March 8, 2021

Of Public Interest

Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm

22 July Memorial Site, Sørbråten/Utøya, Norway. Illustration: Jonas Dahlberg Studio.

What is referred to as “public space”—and the activities that occur within it—is increasingly surveilled, politicized, and privatized. To work in this context is a complex task, where one is faced with various regulations, public policies, profit-driven interests, as well as differing goals, attitudes and aesthetics. What is—and also what is not—of public interest has never been more important.

This one-year interdisciplinary post-master course at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm focuses on practice-based thinking and making, exploring and expanding the potential for and importance of artistic involvement when shaping societies’ common spaces. It comes at a time of clear and urgent need to rethink the values that our society is built on.

The course offers the possibility to critically explore the changes our societies are facing while avoiding binary perspectives to create new narratives. The course aim is to give tools to construct new arenas, both inside and outside the world of commissions and exhibitions. During the course, we use experimental methods to develop actual projects that aim to be part of rewriting our common spaces, proposing alternative imaginaries.

The course operates as a platform for collective learning, for new collaborations and as a hub for professionals from art, architecture, landscape architecture, curatorial practices and other related fields. It divides into two semesters during one academic year. While the first term focuses on the development of an interdisciplinary project undertaken in smaller groups and conducted with an external collaborator, the second term focuses on the production of individually developed propositions.

Between the course blocks, participants continue to develop work and research independently. During the past year the course format has adapted, with teaching taking place online and on site in parallel. This switch acted as a catalyst for establishing methods for group work and a safe discursive space, with opportunities for formal and informal dialogues between teaching weeks. We therefore seek motivated applicants willing to contribute to the course in 2021/22 and to adapt with us.

The concrete program will be developed in line and around the progress and direction of the projects that the participants are working with during the year. To facilitate this, we have established collaborations in the fields of art and architecture with external partners who, together with us, are interested in experimenting and exploring the possibility of realizing actual projects. We also run a second year at half-time study pace—open for participants to apply following completion of the one-year postmaster course—that fosters an ongoing professional network and focuses on production, working with collaborators to implement, facilitate and produce actual projects.

Of Public Interest (OPI) is a studio, founded by the artist Jonas Dahlberg. The studio is an active network for experimentation and collaboration. Through the format of the postmaster course, led by Jonas Dahlberg together with curator and lecturer Jasmine Hinks, we critically examine the languages and methods used by collaborators and colleagues from different fields. Honing our awareness of these languages—verbal, visual, textual, physical—creates a momentum for interdisciplinary partnerships and debates, opening up processes that otherwise would be inaccessible.

The course offers access to a wide international network of professionals, institutions and guest lecturers. Guest voices invited in to listen to and speak with during the last semesters include:

Assemble, Raqs Media Collective, Cooking Sections, Jumana Manna, Hanni Kamaly, Joar Nango, Unscene Architecture (Manijeh Verghese & Maddie Kessler), Alfredo Jaar, Alba Baeza, Ed D’Souza, Goldin + Senneby, Marjetica Potrč, Mary Ellen Caroll, Juan Canela, Ken Lum and Monument Lab, Runo Lagomarsino, Lea Porsager, Eva González-Sancho, Theodor Ringborg, Katie Paterson and Kieran Long.

Read more about the course and apply here.

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