Right to the city

November 2017

Event: Lynforedrag – Retten til byen, series of talks on rights to the city. Organised by Spire, Norwegian youth environmental organisation
Date:  23 November 2017
Time:  18:00 to 20:00
Location: Dattera til Hagen, 2nd floor (Oslo, Norway)
Audience: Open to the public

I will be giving a short talk based on my doctoral research about the aesthetics of zero tolerance for Spire’s event on rights to the city. Rather than give a lecture, I have been asked to submit a series of 15 images (and no text) that will change automatically every 25 seconds. In other words, I will be presenting four years of research compressed into 6.25 minutes and 15 images. I will be presenting in the very inspiring company of researchers and activists whose work touches on the right to the city. These include:

Erling Okkenhaug – Stedsaktivist og “sørlandsrefseren”
Wid Al-Saedy – Tøyen Unlimited, WIDE INK
Fredrik Holth – Fakultet for landskap og samfunn, Institutt for eiendom og juss, NMBU
Beata Sirowy, Forsker, NMBU. Jobber med prosjektet: Cultivaiting public spaces

Waffles will be served.


Nuart Plus 2017

August 2017

Event: Nuart Plus, academic conference running parallel to the Nuart Festival
 31 August — 3 September 2017
Time:  Refer to full programme on the Nuart Plus website
Location: Tou Scene (Stavanger, Norway)
Audience: Open to the public

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I am honoured to have once again been invited to speak at Nuart Plus, the academic component of Stavanger’s annual Nuart Festival. The festival’s theme is ‘Rise Up’ with art and presentations touching upon dimensions of power. This year, I return to a series of photographs that I took on psychogeographic walks in Montréal during Québec’s student uprising in 2012. With reference to these images, I explore how citizens made use of graffiti and street art — with frequent use of the little red square, symbol of the student movement — to further their political cause. Their actions, which included 100 days of consecutive protest, culminated in the calling of a provincial election, a resulting shift in political power, and a halt to the proposed tuition hikes that spurred the uprising.


I will also chair a roundtable discussion on street art and the paradox of muralism. Together with invited artists, cultural leaders, and other stakeholders,  we will discuss the growing presence of murals in the context of street art. Are they one and the same? Do they inspire agency in commensurate ways? The roundtable discussions bring together some of the diverse attendees at the festival and encourages constructive debate around important topics relating to art in urban space.  Discussions will later be made public.

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Nuart Plus 2016

September 2016

Event: Nuart Plus, academic conference running parallel to the Nuart Festival
 8 — 11 September 2016
Time:  Refer to programme below or to Nuart Plus website.
Location: Tou Scene (Stavanger, Norway)
Audience: Open to the public.

Organised by founder and curator Martyn Reed, general manager James Finucane, and Nuart Plus leader Eirik Sjåholm Knudsen of the Norwegian School of Economics, Nuart Plus is the academic component to Nuart Festival. It brings together artists, scholars, writers and journalists, and others together to speak and to engage in critical debates around art, the city, and public space. This year, I have been fortunate enough to be involved in both speaking at and organising at Nuart Plus. I will give a talk on women’s rights to the city, sit on a panel debate chaired by keynote speaker David Pinder. I will also help to coordinate and host a series of closed round table discussions which will bring together some of the diverse international participants with local stakeholders to discuss relationships between public art and geography, education, conservation, and tourism.

The fence furthest north: Poetry reading and book launch by Tim Cresswell

October 2015

Event: Poetry reading and book launch by Tim Cresswell, with introduction by political geographer Berit Kristoffersen
14 October 2015
Time:  18:00 — 20:00
Location: Literaturhuset, Amalie Skram rom
Audience: Open to the public.

One of the most inspiring sessions I attended at the Nordic Geographers Meeting in Estonia this past summer was a poetry reading. In the surreal space of a classroom at the University of Tartu with peeling paint and faded taxonomic diagrams in the outside corridor, Tim Cresswell evoked with equal beauty and strangeness the landscape of Svalbard.What an honour it is now, only a few months later, to be arranging the poetry book launch for his newest sequence ‘Fence’ here in Oslo.

Tim Cresswell will read from his new book of poetry Fence, exploring the islands of Svalbard and the fence furthest north. Robert Macfarlane, author of Landmarks and The Old Ways offers the following praise: “I read Fence with a growing sense of fascination and disorientation. It is a strange and spectral volume, zigzag and jigsaw in its textures, strabismic in the sense of eerie slant that it gives to both landscape and language, born as it is of a fence that separates nowhere from the now and here, deep in the high Arctic. Moving through its poems, one experiences something of the doubling dissimulation of northern light: a fierce clarity of vision, combined with an awareness of things being uncannily off-scale and out of kilter.”

Tim Cresswell is Professor of History and International Affairs and Associate Director for Public Humanities at the Humanities Center at Northeastern University in Boston. His research interests center on the role of geographical ways of thinking in the constitution of social and cultural life both historically and in the present day western world. He is the author of five books including, most recently Place: An Introduction (Blackwell, 2014), Cresswell is also a poet and he explores similar themes in his debut collection Soil (Penned in the Margins, 2013) and his new poetry sequence Fence (Penned in the Margins 2015). He is currently working on a monograph about the idea of place based on the history of the Maxwell Street Market, Chicago and an account of the importance of place in the writings of six contemporary poets. Cresswell is a managing editor of the journal cultural geographies and the new journal GeoHumanities.

Political geographer Berit Kristoffersen will introduce Tim Cresswell, offering complementary insight into the changing environment of the Arctic.  Berit Kristoffersen is a post-doctoral researcher on the HERA-funded project Arctic Encounters. She is currently based in the Department of Sociology, Political Science and Community Planning at UiT The Arctic University of Norway. With an interest in how presents and futures are negotiated in the Arctic, Berit conducts research on how politics turns into geopolitics, how climate change is reframed as opportunistic business opportunities and how people in the North tie their identities and knowledges to the sustainability of their futures.

Just like honey: Seminar with Oslo Apiary

October 2015

Event: Seminar on ‘Art and Environment’ with guests Oslo Apiary
Date: 13 October 2015
Time: 14:15 — 16:00
Location: Department of Sociology and Human Geography, HH Seminarrom 301
Audience: Students of the graduate level course Global Environmental Change. Additional guests welcome upon request.

For those of you who know me well, you know that I have been talking about bees and honey incessantly the past couple of months. My apologies for that, by the way. This is due to my serendipitous encounter with two wonderful artists and cultural entrepeneurs: Marius Presterud and Mikkel Dagestad. Otherwise known as Oslo Apiary, their provoking work is inspired by the Situationists and brings to fore the place of nature and culture in urban space.

Oslo Apiary will join the  seminar I am giving this semester on art and environment in the course Global Environmental Change. Over fresh sourdough bread made by the lovely Milda Jonusaite Nordbø, we will sample raw honey from Oslo Apiary’s urban hives and discuss links between art, environment, nature and culture. I will give an introduction to the very diverse field of environmental art. Marius Presterud will speak about the history and practices of Oslo Apiary and their artistic interventions in the city of Oslo.

Above photograph by Torstein Throndsen, taken at a seminar in Global Environmental Change at the University of Oslo (2015).