Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm, Sweden

Decolonizing North, December 7 – 8 2017

Camilla Aviaja Olsen och Cecilie Ullerup Schmidt, KUJALEQ, 2017

The conference is free of charge. Reservation required for the conference on Friday, 8th December by emailing by 26th November.


Invited speakers: Achille Mbembe, Gurminder G. Bhambra, Gunilla Larsson, Encarnacion Guttierez-Rodriguez, Tone Olaf Nielsen.

Respondents: Ylva Habel, Patricia Lorenzoni and Stefan Helgesson.

Artists: Anawana Haloba, Katarina Pirak Sikku, Minna L. Henriksson, Santiago Mostyn, Cecilie Ullerup Schmidt & Camilla Aviaja Olsen, Saskia Holmkvist and Ellen Nyman.

The north is not only a geographical expression, it indicates often a power relation based on presumption of superiority. Despite violent border regimes and colonial processes on indigenous populations, northern European countries have scarcely dealt with their self-image of colonial powers. Is decolonization today a possible political project of liberation against this historical prejudice? What is at stake and how should we position ourselves within an imperative process of decolonization in relation to land and knowledge? In particular, how to de-align from the reproduction of oppressive structures and look instead to new alliances between native and migrants’ populations, and towards solidarity practices within art, discourse and immediate locality.

Addressing a range of topics in relation to contemporary colonial forms, inner-nordic colonialization of Sámi and Inuit, reflections on decolonizing terminologies, white supremacy the conference will be focusing on questions of decoloniality and its meaning for the particularities of North Europe today.

Programme Thursday 7th December:
PRELUDE: Precedents 5 – 7 pm
Tone Olaf Nielsen: The Drive to Remember: Kuratorisk Aktion’s Curatorial Engagement with Invisibilized Colonialism and Indigineity in the Nordic Region.
At Rutiga Golvet, Royal Institute of Art. No registration required.

Programme Friday 8th December:
8:30 am Registration

SESSION 1 : What’s at stake? 9: 30 am – 12 noon
Achille Mbembe
Respondents: Stefan Helgesson and Patricia Lorenzoni

12 – 1 pm Lunch break

SESSION 2: Land-cracks and movements 1 – 4 pm
Gunilla Larsson, Gurminder G. Bhambra
Respondents: Ylva Habel

4 – 4:30 pm
Coffee break

SESSION 3: Destabilizing knowledge: 4:30 – 6 pm
Encarnacion Guttierez- Rodriguez
Respondent: Achille Mbembe

Embedded in the programme, a series of spatial configurations created by Decolonizing Architecture students will use the exhibition format as a support structure for lectures, discussions and gatherings.

6:30 pm Bus leaving from Royal Art Institute to Konsthall C for the opening of the exhibition Nordic Trouble.
The bus service is free of charge for everyone who has registered for the conference. Limited seating.
Konsthall C can be also reached by subway (cca 30 min)

The conference will be held at Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm in conjunction with the exhibition Nordic Trouble at Konsthall C, Stockholm curated by Corina Oprea and featuring new commissions and invited artworks by Anawana Haloba, Katarina Pirak Sikku, Minna L. Henriksson, Santiago Mostyn, Cecilie Ullerup Schmidt & Camilla Aviaja Olsen, Saskia Holmkvist and Ellen Nyman.

Thanks to:
Corina Oprea, artistic leader Konsthall C, Shahram Khosravi, Professor in Social Anthropology, Stockholm University, Mattias Gardell, Professor in religion, Uppsala University, Irene Molina, Professor in Human Geography, Uppsala University, Alessandro Petti, Professor in Architecture and social justice, Royal Institute of Art and Elof Hellström, course assistant Decolonizing Architecture, Royal Institute of Art.

Decolonizing North is initiated by Konsthall C in collaboration with CEMFOR, Centre for Multidisciplinary Studies on Racism, Uppsala University and the Decolonizing Architecture advance course at Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm.

The conference and the exhibition at Konsthall C are made possible with generous support from Kultur Kontakt Nord – Nordic Culture Point.