19-25 February I Location: Foyer
Svalbard is an Arctic archipelago at 78 degrees parallel north under Norwegian sovereignty, with its biggest settlement of Longyearbyen (pop. 2,500). The majority of the inhabitants come from Norway, but about 38% are non-Norwegian. In 2021, there were over 100 children living in Longyearbyen with other than Norwegian citizenship. Almost 60 were in school age. About 30 children come from the Philippines, there are children from Thailand, Russia, Sweden, Ukraine, Germany, Finland, Denmark and other (altogether almost 20) countries worldwide. Not only do these children meet a very particular Arctic place, but their lives are also impacted by the specific Svalbard legislation. Issues often related to migration, such as transnationalism, hybrid identities, language barrier or racism are amplified by the Svalbard legal landscape. Social services, health care and access to education are limited, years lived in Svalbard do not count for gaining a residence permit or Norwegian citizenship. Migrating to Svalbard does not mean the same as migrating to Norway, and the challenging experience of non-Norwegian children living in Longyearbyen is heavily under-communicated, both in Norway and internationally. The exhibition is a joint project of a social anthropologist, a photographer and five great kids. Zdenka Sokolickova (2019–2022 guest researcher at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo; now postdoc at the Arctic Centre, University of Groningen) conducted research on offspring of non-Norwegian migrants to Longyearbyen, with the support of Svalbard Science Forum. Thanks to financial support from the Fritt Ord Foundation, Dagmara Wojtanowicz documented the lifeworlds of five non-Norwegian teenagers living in Longyearbyen. The exhibition presents 19 images giving a glimpse into the everyday life of 5 adolescents. It was presented in January 2022 in Longyearbyen, in January 2023 in Oslo, and ASSW23 in Vienna is its third edition.
Organiser: Zdenka Sokolíčková