Searching for social: Adressing segregation with social art in favour of empowerment & inclusion

Examensarbete för masterexamen
Master's Thesis
Architecture and urban design (MPARC), MSc
Sigesgård, Linnéa
Segregation has been linked to socio-economic inequality and becomes a threat to democracy when it is causing unequal rights to the city. The need to connect and belong to like-minded forms social groups conforming in culture, background and socioeconomic status. Over the last decades polarisation has increased resulting in conflicting preferences, beliefs and behaviours. Social art can be a medium to fight forces of social exclusion and to raise awareness about a specific problem with the ultimate goal to create positive social change. An art institution is an organisation founded for cultural or social purposes but it risks to lose its focus to be a public space offering knowledge and democratic ideas. Art institutions need to adapt and focus more on social change. General research about segregation is common but its relation to institutions and specifically the democratic roles of art institutions is less studied in comparison. Public buildings are crucial for the social well-being of a city and their importance for democracy and community needs to be stressed. The aim with the thesis is to investigate how segregation has become a deep-rooted problem in Gothenburg and how social art and an art institution can respond to social segregation. To investigate what an art institution needs to be a democratic and social platform for all citizens. The design aims to specifically target groups with low socioeconomic standard. The thesis is based on research for design with an iterative process. Theoretical studies with literature review are conducted in parallel with site analysis and design. The analysis are based on Gothenburg, on a regional and local level. The site for the design proposal is Bältesspännarparken, a park in central Gothenburg where people from all over the city cross paths. The aim has been answered by proposing a re-imagination of the conventional institution, a public building representing social meetings, democracy and social art in one organisation. The conclusions show that it is important to put strong emphasis on people and identity and to design space where citizens can socialise and engage democratically. The physical appearance of a building impact how attractive the content becomes. Architecture alone cannot make a public building integrated and the program and content has a lot of weight for the institution to reach its social and democratic goals.
Segregation, socioeconomics , Social constructions, social art , Inclusion, democracy , Art institutions, empowerment
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