Issues of institutional racism, power structures and belonging concern us all. A new podcast series by Reykjavik City Library raises questions on structural racism, cultural narratives, privilege and belonging. Artists, activists and authors from Ós Pressan examine inclusivity within the cultural sphere of Reykjavik. 

Subscribe to the Inclusive Public Spaces podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or check out the intro episode below. The first full length episode is online Saturday June 13th 2020.

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Episode Intro

Reykjavik City Library examines with artists and activists inclusivity within the cultural sphere of Reykjavik and beyond.

Are our public spaces inclusive?  Who has the power to take up space? Who has a voice?  Artists and activists discuss questions on belonging, visibility and representation.

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Episode 1: Cultural Narratives with Ewa Marcinek and Anna Wojtyńska

How do we construct and deconstruct the stories that surround us and direct us in everyday life? Ewa Marcinek and Anna Wojtyńska describe how cultural narratives explain the lives we live and create our image of the world. They discuss the importance of storytelling in understanding and negotiating the meaning of our shared realities. Ewa proposes gossip as an effective negotiation strategy in countering master narratives.

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Episode 2: Structural Racism and Privilege with Chanel Björk Sturludóttir

Does everyone have a racial identity? Chanel Björk Sturludóttir discusses the impact of structural racism on society and the importance of mirroring yourself in your environment. She talks about whiteness as a subtle norm that is almost unrecognizable in everyday life. Experiences of others automatically become insignificant, if they don’t conform to this norm. Any talk of a post-racial society, where everyone is colorblind, would deny people the opportunity to share experiences of being othered. Chanel shares her critical thinking on race as a social construct as well as her encounters with structural racism in Iceland, a force which can transcend the good or bad intentions of individuals.

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Episode 3: Institutional Power Structures and Belonging with Daría Sól Andrews and Helen Cova

How do we make the Icelandic cultural scene more inclusive? Who’s bodies are not seen in cultural spaces and who’s voices are not being heard? Daría Sól Andrews and Helen Cova discuss representation within cultural institutions and the lack of diversity. Critical questions are not an attempt to shame or attack institutions. They are a necessary process towards a more equitable allocation of resources and power.

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Episode 4: Inclusive Public Spaces with Melanie Ubaldo, Nermine El Ansari and Wiola Ujazdowska

How can art disrupt and intervene publicly, while expressing the deeply personal? Reykjavik artists Melanie Ubaldo, Nermine El Ansari and Wiola Ujazdowska reflect on the performance and exhibition of their works as part of the Inclusive Public Spaces project. What voices are missing from the collective narrative, and how can artists bring these to public awareness?

What are the implications for Iceland of the global conversation on structural racism, belonging, and inclusivity? What is the role of artists, and what interventions are needed to realize equality for all?

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