Can Art Save the World?

Can Art Save the World is a seminar serie conducted in different ways by people from our research. Arranged by Stockholm University of the Arts and Forum/Debatt, Kulturhuset Stadsteatern.

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Can art save the world is now Art talks. Visit Art talks.

Past seminars

Artists who has raised their voices to be heard

8 April at 17:30–19:00, Kulturhuset Stadsteatern.

We have a government that describes itself as the world's first feminist government. And a party leader for an opposition party who wants to phrase a new kind of feminism – away from what she calls ”period art”.

What does feminist art-making mean in a time when a numerous bunch of people describe themselves as feminists, but relates to the concept in various ways?
What feminist-questions does our invited artists have at the moment, and how has these questions changed over time?
How do they shape these questions – and in which forums?
What are the hopes for our next-generation artists?

Mia Engberg, director and doctoral candidate
BamBam Frost, choreographer and dancer
Margareta Garpe, director
Bianca Kronlöf, actress, screenwriter and comedian
Moderators: Johanna Garpe and Cecilia Roos professors at Stockholm University of the Arts

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Can art save the world – is activism the answer?

18 February at 17:30–19:00, Kulturhuset Stadsteatern.

What triggers artists to opt out of a comfortable existence and take personal risks intended to reduce the gap between the prevailing reality and a dream of a better world?
Lusine Djanyan and Aleksej Knedljakovsky, members of Pussy Riot
Adam Kraft, no title
Touka Voudoo, tattoo artist and body activist
Moderators: Johanna Garpe and Erik Gandini, professors at Stockholm University of the Arts

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Can art save the world – can the world destroy art?

12 November, Kulturhuset Stadsteatern.

About bureaucratization, new public management, a thousand new application forms with as many guidelines to relate to – what does it do to art?


Magnus Aspegren, Head of Riksteatern
Anna Serner, Head of Swedish Film Institute
Athena Farrokhzad, poet
Olav Westphalen, artist

Moderators: Johanna Garpe and Erik Gandini, professors at Stockholm University of the arts.

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The end of earth – and the role of art

15 October, Klarascenen at Kulturhuset Stadsteatern

In a time of dramatic climate change and collective denial, the question arises – which responsibilities and opportunities is the for art?

Birgitta Englin: Director, ex Theatre manager and Senior advisor, Global utmaning
John Swedenmark: Author and Editor
Sverker Sörlin, Author, Historian and Professor in Environmental history
Fredrik Wenzel: Director and Cinematographer
Moderators: Erik Gandini och Johanna Garpe, Professors at Stockholm University of the arts

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Welcome to University of the Arts 2028

7 May, 2018

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Pluralist Populist Poetics

5 March, 2018

During the seminar we will address how issues of language drift, identity, the role of technology and the attention economy connects in contributing to post-truth tribalism, and how art and culture can produce ways of re-thinking pluralism, not only in terms of identities but in terms of plural ways of thinking and sense-making.

Participants: Eleanor Bauer, Doctoral Candidate in Choreography

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Can the World save Art?

December, 2017

Dialogue between writer and Associate Professor of circus John-Paul Zaccarini and Pernilla Glaser writer, teacher in critical thinking and language-making at University of Arts Craft and Design and Creative Research Force at research-institute Rise Interactive.

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Queerly Re-imaging Ballet

October, 2017

During this Can Art Save the World?-seminar,  New York City based educator, choreographer and dancer Katy Pyle will discuss the dance company and class she directs, Ballez.  Ballez is inserting the history, experiences and performances of lesbian, transgender and queer people into the Ballet world through the creation of queerly re-imagined story-ballets, classes, and ballet culture.

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Curatorial Practice and Diversity

September, 2017

In this "Can Art Save the World?" Nicky Paraiso, actor, musician, writer, performance artist and curator at La MaMa (in New York City) and another guest (more information coming soon) will discuss the ethics, politics, influences and inspirations behind their artistic and curatorial practices. The conversation will address how a personal artistic practice influences the art and act of curation, as well as individual ways of addressing diversity while working within larger institutions.

Moderator: Juliette Mapp, Professor of the Profile Area Concept and Composition at Stockholm University of the Arts

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Materiality and resistance

May, 2017

Art can be viewed as a kind of "resistance" by it´s sheer presence without offering any direct critique of the culture in which it is embedded. What are the means-by-which that resistance manifests? Is it through the urgency of art as action?  Is it through artistic processes and materials that resistance is activated and/or is "resistance" beyond the artist, her materials, beyond the art itself?  How do we understand and experience "Art" as a form of resistance and how can we articulate how it functions as such?

Participants: Mia Engberg, Mara Lee, Per Platou and Jenny Sunesson
Moderator: Ellen Røed, professor within the Profile area Art, Technology, Materiality.

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Art in an Age of Anger and Appropriation

April, 2017

In this era of rising inequality, far-right ethnic nationalism, and xenophobia is it ethical, or even possible, for artists to express themselves by imagining experiences they have not had? How can an audience receive and respond to work that is fueled by anger? How do we create artistic meaning within a cultural and political climate where some artists have enjoyed freedom, stability, and support while others have not?

At a moment when artists must reckon with their responsibilities, both to their own identities and to a broader global culture, is it possible to make work that can both provoke and help pave a way forward?

Rebecca Hilton, Professor in the Profile area Site, Event, Encounter at Stockholm University of the Arts (tonight substitute for Juliette Mapp, Professor in the Profile area Concept and Composition).
Miguel Gutierrez, someone who makes performances, dances, music and poetry.
Stacey Sacks PhD Candidate in Performing Arts at Stockholm University of the Arts.

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Art and science in the post-truth world

March, 2017

Our time is being defined as the post-truth era because emotions and personal ideas influence public opinion more than objective facts and truth.

What are the consequences for art and for artists? Are we seeing the beginning of a new golden age or a reason for questioning our methods. And what does post-truth imply for science? Fake news, alternative facts and growing multitude of echo-chambers shape an image of us viewers as increasingly non-rational creatures. Especially at risk is the issue of climate change that faces an urgent need of a new and globally compelling narrative.

America Vera-Zavala, playwrite, activist and author
Diego Galafassi, Doctoral Student at Stockholm Resilience Center, Stockholm University, with a focus on climate, culture and tranformation
Jesper Kurlandsky, film director/producer for the film poem Aeterna
Moderator: Erik Gandini, Professor in documentary film

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Fiction, reality and autenticity

February, 2017

The border between ficition and reality is dissolving both in artistic expressions and in politics and media. Populism erodes the public discussions, reality entertainment puts questions about autenticity to the test, artistic expressions is seeking legitimacy through the mantra "based on a true story". During the seminar we will discuss what autenticity is in artistic expressions and wonder if such autenticity is desirable.

Bengt Kristensson Uggla, Professor in Philosophy, Culture and Business management at Åbo Academy, Finland.
Åsa Linderborg, writer and Head of culture at Aftonbladet
Anna Pettersson, director, actor and Doctoral Candidate at Stockholm University of the Arts.
Niklas Rådström, Professor of Narrative in Performing Arts, Film and Media.

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