Opið samtal 2023

Support, solidarity and resources | 2023

We began the year 2023 by searching for partners to develop with us ideas to support us in reducing waste. The library was seeking collaborators to develop projects on diverse versions of share economies. The next topic was on upward social mobility by access to university education. The topic was brought to the platform by Markus Meckl Professor at University of Akureyri. The University of Iceland and University of Akureyri were collaborating on preparatory program to ease immigrants and refugees’ access to higher education. The aim was to engage in a discussion with immigrants and refugees interested in university studies to understand what kind of support is needed. Three intercultural storytellers facilitated the discussion in smaller groups in English, Spanish, Icelandic and Russian. The lack of information flow was mentioned as well as possibilities of using public spaces to support more informal ways of exchanges and knowledge sharing like the library.    

Opið samtal í hópum

Þátttakendur á vinnustofu

Support can take on different shapes. After the first two discussions a user contacted us with a new topic. She wanted to discuss poverty in Iceland in an open conversation and the shame that comes with it. The aim was to find ways to give the right kind of support for people who need it. How can we spread solidarity and social support? Could the library be the place that connects people with associations and charities who would like to give support?   

With our neighbors in hafnar.haus we engaged in a collective problem-solving exercise. The aim was to find ways to make workplaces and communities more open and welcoming for people who use diverse languages. Arnar Sigurðsson and Anna Marjankowska led us through an exercise in defining the problem and seeking solutions collectively. The discussion at the library was then transferred into the digital space of Missions.dev / Hugmyndaþorp. This was an experiment in moving a democratic discussion from a physical space into the digital sphere to connect people and continue the engagement.

Tengjast umræðu

Þátttakendur á vinnustofu

The second half of the year we focused on social and material basic needs. How is the access of marginalized groups to social support and community to improve their living conditions? How do people experience belonging to a part of a collective action like going on a strike with their union? Could active citizens use the library for solidary work? The creative producers and artists living in the city have been seeking working spaces to develop their craft and visions. We met to understand the needs of independent art groups and what ideas we would like to see come alive in the city to  make it a hub for creatives. The library offered a space to gather to connect with others and work out political issues.  

The last exchange was on universal basic income and other forms of unconditional support. If our basic needs could be secured, would we have different habits and occupations? The usage of public places like the library might become more frequent to meet our social needs, if we would not spend as much time at workplaces. All participants agreed that they would find it worthwhile to take part in an experiment on how a universal basic income could change our daily lives.

We thank all those that contributed to the discussion and put their topics on the 2023 agenda.  

Þátttakendur á vinnustofu

Þátttakendur á vinnustofu

Opið samtal is a platform where we practice respectful and open exchange. Join us as we explore different formats of discussions at the library and gain new skills in engaging in topics that are close to our hearts. 

Further information 
Dögg Sigmarsdóttir 
Project Manager | Civic Participation 

UpdatedFriday December 29th 2023, 14:19