Att lyssna till koloniala spår

2020.10.09 - 2020.10.09

Listening to colonial traces in the public space

On October 9, 1847, the last enslaved man was released from the island of Saint-Barthélemy, then a Swedish colony. Therefore, October 9 was established as a day of remembrance for the abolition of slavery in Sweden.

Lectures and panel discussion on colonial history and its visible and invisible traces.


Date: 9 October 
Time: 6 pm
Venue: Göteborgs Litteraturhus, Lagerhuset, Heurlin's place 1b.
Registration: RSVP to Limited number of participants on site.
The event can be experienced remotely and will be streamed live via the biennial’s facebook page.
Language: Swedish and English 


The Remembrance Day 9th October serves as a reminder of Sweden's colonial past and how consequential injustices, racism, lack of diversity and underrepresentation are still at play today. We are in a moment when globally voices are being raised in protest against racial injustices and direct actions are being taken to address sculptures in our public spaces as well as their symbol in collective memory. Throughout the city uncommented memory markers bring forward the ghosts of slavery and of an anachronic world view. But whose story is being told? What voices are being heard? Have you heard the sculptures whisper? 

Gothenburg played a central role in Sweden's involvement in colonial trade. And marks of its connection to the world are visible in the city. An example is the sculpture De fem världsdelarna (The Five Continents), at Järntorget, a fountain made by Tore Strindberg in 1927. What does it tell us today? Researchers Lena Sawyer and Nana Osei – Kofi invite you to a personal meeting with the sculpture based on a memory work and collective knowledge. In the shape of performance and conversation, a different starting point is offered for looking at the city with new eyes and listening to both alternative stories and your own voice. 

Maria Ripenberg, journalist and author of the book Historiens vita fläckar : om rasismens rötter i Sverige (History’s White Spots: On the Roots of Rasism in Sweden) gives an introduction to underdiscussed colonial historical facts in Swedish history. 
Participants: Maria Ripenberg, journalist, honorary doctor at Uppsala University and author of Historiens vita fläckar: om rasismens rötter i Sverige, Lena Sawyer, Associate Professor, Department of Social Work, University of Gothenburg, Nana Osei – Kofi, PhD, Associate Professor of Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Oregon State University, Therese Svenson, PhD in Literary Studies, University of Gothenburg. 

The event is a collaboration between Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art, the Network VitKrit, the Network Västsverige mot rasism (West Sweden against Racism) (Västra Götaland County Administrative Board, Region Västra Götaland and the City of Gothenburg) & Gothenburg House of Literature (Göteborgs Litteraturhus) 

Photo: Malin Griffiths