living conditions in order to promote wellbeing and health.
“Socially excluded children have inferior opportunities to reach their full potential. According to the report The Stockholm of Differences (Executive Office, the City of Stockholm) and the Child Poverty Report (Save the Children), Hässelby-Vällingby is one of the districts in which child poverty has increased most. The median income in the Hässelby-Vällingby district is 60% lower than the average in Stockholm. In parts of the district 73% of students have upper secondary school competence compared with 89.8% in Stockholm.
“Children and young adults’ possibility to participate in social and cultural contexts is important for their personal and social development. Extracurricular activities can have a positive impact on crime, drug abuse, truancy and mental health.
“Hässelby gård is assessed to have the potential to develop into a more vibrant urban environment by creating attractive public spaces. By engaging young people, the urban environment can be developed through scheduled, adult-led recreational activities that can contribute to young people’s ability to create social networks and personal development.
“It is a question of creating a safe space that can be used for multiple purposes. With support and an organic structure, the vibrant venue shall be a point of departure for the production of art. It’s about creating a platform where users can achieve their full potential by inspiring true action and true enjoyment. We want to create vibrant venues to counter social and spatial segregation. It’s a question of user-driven innovation.”