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Of Public Interest (OPI) Lab

OPI Lab Storefront, 2023. Photo: Jonas Dahlberg
OPI Lab Storefront, 2023. Photo: Jonas Dahlberg
Course syllabus OPI Lab (60 ECTS-credits)

Of Public Interest (OPI) Lab is a hub for experimental artistic and architectural practice-based thinking and doing. The Lab operates as an advanced course that is held at the Department for Research and Further Education in Architecture and Fine Art at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm. 

We aspire to develop tools, methods and strategies, with which we can shape built environments and common spaces, capable of meaningfully altering the expectations and language around the public sphere.

The Lab asks, in different ways, what is of public interest?—through working on and realizing projects in, around, and in between art and architecture. While this is pursued through collaborative doing and learning, a key aim of OPI Lab is for the knowledge we produce to act as a catalyst in the practices of the individuals involved. Thereby affecting and shaping their respective fields, whether it be art, architecture, curatorial work, social practice, landscape architecture, activism, and/or other areas.

Course Content

OPI Lab has two locations. One is the Royal Institute of Art, where we have access to a wide range of workshops, and the faculty comprising researchers and practitioners from other and related fields. The other location is a storefront in an area of Stockholm undergoing significant development. This space is the locus for our site specific work, and importantly, it also establishes a visible presence and commitment to a neighborhood. Working from the conditions and histories of a specific place, we develop methods that could also be applied to other contexts—not unlike what is necessary when conducting a multiple control group in any experiment. Our location of interest provides a ground upon which to test out ideas—ultimately, as a means of addressing places and conditions beyond the given site.

The work performed at OPI Lab is closely tied to socializing with the surroundings and with each other, as a necessary component of building ideas through conviviality. We host a once-monthly Open Door Session as a public moment in the space where we offer food and drinks, discuss and share some of what we do with colleagues, friends, passersby, and people from the neighborhood. 

OPI Lab seeks applicants to form a multidisciplinary group for 2023/24, comprising 16 professional practitioners with experience in art, architecture, curatorial work, social practice, landscape architecture, and/or other related fields. The Lab hopes to bring together a diverse group of people working with different approaches, with the belief that different backgrounds and life experiences enrich the learning experience and the discussions that can take place, and significantly, that a diverse group of voices is essential in shaping our public spaces.

OPI Lab is led by the artist Jonas Dahlberg together with curator and writer Jasmine Hinks. Visit us at our storefront at OPI Lab, Gröndalsvägen 1, 117 66 Stockholm, or at the Royal Institute of Art, Flaggmansvägen 1, 111 49 Stockholm.

Course Structure

During the academic year, the group meets one week per month in Stockholm for an intensive session designed around immersive on-site research, individual work and multidisciplinary group collaboration. This structure is complemented with a program of lectures, seminars, workshops, conversations and critique in a format that aims to stimulate knowledge exchange through learning and unlearning in a peer-to-peer setting. These 5-day blocks in Stockholm are mandatory, with a minimum of 80% attendance required on site.

OPI Lab participants work individually and collaboratively in smaller groups departing from their own practices and connected to immersive on-site research. The structure of the course focuses on developing methods and forms of “public making” as experiments within the scope and timeframe of the academic year, culminating in a proposal for the future.

The groups of 3-4 people function as support structures that foster multidisciplinary work and enable focused critical feedback. In between sessions, participants continue their work and research individually as well as in dialogue with their group and course leaders as required. These parallel modalities allow for research and project proposals to develop at different paces, following the logic of each project, and for participants to collaborate with their peers in the Lab while maintaining focus on their own professional practice.

In the past we have invited a wide range of guests to speak with us at OPI Lab.

These include: Sandra Mujinga, Pilvi Takala, Sumayya Vally, David Horvitz, Joar Nango, Jill Magid, Jumana Manna, Lea Porsager, Runo Lagomarsino, Assemble, Cooking Sections (Daniel Fernández Pascual and Alon Schwabe), Joanna Warzsa, Stephen Wright, Raqs Media Collective, Carlo Ratti Associati, Alexander Eriksson Furunes and Sudarchan Khadka Jr, Wael Al Awar, Monument Lab, Ken Lum, Katie Paterson, Katarina Pirak Sikku, Can Altay, Unscene Architecture (Madeleine Kessler and Manijeh Verghese), Olivia Plender, Nato Thomson.

The on-site sessions for 2023/2024 are planned to take place in Stockholm as follows:

  • 4th-8th September 2023
  • 2nd-6th October 2023
  • 30th October – 3rd November 2023
  • 4th-8th December 2023
  • 8th-12th January 2024
  • 5th-9th February 2024
  • 4th-8th March 2024
  • 1st-5th April 2024
  • 29th April – 3rd May 2024
  • 27th May – 31st May 2024
Credits 60 ECTS (100%)
LevelAdvanced level
Entry RequirementsDegree of Master of Fine Arts, or a Master’s degree in another relevant field of study, or prior learning (equivalent professional experience)
SelectionSelection is made based on an overall assessment of the applicant’s submitted work samples (maximum 5), CV, and a letter of motivation reflecting on why the conceptual frame of the course is relevant for the applicant. Interviews may be conducted as part of the selection process.
Selection is made based on three quotient groups:
– Degree of Master of Fine Arts
– Degree of Master of Architecture/Landscape Architecture/Spatial Design/Interior Architecture
– Master’s degree in Cultural Production, Curatorial Studies or another relevant field of study
Academic Year2023–2024
Responsible teacherJonas Dahlberg, Jasmine Hinks,,

To find out more, visit here or Instagram @opi_lab.