While research on the role of the street in urban environments has highlighted diverse topics such as comfort, inclusivity and social interactions, it has yet to properly engage with the role embodied and applied culture plays in the creation of diverse experiences. This study explores the relationship between the fixed fabric of an urban fragment, the fluid negotiation of street space by an established migrant community and their cultural requirements and the resulting hybrid spaces that emerge.

Focusing on the La Chapelle neighbourhood in Paris that has been home to a displaced Sri Lankan Tamil population since the 1980’s we explore the contribution and adaption of cultural heritage(s) to the western street. This layering of culture has a role in the diversity of the third space of the street and we argue that ‘super-diverse’ neighbourhoods provide more resilience as they are formed by processes of negotiation and amalgamation over time.

The UmArts Displacement and Hospitality working group brings together researchers from different disciplines exploring the relationships between host and guest in relation to migration and displacement in the north of Sweden.  Several researchers across UmArts are investigating the urgent relations of hospitality and care involved in moving between countries and cities, from the physical process of moving a house, to rethinking Swedish Building standards, and the challenges of addressing issues of migration and the right to work.

In 2022 the ‘Moving North’ project was awarded a New European Bauhaus / ArkDes Vision I Norr fund for developing proposals to increase social integration in the city by exploring forms of reciprocity between migrants, refugees and host communities.  Moving North was a cross-sectoral team consisting of an artist, a curator, architects, a cultural geographer, architecture students and the organization Hej Framling. Based on a strong foothold in northern Sweden and with experience of both collaboration and participant-based methods in places with increased migration and relocation, Moving North critically explored how different placemaking processes can promote social participation and social sustainability. Their findings are recorded in the short film ‘Folketstad: A city of many parts’ 17:40 which address the challenges of restrictive migration and labour laws on people’s well-being at a time when the North is rapidly expanding and recruiting a new workforce.

The Moving North group presented their research at the Transformations 22 Conference ‘Artistic Research in a Time of Change’ at Vetenskapens hus, Luleå University of Technology, 17-18 November 2022; and at the European Conference in Umeå, February 2023.

VR Conference, Luleå, Sweden, 17 November 2022, 15.00-16.30

UmArts is hosting the Planetary Entanglements panel discussion at the Vetenskapsrådet conference Transformations ‘22: artistic research in times of change with Toms Kokins and the Moving North research group.

UmArts supports critically engaged practice-based architectural, art and design research working in partnership with communities to investigate urgent planetary challenges. The commitment to planetary thinking opens up new perspectives on issues of migration and wellbeing in relation to placemaking and the environment. Planetarity enables us to conceptualise our relationship to each other and the environment as conditions of living on planet earth, rather than the capitalist instruments of globalization, or the inter-state partnerships of internationalism.

This panel brings together researchers investigating forms of reciprocity between migrants, settlers and host communities, investigating the boundaries of colonization and Empire in Sweden, Palestine, Turkey, and Latvia.  The panel will give short presentations about their research followed by a discussion of their entanglements in relation to the discussion of parallel communities in Sweden and European geopolitics during the 21st Century Russian war.

Speakers: Toms Kokins, Architect/Artist, Lecturer, Umeå School of Architecture, Umeå University. Professor Sandi Halil, Artist/Architect, Decolonising Architecture, Lund University. Amalia Katapodis, Architect, Umeå School of Architecture; Navid Ghafouri, Architect; Professor Robert Mull, Architect, Global Free Unit, University of Brighton; Umeå School of Architecture. Chair: Dr Ele Carpenter, Professor of Interdisciplinary Art and Culture, Director of UmArts.

Mull, Katapodis and Shirke are researching how displaced populations establish and maintain their identity and wellbeing whilst in transit and during the process of permanent settlement. They are working in the Turkish City of Izmir where Syrian refugees have become trapped following the 2016 EU- Turkey deal. With students from Umeå University and local partners they will use participatory methods to design and build a classroom on the roof of TIAFI Community Centre which provides practical and educational support to Syrian woman and children.

This project will not only improve the lives of two thousand vulnerable refugees but provide new knowledge and best practice as to how architecture and design can engage with one of the most urgent challenges facing our global society. The need is immediate and growing and we are privileged to play a small part in addressing this challenge by realising this project.