Conference: Public Art in the Nordic Countries

20 February - 21 February - 23:59 Open arrangement

Welcome to a conference that sets out to shed light upon differences and similarities in Nordic public art today. Topics to discuss include the role of government funded as well as self-initiated art.

When: 20–21 February 2020
Where: Södertörns högskola
Language: English
Registration: email to

The Nordic countries share common grounds when it comes to the role of public space and public art. Over the years, we have also witnessed many attempts to identify a particular “Nordic” art. However, following upon the last decades of deregulation and globalization, the Nordic countries have partly developed along different paths. How has this affected public art?  This conference sets out to shed light upon differences and similarities in Nordic public art today. Topics to discuss include the role of government funded as well as self-initiated art. Do we still need “Public” public art?

The conference is organized in two roundtables and two keynotes. Architect, artist and educator Sandi Hilal will share her experiences with working with the public art project The Living Room in the city of Boden, to the north of Sweden. Jeroen Boomgaard, Program Manager ARIAS, Lector Art&Public Space, Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam will talk about public art in the Netherlands after the closure of the national public art agency SKOR in 2013.

The roundtables revolve around two themes.
Roundtable one: Public art and public art management
What is the situation in your country? What kind of art gets public funding and how is it distributed? What changes, if any, lie ahead? What changes, if any, should lie ahead? Should the state finance any kind of art? What is the role of art in the public realm? Do we need it?

Roundtable two: Public art and the public
What possibilities are there for the public to have influence on what art is commissioned? Is citizen influence always good? Is there a scene of self-organized art in the public sphere? What possibilities are there for public art to reinforce the notion of the public sphere (as a space for differences and agonism)?What methods do you use to engage the public in public art projects?

Peter Bengtsen, Ph.D, Department of Art History, Lunds universitet, Sweden
Arild Berg, Doctor of Arts, Faculty of Technology, Art and Design, OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University
Jeroen Boomgaard, Program Manager ARIAS, Lector Art & Public Space, Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam
Catarina Gabrielsson, Docent & Associate Professor, School of Architecture KTH, Sweden
Sandi Hilal, Architect, Artist and Educator, Sweden
Trude Schjelderup Iversen, Senior Curator, KORO Public Art Norway
Timo Jokela Dean, Professor of Art Education, University of Lapland, Finland
Emilie Karlsmo, Ph.D, Lectuer, Konstvetenskapliga institutionen, Uppsala universitet, Sweden
Jacob Kimvall, Ph.D, Department of Culture and Aesthetics, Stockholm University, Sweden
Lotte Sophie Lederballe Pedersen, Specialkonsulent, Ph.D. Center for Kunst og Biblioteker,
Billedkunst, Statens Kunstfund, Denmark
Kristine Samson, Urbanist and Associate Professor at Performance Design, Department of Communication and Arts, Roskilde University, Denmark
Æsa Sigurjónsdóttir, Dósent í listfræði, Associate Professor in Art Theory, Íslensku- og menningardeild/Faculty of Icelandic and Comparative Cultural Studies, Háskóla Íslands / University of Iceland
Jessica Sjöholm Skrubbe, PhD, Associate Professor in Art History Department of Culture and Aesthetics Stockholm University, Sweden

Organised by Public Art Agency Sweden and Södertörn University, the conference is a public programme in a collaboration entitled Renegotiations: The Role of Public Art after the Turn of the Millennium (2019–2020), which forms part of the government commission Knowledge Hub Public Art and will result in symposia and seminars, as well as scholarly articles published by Södertörn University Press.