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19 May 2014

Open call: Post-master course in Architecture at the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm

Mikael Andersson/Mira

A State of Migration: Sweden, application deadline 9th of June 2014
Resources.14, Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm, Sweden


Resources is an advanced course in architecture and urban planning at the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm, that explores the relation between the world's limited resources and our built environment. The program is multi-disciplinary and admits professionals with various backgrounds. The theme for the coming year is - A State of Migration: Sweden. What kind of city emerges from migration's transformative dynamics?
Applicants should have a university degree at master level or similar. Applications are made digitally at Separate work samples must be postmarked or handed in to the Royal Institute of Art no later than 9 June 2014.

Katarina Nitsch

Katarina Nitsch, Resources.14, Royal Institute of Art
Box 16315
SE-10326, Stockholm

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A State of Migration: Sweden

Migration and a sustainable global existence are two of the biggest challenges of our time. How can they be combined? Historically, migration has been a driving force for societal development and urbanisation, but so has the individual's acceptance of transformation and change of the environment. New places are overlaid with experiences of earlier spaces, anchoring transnational relations in a local history. What kind of city emerges from migration's transformative dynamics?

The City of Migration
All over the world people are leaving the countryside for the city, they are moving between countries in different phases of economic development, and from areas of conflict and crisis to more stable situations. In the near future, two billion people will leave poor rural areas and create new relationships in the cities of the world. Every year, five million people cross national borders, looking for a better future and the number of people who abandon their homes because of natural disasters, political conflicts or because they have been denied their human rights is even greater. That which we call globalisation has created a wave of migration upon which global urbanisation is dependent, in terms of workforce and new citizens. The city is both a stop over and a goal for this movement – a place of transit, a port of arrival and a permanent abode. The movement of migration is directed towards the city which it simultaneously shapes and builds. The global city is also built to facilitate movement between airports, conference centres, hotels and central shopping areas. Different accesses and permissions are issued for different citizens as well as for different urban transformation processes. In the global city, the paperless workforce becomes a prerequisite for the building of the city, making the state of emergency a new norm that allows the selective market to bend the rules of the city.

A Swedish Urbanism

Swedish contemporary history is marked by migration in different directions. During the latter part of the 19th and early part of the 20th centuries, almost a quarter of the Swedish population left the impoverished countryside to look for a better future in the United States. The post-war industrial boom and the construction of the Swedish welfare state were heavily reliant on labour migration from Finland, Turkey and south Europe. In the 1970s most migrants to Sweden were political refugees from Latin America, and from the 1980s onwards migration has been characterised by asylum seekers from Iraq, Somalia and today Syria. How have the Swedish city and the planning been developed and affected by the dynamics of migration? Which new spaces and social relationships, rituals and movements, have emerged out of the power field of migration? How is the city formulated and reformulated based on the new inhabitants' needs, rights and responsibilities?

Resources has, for a number of years, studied urban development and transformation in relation to reduced resources, a changing climate and the idea of the right to the city – with a specific focus on the global South. Here, the conditions of the city are renegotiated in the dividing line between economic growth and demographic movement, between global agendas and the local inhabitant's action and building. To Resources' final year at the Royal Institute of Art, we bring this knowledge and turn our gaze to the Swedish contemporary city and its characteristics. Resources.14 will explore urban Sweden based on the transformation processes that take place in the city of migration. We call it A Swedish Urbanism.

Course Content
Resources' long-standing investigation of the global city's development and transformation will be concluded with a focus on the Swedish city. Within the theme of the course, A State of Migration, we will study modern urban Sweden, migration's transformative dynamics, alternative city development perspectives and socio-ecological systems. We will look back at philosophical and architectural discussions on the right to the city and its expressions today. We will encounter Giorgio Agamben and his ideas of the state of exception and we will explore the relationship between the city, work and mobility from the point of view of theories by Saskia Sassen and Silvia Federici. We will continue our ongoing investigations of communities and commons. We will study the effect of the Swedish social movements on the city and the decentralised Swedish decision-making. We will explore the importance of knowledge and the role of local knowledge in the building of the city. The aim of the course is to learn from site-specific experiences, and based on these, formulate new ideas and concrete proposals for the city and its possibilities, as well as create a unique contribution to the international discussion on a sustainable urban future.

The teaching of Resources is based on collaborations with local actors, who will be involved in the course throughout the year. We will meet with Swedish and international researchers, practitioners and activists, who are focused on issues of migration, from, among others, Multicultural Centre in Botkyrka, Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity and Society at Linköping University and Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare at Malmö University. We have a continuous collaboration with Stockholm Environment Institute and Stockholm Resilience Centre. We also have a long-term collaboration with Density Design Lab in Milan for visualisation of urban data and with ShiftN of Belgium for the development of methods for scenario thinking.

The teaching is divided into blocks with different focuses. The course is based on architectural and urbanism theories, resource theory, literature and economic theory. We will investigate life style patterns and global relations, system thinking, urban rights, scenario methodology and radical mapping. We will encounter architects, city planners, natural and social scientists, economists and artists in a cross-disciplinary discourse. The teaching is largely focused on visualisation and communication.

Year Plan
Resources.14 is arranged in three-day teaching sessions, every second week (Wednesday to Friday), interspersed with three to four week-long, time-tabled workshops. The year is divided into subject areas. Each area is deepened by lectures and seminars. The joint project work will be carried out in the form of concentrated, successive workshops that will build the project continuously. Resources.14 will begin week 39, 2014 and conclude week 23, 2015. The winter break is from week 52 to week 4. In early spring we will make a longer study and workshop trip in Sweden. This is a 60 ECTS credits course. The cost of course material and travel is 12,000 SEK per student, to be paid in three instalments, 500 SEK of which will be paid as an application fee at the beginning of August. This amount will not be refunded if a student is subsequently prevented from taking part in the course. The project will be formulated as a joint publication and exhibition at the end of the year. The year will conclude with an international conference on a theme decided by the group and responsible teachers. Architect and Professor Henrietta Palmer and artist and lecturer Katarina Nitsch are responsible for the course.

For Resources.14 we are looking for committed individuals who want to explore these issues and, as part of a group, develop their ideas. Applicants should display good depictive skills or relevant experiences, and should be able to formulate their ideas in relation to the theme of the course. Applicants should be architects or landscape architects, city or urban planners, engineers or designers, or from other disciplines – such as photographers, writers, filmmakers, visual artists – with an expressed interest in architecture and urbanism. Applicants should have a university degree at master level or similar. In order to receive ECTS credits and a diploma, students must display commitment and a minimum attendance rate of 70 per cent. The application should include a descriptive text laying out the applicant's motive for attending the course, a representative selection of work samples (5-10), a CV and a passport photograph. Work samples which are the result of a group project must be accompanied by a reference. Applications are made digitally at Separate work samples must be postmarked or handed in to the Royal Institute of Art no later than 9 June 2014. Successful applicants will be notified on 16 June.

For further information:
Katarina Nitsch,
Tfn +46 76 850 12 35

Postal address:

Katarina Nitsch, Resources
The Royal Institute of Art
Box 163 15
SE-103 26 Stockholm