The PARSE Dialogues are public research seminars where questions and topics from the thematic research arcs are presented and discussed in an exploratory manner.

Upcoming dialogues:


Elyas Alavi, I wish borders could become drunk, 2018, performance art during Next Wave Festival, Melbourne, (photo credit: Snehargho Ghosh).

Elyas Alavi, I wish borders could become drunk, 2018, performance art during Next Wave Festival, Melbourne, (photo credit: Snehargho Ghosh).

TIME: October 19th, AT 15.00-18.30
PLACE: Glashuset, Valand Academy, Gothenburg

Welcome to this PARSE Dialogue on Art and Migration.

Art and Migration

The dialogues inquire into the embodied, affective, performative, material, visual, and spatial politics of cross-border human mobilities, through arts/design as well as other disciplines and practices. It concerns all the actors involved in these mobilities: the remarkable proliferation over recent years of heterogeneous human migration formations, including labour migrants and people seeking asylum, the border enforcement infrastructures that arise in response to these mobilities, as well as how these infrastructures incorporate market-based/migration industry actors.

The dialogues will interrogate these complex alliances, antagonisms, and complicities, analysing or interpreting conditions where (nation-)states’ official infrastructures for border control coexist with migration industry infrastructures for border-crossing and market-based enterprises for border enforcement. These include border control through proliferating physical barricades, militarised policing, multilateral border cooperation, detention camps, deportation dragnets, and new strategies of surveillance; both formal and informal migration industry infrastructures (e.g. the outsourcing of migration visa processing, labour migrant recruitment agencies, remittance services, the rise of transit spaces along migration corridors, forged passport markets, migrant smuggling, amongst others); and private security contractors for offshore detention centres.

Among many other conceivable topics, the dialogues will engage with such questions as:
– How are lived experiences of these complex entanglements understood by differently positioned people as expressed in arts/design, activism, migration studies and other disciplines?

– How do people counteract, subvert, circumvent, resist, take charge of the everyday practices of these entangled bordering infrastructures?

– How can artists, academics, activist networks, and other civil society groups work together to challenge new forms of bordering in ways that are socially and intellectually relevant?

The dialogues are in collaboration with the Centre for Global Migration, and are led by:

Erling Björgvinsson, Professor of Design, HDK/Academy of Design and Crafts, University of Gothenburg.

Nicholas De Genova, Scholar of migration, borders, citizenship, race and labour, Professor and Chair of the Department of Comparative Cultural Studies, University of Houston.

Mahmoud Keshavarz, Design scholar and post-doctoral fellow at the Engaging Vulnerability Research Program, Uppsala University.

Tintin Wulia, Artist and post-doctoral fellow at HDK/Academy of Design and Crafts and School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg.

This Dialogue is part of the arc Art and Migration.



Elyas Alavi

Elyas Alavi is a multi-disciplinary visual artist based in Adelaide, South Australia. He is primarily working in the form of painting, installation, performance art and recently video art. Alavi was born in Daikundi province, Afghanistan, and moved to Iran as a child, following the intensification of war in his homeland and in late 2007 he moved to Australia as refugee at risk.

Elyas Alavi graduated from a Masters by Research (Visual Arts) in 2015 and a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours) in 2012 at the University of South Australia and has exhibited nationally and internationally including Mohsen Gallery (Tehran), UTS Art (Sydney), Jugglers Art Space (Brisbane), IFA Gallery (Kabul), St Heliers Gallery (Melbourne), Nexus Arts, CACSA Project Space and Fontanelle Gallery (Adelaide).

Alavi also is best known as an internationally renowned poet. He published 3 poetry books in Iran and Afghanistan. First poetry book “I’m a daydreamer wolf” published in 2008 in Tehran (5th edition in 2016), followed by “Some wounds” in 2012 in Kabul and “Hodood” in 2015 in Tehran.

Alavi visits many issues in his works, but mainly memory, migration, displacement, exile, gender issues, separation and the human nature. The main part of his work as an artist reflects upon his Hazara background (a marginalised ethnic group originally from Afghanistan) as he uses his particular experiences and contemplations as an epistemological model for the dislocation of peoples. This auto ethnographic approach offers a representative perspective for other displaced people and contributes to a deepening knowledge of the refugee and migration experience.

Alavi regularly runs art and poetry workshops in community centres and schools in Adelaide.For additional information: www.elyasalavi.com

“The Uprooted Tree” : Whether in Afghanistan or elsewhere, the life of an Hazara person is often clouded by a sense of danger and vulnerability. Many have fled Afghanistan or countries such as Iran and Pakistan because of direct punitive discrimination based on their ethnicity and most often, if not from their journey to safety, are themselves suffering from trauma, loss and alienation as a result of such experiences. Which begs the question: beyond the headlines, how is it possible to understand the trials and realities of the refugee experience? As a cross-disciplinary visual artist and poet Elyas Alavi talks about his experiences through personal, playful and mythological lenses. Evoking issues of identity, in-betweenness, memory, migration and displacement, he offers a deeper understanding of his trials as a Hazara refugee, artist and migrant to Australia.

Drawing on the personal and the collective, Alavi explores Hazara experiences of displacement through an autobiographical and visual arts practice focus, involving reflections on exile and memory, on crossing borders, on longing and the desire to return home; on the wounding nature of traumatic memory; on past and present histories of persecution and displacement; and the experience of homecoming, of ‘breaking the exile’.

Nuraini Juliastuti

In 1999, Nuraini Juliastuti co-founded KUNCI Cultural Studies Center, in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. KUNCI is a research collective which focuses on creative experimentation and speculative inquiry between theory and practice. Her education background includes MSc in Contemporary Asian Studies (University of Amsterdam) and PhD in Cultural Anthropology (Leiden University). Nuraini’s research writings have been published widely in Indonesian media and cultural organisation (Tempo, Kompas, The Jakarta Post, Indonesian Visual Art Archive), international art publications (Art Monthly Australia, Metropolis M, Afterall Journal, Discipline), and artists’ book and monograph (Stedelijk Museum and Sternberg Press), and refereed academic journal (Jurnal Perempuan, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies). In collaboration with KUNCI, she has produced a body of research works, which use publication, exhibition and gathering as modes of presentation and engagement. KUNCI developed Made in Commons project, which was presented in Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam (in 2013) and Jogja National Museum (in 2015). In 2015, in collaboration with Para/Site and Indonesian migrant workers in Hong Kong, KUNCI developed Afterwork Reading Club, a reading club dedicated to the literature on modes of gendered migration. The reading club is culminated in the publication of Afterwork Readings, an anthology of short stories and poems written by Indonesian, Filipino, and Chinese workers/migrant workers. In 2017, Kunci developed Tropical Dissonance: Decolonising Knowledge through Colonial Archives and presented it at the Tropenmuseum. KUNCI is working on a long-term project titled School of Improper Education (2016-2019)- a project to experiment with different modes of pedagogy practices, and implement them within contemporary social environment. Currently Nuraini developed her own project titled Domestic Notes. Domestic Notes is a publication-based project uses domestic and migrant spaces as sites to discuss everyday politics, organisation of makeshift support system, and alternative cultural production.

“Afterwork Readings: On Indonesian migrant workers and the act of writing”: My presentation derives from Afterwork Reading Club that Kunci initiated in collaboration with the Indonesian migrant workers in Hong Hong in 2015. The project was part of Para Site’s Hong Kong Migrant Domestic Workers Project. This presentation also derives from my involvement as one of jury members of the annual Taiwan Literature Award for Migrants in 2017. Afterwork Reading Club focuses on migrant workers literature as the important point at the politics of knowledge production within the context of Indonesian labour movement. I divide the presentation into three parts. In part one, I situate writing and reading practices in the everyday life of the migrant workers. Throughout Afterwork Reading Club project, we make a connection between ‘fiction’ as a literary style and representation of subjectivity construction process. In part two, I elaborate further on the performance of the migrant workers’ writings. I situate them within the specific context of writing condition—the kitchen, park, factory, ship, and jail. I map out the discourse on subjectivities showed in the texts. I examine the writing techniques and tools used to write the texts to develop an argument around writing stories. Writing is not only a safe space to convey thoughts and anxieties. To write a story means to reclaim ‘story’ as a site for recognition and self-empowerment. In part three, I examine the Instagram accounts of some Indonesian migrant workers. Using their photo postings as resources, I draw a narrative on experiencing the distance through the perspective of migrant workers.

 Sharam Khosravi

Shahram Khosravi is Professor of Social Anthropology at Stockholm University and the author of the books: Young and Defiant in Tehran, University of Pennsylvania Press (2008); The Illegal Traveler: an auto-ethnography of borders, Palgrave (2010); Precarious Lives: Waiting and Hope in Iran, University of Pennsylvania Press (2017), and After Deportation: Ethnographic Perspectives, Palgrave (2017, edited volume). He has been an active writer in the Swedish press and has also written fiction.

“The time of borders”: Migration and borders are generally perceived and studied as a spatial process and the temporal aspect of migration has received much less attention. In this presentation I will develop an anthropological account of the lived experiences of the temporal aspect of border practices.


Antje Missbach

Antje Missbach is a senior research fellow and lecturer at the School of Social Sciences at Monash University in Melbourne. She is interested in the politics of migration in Indonesia and the wider Asia-Pacific region, particularly transit migration, human smuggling, maritime security, social deviance, and marginalized forms of existence. She is the author of Troubled Transit: Asylum seekers stuck in Indonesia (Singapore: ISEAS, 2015) and co-editor, with Jemma Purdey, of Linking people: Connections and encounters between Australians and Indonesians (Berlin: Regiospectra, 2015). Email: antje.missbach@monash.edu

“RESPITE” : Over the last 8 years, I have been interested in researching the everyday lives scenarios of refugees in Indonesia. So far, I have documented my findings mostly through writing texts for academic and non- or not-quite-so-academic audiences. In early 2018, however, the idea was conceived to make a short documentary about young refugees and their interactions with their Indonesian peers in the city of Makassar (central Indonesia). Filmmaker Andrianus Oetjoe, who had previously produced two short documentaries on refugees in Indonesia (http://amerdhi.mengoceh.de/transit/) and in Germany (https://www.goethe.de/ins/id/en/kul/pkt/ind/aog.html), was easily convinced to take up the task of directing this new film.

While more and more refugees have started to document their lives and the events of the refugee community through video blogs, we were mostly interested in recording the daily interactions between refugees and non-refugees. The reason for this was to “normalize” the portrayal of refugees and avoid depicting them as the “dangerous other”, thereby creating more sympathy amongst young Indonesian people for refugee-related issues (e.g. by showing this film in the classrooms of our respective universities).

When we started filming, however, the situation on the ground in Makassar changed rapidly due to some newly-introduced restrictions affecting refugees’ mobilities and their every-day encounters. Whereas Makassar used to be known for its tolerance and welcoming attitude towards refugees, suddenly local authorities started to introduce curfews and other measures of control. Unsurprisingly, many of the refugees started holding peaceful protests to raise awareness to their worsening situation. Predictably, the repercussions for those who had organized the protests were rather harsh. Thus, we were confronted with the questions on whether to continue with our project the way it had be anticipated it or whether to adopt to the changes and thus include some of those not-so-harmonic realities into the documentary as well?

The outcome is the story of two Hazara youths, who allowed us to capture some of their interactions and friendships with their Indonesian soccer club members, trainers, neighbours and (girl)friends. Moreover, the documentary offers some insights of what undetermined waiting for resettlement (or anything at all to happen) and restricted mobility looks like. Relying on metaphors and silence rather than a narrating voice, the film tries to capture some of the emotional intensities we encountered during the process of filming.

RESPITE Trailer: http://amerdhi.mengoceh.de/respite-trailer2018/

Director: Andrianus Oetjoe

Over 14,000 refugees live in Indonesia. Many come here to seek passage to another country, such as Australia or the United States, through United Nations resettlement programs. In the process, they wait in limbo for years. Some grow up here, learn the language, make friends, and fall in love with the people and the country. But they cannot stay because Indonesia has not signed the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and does not accept refugees. The film depicts the lives of two refugee youth in Makassar, and the friendships they build with Indonesians.

Dagmawi Yimer

Dagmawi was born and grew up in Addis Ababa. He left his country after the 2005 post-election unrest in which hundreds of young people were killed and put in jail. After a long journey across the Libyan desert and the Mediterranean, he came ashore on the island of Lampedusa on 30 July 2006. In Rome, after having participated in a video-making workshop in 2007, he co-authored the film Il deserto e il mare (The desert and the sea) along with 5 other migrants. Subsequently he co-directed the 2008 documentary film Come un uomo sulla terra (Like a man on earth). He shot the documentary C.A.R.A. ITALIA (Dear Italy) in 2009 and Soltanto il mare (Nothing but the sea) in 2011, along with several other short films. In 2011 he coordinated the collective film project Benvenuti in Italia (Welcome to Italy), In 2013 a documentary entitled Va’ pensiero-walking stories, 2015 directed Asmat-Names. Dagmawi is the co-founder and vice president of the Archivio delle Memorie Migranti (Migrants Memory Archive).

“The importance of migrants on the construction of future memories”: The immigration phenomenon and the role of images in creating perception in society, through documentary cinema and other artistic communication medium, are privileged voices that can be used to break through clichés by proposing new perspective. As a migrant engaged in filmmaking I especially interrogate myself about whose role I am exactly supposed to assume once I have finalized a documentary.  Am I the owner of the stories, the holder of the copyrights? Am I the seller or the medium? What external power influences the stories that I am filming?  The answers are not easy.

Migrants and refugees are often used as objects of narration: they are the experts of their own disgrace. Migrants are consulted only on what they live through, but not what they think. His/her personal identity weakens and is submerged into a collective stereotypical identity. It is crucial to involve the migrant on constructing future memories and archives. It is urgent to gather the migrants’ perspective. Since the immigration phenomenon became a central aspect of the political debate in Europe (in the last two decades), there have been published materials such as films, photos and academic studies that reflects limited/one-way perspective on the phenomenon without giving enough space and opportunity to migrants’ point of view. Migrants Memory Archive wants to counter this tendency, and if it is unable to incise them into our present day, it will help to preserve the migrants’ stories and memories for future generations.


Save the dates:

PARSE Dialogue – Art & Migration, part 2, 24 January, 2019.

PARSE Dialogue – Art & Migration, part 3, 29 April, 2019.


Time: September 17th, at 15.00-18.00

Place: The Glasshouse, Valand Academy, Gothenburg.

Welcome to this PARSE Dialogue on Fiction and Finance.

How has the evermore abstract and complex economy of the last decades transformed us as embodied subjects? How has this been reflected and expressed in fiction and film, aesthetic and narrative conventions? 

The seminar will address the current relationship and boundaries between aesthetics, the economy and politics. It will engage with aesthetics and theories that combine analysis of political economy and the experiential and aesthetic dimensions of society where financialization has become a dominant mode.  Hence, it wants to address how political economies affect subject formation and forms of critique and resistance of such political economies through narrative, embodied, and sensate dimension.  It will in particular address how visual and narrative expressions intertwine the macro and micro-political economic dimensions of the senses in relation to how they are positioned in time and space. It will also discuss how financialization, fiction, documentary film and cultural critique are in dialogue and affect each other.

Leigh Claire La Berge: 

Perhaps there is no more of a crucial step in economically oriented cultural analysis than the decision of when and how to render certain aspects of economic life empirical and others abstract. It is the relationship between the empirical and the abstract that often forms the basis of an argument and that indeed sets a foundation for the mediation of the economy by culture, and vice versa. That problem forces cultural critics to ask: when should the economic be thematized? How should it be periodized? When should we rely on static or formalized economic norms? When should the economy be rendered as empirical and when should it be rendered in more broadly metaphorical strokes?

It matters on what level of abstraction these questions are staged since that level often generates the content of cultural analysis. In this presentation, I will present two case studies in abstraction, one from my first book, Scandals and Abstraction: Financial Fiction of the Long 1980s (Oxford, 2014) and one from my forthcoming book, Wages Against Artwork: Socially Engaged Art and Decommodified Labor (Duke, 2019). The first case study turns toward finance, which is often described as abstract or complex. The second turns its attention toward labor, which is almost never described as abstract or complex, but rather which is often overly concretized. How should cultural critics engage this theory and vocabulary? How should they enjoin it to economic analysis? This presentation will explore these questions and offer suggestions for the cultural critique of multiple economic forms.

Leigh Claire La Berge is assistant professor of English at the City University of New York, BMCC campus. She is the author of Scandals and Abstraction: Financial Fiction of the Long 1980s (Oxford, 2014) and the co-editor of Reading Capitalist Realism (Iowa, 2014). Her articles on the political economy of culture have appeared in American Literary HistoryCriticism, Postmodern Culture, South Atlantic Quarterly, and the Radical History Review. Her new book, Wages Against Artwork: Socially Engaged Art and Decommodified Labor is forthcoming with Duke University Press in 2019.

Miriam Meissner: Specters of Finance and the Black Box City

Financial trading is often associated with the metaphor of the so-called ‘black box’. The concept of the black box suggests that a development has a tangible input and output, but that the process of turning input into output is inscrutable. This talk discusses the notion of the ‘financial black box’ by questioning how it is represented in contemporary visual culture. It shows how documentary films and journalistic photographs visualize the inscrutable black box of financial trading by associating it with specific urban architectures and atmospheres. In a second step, the talk offers a critical reading of ‘urban black box scenarios’ in contemporary visual culture. Drawing on the concept of the specter in critical cultural theory, it questions the causal relations that visual narratives establish between financial trading and its ostensible inscrutability. The central argument running through this talk is that that it matters how visual narratives account for the fact that finance is experienced as spectral: present yet absent, and sometimes incomprehensible with regard to its logic. While certain narratives tend to associate these qualities with the physical spaces and infrastructures of financial trading, others give a more systemic and politicized account of spectrality as a symptom of contemporary financialization.

Miriam Meissner is Assistant Professor in Urban Studies at the Department of Literature and Art, Maastricht University. Her research explores the interrelation between cities, creativity, political economy and the environment. In particular, it examines how urban art, media and cultural practices re-mediate and politicize global risks of finance and ecology. Miriam’s book publications include Narrating the Global Financial Crisis: Urban Imaginaries and the Politics of Myth (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) and the co-edited volume Global Garbage: Urban Imaginaries of Waste, Excess and Abandonment (Routledge, 2016).

Erling Björgvinsson & Ida Börjel: Cute Counter Narratives: Follow the Money

In relation to City Fables: Follow the Money, a practice-based research project, focused on capitalist place production and the language of capitalism we will address tensions between abstraction and sensate embodiment, present well-being and ‘futurist’ anxiety, fiction/fables and documentary aesthetics, and pedagogical aesthetics and non-cathartic corporate and municipal cute aesthetics. Specifically, we will critically reflect on our own work that consists of counter-narratives in the form of texts, animation films, hand puppet plays, and a homo-calculus self-monitoring quiz. Counter-narratives that relate to the ‘Alpha Territory’ and success story of Malmhattan in Malmö and that are based on our analysis and interpretation of media coverage, marketing material, policy documents, corporate tax analysis, and interviews with politicians, public officials, corporate representatives, an auditing lawyer, and a tax activist.

Erling Björgvinsson is Professor of Design at the School of Design and Craft, University of Gothenburg. A Central topic of research is participatory politics in design and art, in particular in relation to urban spaces and the interaction between public institutions and citizens. He has published in international design and art journals and anthologies.

Ida Börjel is a poet who, in “The Consumer’s Purchase Law: juridical lyricisms” and “The Sabotage Manuals”, has staged multi-layered field work in authoritarian language in the form of legal language, prejudices and bureaucratese.

Before the seminar, please download from app store the Animal Spirits Quiz and find out what economic beastie you are.

This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. All welcome!



Time: September 6th, at 16.00-18.00
Place: The Glasshouse, Valand Academy, Göteborg, Sweden

Violence, Desire and Settler Colonialism, A conversation about Lorraine Hansberry’s play Les Blancs

Welcome to this PARSE Dialogue, featuring a work-in-progress presentation by Hagar Kotef, senior lecturer at SOAS, University of London, entitled Death as the Political Horizon: Lorraine Hansberry’s Les Blancs and the Question of Decolonization. The presentation will be followed by a response by Kristina Hagström-Ståhl, PARSE professor at the Academy of Music and Drama, University of Gothenburg.

Set in an unnamed, colonized African country on the brink of upheaval, Lorraine Hansberry’s play Les Blancs attempts to capture a complex spectrum of power, colonial violence, and decolonial resistance.

Hagar Kotef’s presentation examines the relations between death and the attachment to the colonial space, to ask about both the conditions of settlements and the ways political metaphors travel from the artistic sphere to the field of political struggle. Centering on two figures in the play – Major Rice, who represents most explicitly the violence of colonization, and Madame Nielsen, who is perhaps the only white figure in the play who is not seen as an agent of violence – Kotef raises a series of questions about violence, desire, and settlement.

Hagar Kotef is a senior lecturer in political theory at SOAS/University of London and the author of Movement and the Ordering of Freedom (2015).

Kristina Hagström-Ståhl is PARSE professor at the Academy of Music and Drama.

This Dialogue is part of the Intersectional Engagements in Politics and Art research arc within PARSE.

This event is free and open to the public. No sign-up necessary, refreshments will be served. Welcome!


In preparation for the Dialogue a reading group will be held on September 5.

Date: September 5, 16.00-18.00

Place: Valand Academy, X-library, Vasagatan 50, Göteborg, Sweden

Assigned readings

Hansberry, Lorraine. 1994. Les Blancs. Collected Last Plays. Robert Nemiroff (Ed). New York: Vintage Books.

Kotef, Hagar. 2018. “Fragments.” Critical Inquiry 44 (Winter 2018), pp. 343-49.

To attend the reading group and acquire the assigned texts, please contact


Previous Dialogues



Time: August 20th, at 14.00-16.00
Place: Kristallfoajén, Stora Teatern, Göteborg, Sweden

Between reality and fiction: Christiane Jatahy in dialogue with Patricia Lorenzoni and Kristina Hagström-Ståhl

Welcome to this PARSE Dialogue on Reality and Fiction.

Christiane Jatahy is an award-winning director known for her groundbreaking investigations into the limits of theatrical performance, combining film and onstage work with social and political inquiry. In this dialogue she is joined by Patricia Lorenzoni (writer, translator, and researcher at Uppsala University), and Kristina Hagström-Ståhl (director and professor in performance research at the University of Gothenburg), to discuss the origin and processes of her artistic productions, as well as their relation to the social and political context in contemporary Brazil.

A collaboration between PARSE and the Gothenburg Dance and Theatre Festival.

Christiane Jatahy’s Julia is performing at GDTF August 19 & 20, 19.00. For more information and tickets click here

This event is free and open to the public. All welcome!
This Dialogue is part of the Intersectional Engagements in Politics and Art research arc within PARSE.

This dialogue will be in English.

photo: Marcelo Lipiani


Tom of Finland’s room at the Tom of Finland Foundation’s house in Los Angeles, 2002; photographed by Henning von Berg

Tom of Finland’s room at the Tom of Finland Foundation’s house in Los Angeles, 2002; photographed by Henning von Berg

Time: May 17th, at 16.30-18.30
Place: Valand Academy, in the X-library, Chalmersgatan 4-6, Göteborg, Sweden

Welcome to this PARSE Dialogue on Art and work.

Art has been integral to recent debates and critical strategies contesting the social imaginary of work. The modernist vision of artistic labour as the paradigm of nonalienated labour has been replaced by the argument that artists are exemplars of the precarious 24/7 worker. The politics of labour has been replaced with the micropolitics of work and the project to transform work has been replaced with the campaign for the end of work. This Parse Dialogue will focus on difficulties of distinguishing between work and play and how work has been a model for rejuvenating art as a critical form of labour.


Tom Cubbin, Design Historian, Senior Lecturer HDK

Josefine Wikström, Writer and Lecturer DOCH (Stockholm University of the Arts)

Dave Beech, PARSE Professor Valand Academy

This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. All welcome!
This Dialogue is part of the Art and Work research arc within PARSE.




Time: May 30th, at 16.30-18.30
Place: Marx Memorial Library & Workers’ School, 37A Clerkenwell Green, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 0DU, UK

Welcome to this PARSE dialogue, held in the Marx Memorial Library, London.

Art has been integral to recent debates and critical strategies contesting the social imaginary of work. The modernist vision of artistic labour as the paradigm of nonalienated labour has been replaced by the argument that artists are exemplars of the precarious 24/7 worker. The politics of labour has been replaced with the micropolitics of work and the project to transform work has been replaced with the campaign for the end of work. This event will assess these key contemporary issues of art and work and look at how a politics of work in art can be developed.

Dave Beech, PARSE Professor Valand Academy, University of Gothenburg,
Marina Vishmidt, Editor, writer and lecturer Goldsmiths University of London,
Kirsteen Macdonald & Benjamin Fallon, Curators, Chapter Thirteen Glasgow.

This event is free and open to the public. All welcome!

This Dialogue is part of the Art and Work research arc within PARSE.

image source: AFWFA (ARTISTS FOR A WORK FREE AMERICA) https://www.vital5productions.com/afwfa/

“Violence and the Archive: Accounts of the Transatlantic Slave Trade”

Parse – platform for artistic research sweden day 1

Time: April 18th, at 16.30-18.30
Place: Valand Academy, in the Glashuset, Chalmersgatan 4-6, Göteborg, Sweden

Welcome to this PARSE Dialogue on relating histories of violence and fragmented archives, pertaining to the fraught legacy of the Transatlantic slave trade.
M. NourbeSe Philip, poet
Saidiya V. Hartman, Department of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University
Ylva Habel, Centre for Multidisciplinary Studies on Racism, Uppsala University
Hosted by the Intersectional Engagements in Politics and Art research arc, in collaboration with the Research School of the Faculty of Fine, Applied, and Performing Arts, University of Gothenburg
Coffee/tea and sandwiches will be served at 16.00
This event is free and open to the public.
It is preceded by the Doctoral Symposium on Art and Violence, April 16-17. If you would like to attend the symposium, please contact anna.frisk@konst.gu.se.

Inscriptions of Violence: On Björn Säfsten’s Prologue

In Collaboration with Atalante

Björn Säftsten / Prologue (photo: Chrisander Brun)

Björn Säftsten/ Prologue (photo: Chrisander Brun)

Date: April 12th at 16.00 to 18.00
Place: Valand Academy, in the Glashuset, Chalmersgatan 4-6, Göteborg, Sweden

Welcome to this PARSE Dialogue centering on the choreographic work of Björn Säfsten, and particularly on Prologue, which is being performed at Atalante on April 11 and 12.

Björn Säfsten (choreographer)
Astrid von Rosen (Dept of Cultural Sciences, GU)
Kristina Hagström-Ståhl (PARSE/ Academy of Music and Drama).

In Prologue Björn Säfsten and performer Sophie Augot explore the violence of language, creating identified representations and then engaging them in a form of role-play. Interrogating the syntax and semantics of the body and its gestures, the performance problematizes received notions of visual interpretation. The work is a re-creation of a piece for two performers from 2012, moulded into a work for a single performer.

Björn Säfsten creates choreographic art in close collaboration with his artistic teams and often focuses on our bodies and minds; how they interact, shape and express themselves. He was educated at the Ballet Academy in Stockholm and received Birgit Cullberg scholarship 2009. In recent years, he has also worked in a four year research project at Umeå Academy of Fine Arts, together with philosopher Per Nilsson.

This Dialogue is part of the Intersectional Engagements in Politics and Art research arc within PARSE

The event is free and open to the public. Coffee and snacks will be served. Welcome!

This PARSE Dialogue with Hagar Kotef was cancelled with short notice, due to illness. The event will be rescheduled to a new date. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Violence, Desire, and Settler Colonialism

A conversation about Lorraine Hansberry’s play Les blancs

Welcome to this PARSE Dialogue, featuring a work-in-progress presentation by Hagar Kotef, senior lecturer at SOAS, University of London, entitled Death as the Political Horizon: Lorraine Hansberry’s Les Blancs and the Question of Decolonization. The presentation will be followed by a response by Kristina Hagström-Ståhl, professor at Academy of Music and Drama, University of Gothenburg.

Date: Event was cancelled
Place: Valand Academy, in the Glashuset, Chalmersgatan 4-6, Göteborg, Sweden
More info and contact: At University of Gotehnburg webpage

This event is free and open to the public. No sign-up necessary, refreshments will be served. Welcome!

Set in an unnamed, colonized African country on the brink of upheaval, Lorraine Hansberry’s play Les Blancs attempts to capture a complex spectrum of power, colonial violence, and decolonial resistance.

Hagar Kotef’s presentation examines the relations between death and the attachment to the colonial space, to ask about both the conditions of settlements and the ways political metaphors travel from the artistic sphere to the field of political struggle. Centering on two figures in the play – Major Rice, who represents most explicitly the violence of colonization, and Madame Nielsen, who is perhaps the only white figure in the play who is not seen as an agent of violence – Kotef raises a series of questions about violence, desire, and settlement.

Hagar Kotef is a senior lecturer in political theory at SOAS/University of London and the author of Movement and the Ordering of Freedom (2015).

Kristina Hagström-Ståhl is PARSE professor at the Academy of Music and Drama.

This Dialogue is part of the Intersectional Engagements in Politics and Art research arc within PARSE.

in collaboration with the Research School of Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts, University of Gothenburg


Photo courtesy of Robert Dick.

Photo courtesy of Robert Dick.

On Perspectives on Extended Techniques

with presentations and demonstrations by:

Robert Dick, flutist and composer, Anna Lindal, violinist and researcher, Dean of the University College of Opera, Stockholm University of the Arts, Marina Cyrino, flutist and doctoral candidate in musical performance, Academy of Music and Drama, University of Gothenburg and Anders Hagberg, senior lecturer in improvisation, flute, and saxophone, Academy of Music and Drama, University of Gothenburg.

Video from the presentation part 1
63 min, Anna Lindal, Robert Dick

Video from the presentation part 2
50 min, Anders Hagberg, Marina Cyrino

Video from the presentation part 3
53 min, discussion

Date: January 26, 2018, at 09.30 to 12.30
Place: Academy of Music and Drama, HSM, Lindgrenssalen (A 302)
Fågelsången 1, Göteborg, Sweden

The event is free and open to the public, no sign up required. The dialogue will be in English.



In connection with world-renowned flutist and composer Robert Dick’s residency and master class at Academy of Music and Drama, University of Gothenburg in January, PARSE will host a research dialogue providing perspectives on extended techniques in music practice.

With presentations and demonstrations by musicians and researchers, this dialogue will meditate on the notion of the ”extended” in extended techniques, in order to discuss what is at stake in various approaches to such techniques, and to consider how this line of inquiry and practice may be relevant across artistic disciplines.

More information and contact

University of Gothenburg web

Kristina Hagström-Ståhl, professor, Academy of Music and Drama
Anders Hultqvist, professor Deputy Head, Academy of Music and Drama

Also: Concert with Robert Dick January 25

Don´t miss the concert with Robert Dick, that he gives through Levande Musik the day before this Dialogue.

January 25 at 19.00,
Teater Trixter, Göteborg
More information and tickets on the Levande Musik web page.

On Migration and heritage, institutions and social justice


Emily Fahlén, Tensta konsthall and The Silent University Stockholm, Alessandro Petti, Kungliga Konsthögskolan and Decolonising Architecture Art Residency and Gabi Dolff-Bonekämper, the Technical University of Berlin och Landesdenkmalamt

Date: November 24, at 17.30 to 19.30
Place: HDK, Academy of Design and Crafts
Kristinelundsgatan 6-8, Göteborg, Sweden

Welcome to a PARSE Dialogue with screening of the film Same Time Next Day, by Emily Fahlén and Ahmet Ögüt. We have invited Alessandro Petti, Gabi Dolff-Bonekämper and the filmmaker Emily Fahlén to a dialogue and an open discussion about the film and on the subject of migration and heritage, institutions and social justice.

Refreshments will be served. Open to the public, no sign up required. The dialogue will be in English. More info at the University of Gothenburg web.

This dialogue is organised as part of Night School HDK and Open Week, Gothenburg Design Festival 2017 by PARSE in collaboration with the Centre on Global Migration and the Centre for Critical Heritage Studies at Gothenburg University.


Alessandro Petti, Gabi Dolff-Bonekämper and Emily Fahlén will begin the dialogue with short presentations followed by a screening of the film Same Time Next Day, by Emily Fahlén and Ahmet Ögüt, 2016. After the screening an open discussion will be moderated by participants of PARSE, Centre on Global Migration and Centre for Critical Heritage Studies.

We will address questions about how the relation between life as such and social, cultural, political and economic barriers as produced by educational and heritage institutions, can be challenged. From the outside, through civil counter-actions and independent self-organised practices. But also from within, by more radical and inclusive forms of institutional practice seeking to decolonize the institutions, promoting a wider definition of social justice including nationals and non-nationals alike.

The dialogue will focus on what can be done with inclusionary practices and how institutions of knowledge can support, befriend, embrace, organise, converse and ultimately act.

Invited speakers

Emily Fahlén, Stockholm, works as a mediator and producer at Tensta konsthall, a centre for contemporary art in the Stockholm suburb of Tensta. With collaboration as a core value and method she manages both local and international art projects, working in the borderland between the organizational, curatorial and pedagogical. Since 2013 she is the coordinator for The Silent University Stockholm; an autonomous knowledge platform by refugees, asylum seekers and migrants.

Alessandro Petti, has spent the last decade developing an artistic, architectural and research practice, from Palestine, that is both theoretically ambitious and practically engaged in the struggle for justice and equality. He co-founded Campus in Camps with Sandi Hilal, an experimental educational program hosted in Dheisheh Refugee Camp in Bethlehem. In 2007, with Hilal and Eyal Weizman he co-founded Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency (DAAR) in Beit Sahour, Palestine, with the aim to combine an architectural studio and an art residency able to bring together architects, artists, activists, urbanists, film-makers, and curators to work collectively on the subjects of politics and architecture.

Professor Gabi Dolff-Bonekämper, TU Berlin, holder of the 2017 2017 Humboldt Stipend Swedish-German Programme Research Awards for Scientific Cooperation, and hosted by the research cluster Curating the City within the Centre for Critical Heritage Studies & the Department of Conservation, University of Gothenburg. Prof. Dolff-Bonekämper has a long-term presence in the international and in particular central European research debate on heritage and urban heritage, and has also a unique background in a combination of theory with impressive practice. For fifteen years she had a lead position at the Landesdenkmalamt in Berlin with responsibility for the extensive heritage documentation and preservation of the city of Berlin after the demolition of the wall. Since 2005 she holds a professorship in Denkmalpflege at the Institute for urban and regional planning at the Technical university of Berlin, and has since then developed the area of expertise Denkmalpflege into a unique and significant multidisciplinary research environment with extensive teaching assignments.

About Tensta museum

Tensta museum an ongoing research project about history and memory in Tensta, both in relation to the place and to the people who live and work there. Since 2013 Some fifty artists, architects, local associations, performers, sociologists, cultural geographers, philosophers, and other practitioners have addressed the past as well as the future in artworks, research projects, seminars, and guided walks. And it is through this that they simultaneously report on the condition of Tensta today as a concrete image of what can be described as the New Sweden ¿ a Sweden that must be understood very differently from how it was several decades ago. This is a Sweden containing people of vastly different backgrounds, where economic and social divides are intensifying.

About Night School HDK

An evening school hosting educational classes, workshops and events on a non-fee open-to-all basis. Taken together, the activities of Night School HDK aspire to explore new ideas about teaching and learning and what forms of communal life it may begin to make possible within the context of the University. Classes range from the vocational to the theoretical to the sub-alternative and are hosted by HDK faculty, students, alumni and external academic and non-academic guests through an open call. The Night School HDK is piloted during the Open Week, Gothenburg Design Festival 2017 and beyond will continue to act as an educational platform for students and researchers as well as experimental pedagogies from inside and outside of the University.

On the Theme Management


Ross Jardine, co-organiser of Radio Anti
Date: Tuesday, October 10, at 16.00 to 19.00
Place: Glashuset, The Glasshouse
Chalmersgatan 4, in the yard of the Valand quarter, Göteborg

Refreshments will be served. Signing up for the event is required, last day for signing up is Friday, October 6.

Management is often treated as a separate domain in relation to the field of contemporary creative practice. Those employed to manage and administrate institutions are separated from those who create content, be they artists, musicians, performers or designers.

They are separated through culture, but also spatially, logistically, financially, in terms of rights and freedoms.

How are we affected by the political and social difference between “making” and “managing”? What happens when management at the same time is perceived as a task of lower status and an oppressive mechanism?

Welcome! Please note that signing up is required.

Ross Jardine
His work is located somewhere between art and administration. He
uses a research-based approach to examine the places we live and work in and
the policies, labour and symbolic frameworks that create and maintain them. He
co-organises Radio Anti, a radio project which has worked with the Serpentine
Gallery (London), Bloc Projects (Sheffield) and the Art Licks Festival
(London). He is an experienced policy researcher and has been working with
the campaign group Justice 4 Domestic Workers to examine health and safety
provision for domestic workers.

On the theme  Educational Exclusion


Pedro Oliveira (Universität der Künste Berlin and Decolonising Design Group)
Richard Pithouse (Rhodes University)
Zhara Bayati (University of Gothenburg)

Date:  Wednesday, April 26, at 16.00 – 19.00.
Place: The library, HDK – Academy of Design and Crafts, Kristinelundsgatan 6 – 8, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Refreshments will be served. Signing up for the event is required and is done here. Signing up with close on April 19, midnight.

Welcome! // On behalf of PARSE and CGM
Erling Björgvinsson, Onkar Kular and Henric Benesch

The dialogue is conjointly arranged with Public Talks: Any Given Sunday – Cape Town collaborative as part of Draft, April 27, 17.00, Glass House, Valand Academy Chalmersgatan 4. For more information see below.

Educational Exclusion

In relation to the second PARSE biennial conference, taking place in November 16 – 17 2017 and in collaboration with The Centre on Global Migration this dialogue wishes to address institutional and epistemological exclusions, master paradigms, and institutional racism within educational institution as well as in relation to how such institutions interact with civil society. It will also address communal and collective perspectives for a new arts and humanities, which rejects universality and progress and that instead embraces epistemic and disciplinary disobedience and pluri-national institutions.

Arts and design education and cultural institutions aim for diversity, yet remain quite homogenous in their staffing, in their understanding and promotion of aesthetics, and in their view of knowledge, and whom they collaborate with. Further more, universities are increasingly expected to deal with societal challenges through collaborating with public and private institutions and civil society groups. Various forms of participatory formats have been developed with the aim to redistribute power, but nevertheless often end up reproducing existing power structures as well as exclude.

If the university is to collaborate with the surrounding society, it needs to head on and fundamentally address how new knowledge perspectives and practices can be developed by acknowledging differences in how we understand and act in the world and what are considered valid results. It also means that the university needs to critically address who are the subjects of participation? How and from where are they selected? Why are certain institutions, organisations, people seen to be in greater need of receiving participatory ‘support’? What aesthetic-political subjects and imaginaries are produced in such projects and processes? How if at all is power and decision-making redistributed? How does the instrumentalisation of participation reconfigure cultural production, citizens as subjects, and institutions?

Pedro Oliveira – Decolonising design education, A pedagogical model of care

The effort to decolonise design education can only begin if we struggle to reshape the understanding of design from thehegemonic narrative of a Western[ised] performance of making, to encompass all that which sets the conditions for human living. So rather than “decolonising” being deployed as another qualitative modifier to be put in front of what design does – implying provisional lenses that can be easily switched or removed, – we must interrogate the colonial foundations of what design is, and how this fiction gets normalised into a depoliticised pedagogical model. In that sense, decolonisation becomes a foundational issue rather than merely another approach. In other words, when one fails to interrogate the colonial nature of this fiction, decolonisation becomes yet another ‘service’ that can be ‘offered’ in order to accommodate and exempt the field from any political accountability on the reproduction and perpetuation of oppressive and unsustainable materialities.

While it can be agreed that design needs to account for inclusion of those usually neglected by the outcomes of designing, we believe this to be only the surface layer of a much more profound ontological problem. There cannot be a decolonising effort in which designers – even a diverse group – are still taught a productivist model which puts our very existence at threat, sustaining the deliberate appropriation and hierarchisation of not only nature, but also of other human beings. Instead, we argue that a pedagogical model of care is at the center of an effort to de-link the field from its colonial shackles, and move towards novel understandings of design research and praxis. We understand the (re)design of institutions, design practices and design studies (efforts that always occur under conditions of contested political interests) to be a pivotal challenge in the process of decolonisation.

As the Decolonising Design group, we work towards developing propositions as to how and where the decolonisation of design education – and the educational model of design – can be performed. In this short talk, we will do so by looking at the emancipatory pedagogies found in the work of Brazilian educator Paulo Freire, the border consciousness model of feminist writer Gloria Anzaldúa, as well as in the idea of pluriversal education put forward by the Zapatista movement.

The Decolonising Design group was founded in 2016 by eight researchers stemming from or with ties to the Global South, as a response to Euro- and Anglocentric socio-technical politics and pedagogies of design as both a field of research and praxis. In that sense, the group aims to contribute to a systematic, rather than additive, change in the field; it does not aim to offer an “alternative perspective” on design, but to question the very foundations upon which the discipline was established. For this talk in Gothenburg, the group will be represented by Pedro Oliveira, design researcher in sound studies and a PhD candidate at the Berlin University of the Arts.

Richard Pithouse – Coloniality, the University and Civil Society

This presentation will begin by showing some of the ways in which the post-apartheid South African university sustains an investment in forms of liberalism that are, plainly, racist. It will then show that that while socialist ideas and practices in the post-apartheid academy have often been critical of liberal assumptions about economics it has not been unusual for them to be invested in liberal ideas and practices about politics, especially in terms of questions of organisation, mobilisation and representation. It will be argued that the idea of civil society, often understood in the post-Cold War era as donor backed NGOs, has frequently functioned to reinscribe forms of paternalism, in many cases acutely raced, that had been subject to serious critique from the 1970s till the end of apartheid.

Professor Richard Pithouse is the senior researcher at the Unit for the Humanities (UHURU), at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, and a Visiting Researcher at the Wits Institute for Social & Economic Research (WiSER), at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. He has also held a George A. Miller Visiting Professorship at the University of Illinois in the United States. He has been a regular contributor to the media over the last twenty years. While his journalism has mostly been concerned with politics he has also written about music and poetry. A collection of his recent journalism, Writing the Decline, was published in 2016. Pithouse has sustained a lifelong commitment to participation in popular struggles and has often been asked to share ideas with popular struggles and movements in South Africa and elsewhere. He has taught at trade union schools in South Africa, and at the MST political school in Brazil.

Zahra Bayati “The Other” in teacher education

A study of the racialized Swedish student’s conditions in the era of globalization

Zahra Bayati will speak about her empirical studies related to “the other” in teachers education. The study confirms the findings of previous studies, which show that the Swedish Eurocentric education system have many struggle in era of globalization, for example students from non-European countries experience stigmatization, exclusion and discrimination on structural and individual levels. But at the same time, the study also found existing resistance with many agents willing to embark on the transcending approach. The empirical study is analyzed in relation to postcolonial perspectives (Babha, 1986; Said, 1978/2000) and critical race whiteness theory (Du Bois, 1903/1998; Frankenberg, 1995) with social constructionism and poststructuralism as points of departure.

Zahra Bayati is a senior lecture at Faculty of Education, Gothenburg University.

Conjointly with Public Talks:

Any Given Sunday – Cape Town collaborative as part of draft


Sethembile Msezane (Cape Town)
Riason Naidoo (Cape Town)
Richard Pithouse (Johannesburg)

Thursday, April 27, at 17.00, Glashuset, Valand Academy (Chalmersgatan 4)


PARSE, in collaboration with GIBCA, invites you to a PARSE Dialogue on the themes of
The PARSE Journal Issue on Secularity – in collaboration with GIBCA (autumn 2017)
and the conference 2nd Biennial PARSE Conference on Exclusion (November 2017)

On Secularity
Jonas Staal (artist, founder, New World Summit)
Nav Haq (curator, GIBCA 2017)
Ola Sigurdson (Professor of Systematic Theology, University of Gothenburg)
Andrea Phillips (PARSE Professor of Art, Valand Academy, University of Gothenburg)

Wednesday Nov. 16, at 13.00-16.00

This discussion launches the collaboration between PARSE and the Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art. The theme of the biennial will examine contemporary issues of secularity. The event will be a chance to find out more about the collaboration and enter into discussion about the relevance of secular ideas and practices today.

Follow this link for more information.

on exclusion
The PARSE Professors and Working Group

An open discussion on the impact of exclusions in contemporary life in order to develop ideas and collaborations for the 2nd PARSE biennial conference, taking place in November 2017. We will introduce the theme and welcome all contributions.
For more information about the Conference please follow this link.

Date: November 16, 2016
Place: Glashuset, Akademin Valand, Chalmersgatan 4 Gothenburg, Sweden.
Drinks will be served. RSVP before Nov 10 to mina.dennert@gu.se



PARSE invites you to a seminar with Stefano Harney and Fred Moten on their widely influential book of essays, The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study (2013). In it, they draw on social and political thought as well as aesthetic critique to formulate a social poesis of upheaval and self-organization, confronting the force of politics, capitalist logistics, policy and governance.

”We owe it to each other to falsify the institution, to make politics incorrect, to give the lie to our own determination. We owe each other the indeterminate. We owe each other everything.
An abdication of political responsibility? OK. Whatever. We’re just anti-politically romantic about actually existing social life. We aren’t responsible for politics. We are the general antagonism to politics looming outside every attempt to politicise, every imposition of self- governance, every sovereign decision and its degraded miniature, every emergent state and home sweet home. We are disruption and consent to disruption.”
—Stefano Harney and Fred Moten

As this will be a seminar based in discussion, participants are expected to read the book beforehand (available here: http://www.minorcompositions.info/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/undercommons-web.pdf). The conversation, however, will focus on the following chapters in particular: ”The University and the Undercommons”, ”Blackness and Governance”, ”Planning and Policy”, and ”The General Antagonism: An Interview with Stevphen Shukaitis.”

Date: September 7, 2016
Time: 16-18
Place: Glashuset, Akademin Valand, Chalmersgatan 4 Gothenburg, Sweden.

Stefano Harney is Professor of Strategic Management at Singapore Management University.
Fred Moten is a poet and Professor of English at University of California, Riverside.

The seminar will be followed by a poetry reading with Fred Moten and a conversation between Moten and Khashayar Naderehvandi, poet and doctorand at Akademin Valand. This public event is co-organized by Göteborgs Litteraturhus, Akademin Valand, and PARSE.