The Role of Public Art in the Nordic Cultural Model: A Research Symposium on Renegotiations of Swedish Public Art Policies from the 1930s to the Present

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This symposium explores historical and contemporary dimensions of public art as a strategy for implementing culture in welfare policy. In Sweden, it was established in the 1930s, as in the other Nordic countries, it is characterised by the principle of equality, which guarantees access to art for all. This ideal also underlies the state agency for public art in Sweden, the Public Art Agency Sweden, which was established in 1937. While public art can be seen as a clear example of the welfare state's biopolitical intention to nurture citizens and enable their participation in the further development of democratic culture, the socio-political impact of state-commissioned public art remains largely unclear. The scholars and public art professionals invited to this symposium will critically reassess the concept of public art from a Swedish perspective, where the state and municipalities have a long history of commissioning artworks for government institutions such as universities, prisons, and military facilities as well as for open public spaces.
Period29 Jan 2024
Event typeConference
LocationStockholm, SwedenShow on map


  • Public Art
  • Nordic Models