Comdev Projects

Under the pedagogical leadership of ComDev’s Hugo Boothby and Anders Hög-Hansen as well as Caucasus StudiesKarina Vamling and in collaboration with colleagues from Flinders University in Adelaide and Tbilisi State University, the Boundaries and Identities in Contemporary Georgia event brought together more than 40 participants in the Georgian capital.

This joint teaching seminar and policy simulation exercise focused on the history and contemporary socio-political challenges of Georgia and brought together more than 30 students from the three universities. In addition to many regional academic experts staff members from the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM), the Foreign Ministry and local NGOs provided insights into the complexities, conflicts and cooperation that shape Georgia at the moment.

In preparation of the hands-on policy simulation led by Maryanne Kelton and Verity Kingsmill from Flinders University, ComDev student and film-maker Connor Ashleigh prepared teaching material near the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) between Georgia and South Ossetia which will be included in a short documentary that he is currently producing.

A field trip to an IDP settlement in Gori near the ABL provided first-hand experience and discussions with EUMM field staff, the local NGO Civil Forum as well as residents.

Karina Vamling shared some of her reflections in a recent post on the Caucasus Studies portal.

As part of the week-long visit, Rebecka Letteval, Dean of the KS faculty, also renewed the MOU between Malmö University and Tbilisi State University to ensure future collaborations.

The faculties of Culture and Society (KS) and Education and Society (LS) have a launched a joint research project entitled, Conviviality at the Crossroads, as part of the university’s strategic transition to full research university in 2018.

Professor Oscar Hemer will lead the project which will bring together academic researchers, artists and other practitioners with shared interests not only in societal challenge but also in transgressing genre boundaries and exploring new methodological approaches.

This new project can be seen as a continuation of the Transit Europe project that was carried out 2015-2016 which put the ‘refugee crisis’ in Europe in a global perspective. The imminent societal challenge this network aims to address is “the combined roots and responses to these crises: the manifestations of identity politics and xenophobia in a world increasingly characterised by the flexible mobility of people, ideas, images and things.”

The network which includes Professor Maja Povrzanovic Frykman and PhD students Ioanna Tsoni and Erliza Lopez Pedersen (pictured below) aims to investigate and understand the visions in circulation as well as the communicative processes through which these new imaginaries are articulated, and the way some of them attempt to echo and reflect into politics (formal and informal). It brings together researchers and practitioners to explore both top-down and bottom-up visions – which may challenge what has been so far understood as the “core central values of Europe”.

To the extent that the so called ‘European values’ treasure participation and inclusiveness, and need to contest an increasing polarization liable to lead to massive social exclusions, a major challenge is to find ways to engage in “cross-cutting communication” where people with very different backgrounds are able to engage in meaningful public dialogue, from where  “convivial” understandings of the space we share as Europe, or Europes in the plural, may emerge.

The principal aim with the multidisciplinary network is three-fold:

  • to explore conceptual tools to analyse and understand the challenges being faced
  • to experiment with innovative methodological approaches that straddle art and the academia – Cultural Studies, Urban Studies, Anthropology, Political Science, Philosophy, Media- and Communication Studies, Pedagogy, Creative Writing, in combination with artistic interventions in public space
  • to propose strategic interventions

Among the ideas and concepts that will be investigated are conviviality, cosmopolitanism and creolization.

Activities will consist of a series of seminars/workshops from May 2017 to January 2018 in Malmö and Berlin. The concluding event will be a conference, aiming at producing a publication, and outlining one or more research proposals. The aim is to coordinate the seminars and workshops with PhD seminars and/or with activities in other academic networks.

ComDev researcher Anders Hög-Hansen is part of the Living Archives project at Malmö University. Below is the project’s latest newsletter with an update from the ‘Women Making History’ project in which he was involved as well:


The 100 Years of Immigrant Women’s Life and Work in Malmö bilingual newsletter No. 1 (2015) – made by the Women 100 project, Living Archives and ABF – is now out. It can be downloaded below and at the Women Making History website.

Text: Erling Björgvinsson

The newsletter reports on the inauguration of the Women Making History exhibition at Malmö museum. It recounts the panel debate “We are Residents of Malmö – Women, Migration, Life and Work”, which emphasized how public institutions need to become better at engaging in respectful dialogue if women – far from the labor market – are to enter it. It also addressed how the situation for migrant women has radically changed, mostly to the worse, since the 1960s.

» Download Newsletter No. 1, 2015 (6.7 MB) in Swedish and in English.

Methods develop as the movement evolves
It also reports from the cartoon workshops arranged together with Tusen Serier and postcard collage workshops arranged together with interaction design master students, as part of the Feminist Festival program in Folkets Park. Through the workshops the project tried out two new methods for sharing and collecting histories. Women Making History believes various methods, which are adjusted according to specific situations, need to be developed as the movement evolves.

Furthermore, the newsletter highlights some of the issues addressed in the film “Where We Stand”. Topics addressed are how women organizations could collaborate to affect the established political sphere, the role mother’s have played in paving the way for their children so that they have a better chance to become part of the Swedish society, and how the women negotiate and invent a fluid hybrid identity although societal forces often frame them in more stereotypical ways.

Making stories public
The newsletter format was developed because the Women Making History wishes not only to gather histories that become archived, but also to establish a dialogical space between the participating women. Both the newsletter and the Women Making History website play a crucial role in this dialogue where the project reports back to the women on the activities and where the women can see how their stories and opinions have been edited. The newsletters and the website thus acknowledge the women’s participation and stories by making them public. They also give the women the opportunity to criticize and object to how it has been interpreted and remediated.

The newsletters and the project website are media spaces where the Women Making History can publish without taking into consideration institutional needs and constraints. It allows the project to more freely critically address women immigrant history, topic wise as well as how it should be visually expressed.

The Women Making History website has the double function of being an explorative archive that is updated, as new events are carried through. It thus both works as the most up-to-date “news” site for the project and as a growing archive. The website has been sparsely edited, as all the posts are posted on the first page and accessed secondarily through a few broad topic headings. How to explore the website is therefore to a large degree up to the visitors. The newsletter, on the other hand, is more heavily edited as it highlights, categorizes, describes and discusses the Women Making History activities, which many of the participating women have asked for.

A homage to feminist magazines
This third newsletter comes with a new visual identity. The first two had a fairly anonymous institutional and modernist visual expression, which did not represent the sentiment of Women Making History. The new visual expression pays homage to various feminist magazines from the 1970s and onward from the Middle East, South America, and the Nordic countries.

» See previous newsletters from 2013 and 2014.

» Learn more about the Women 100 project

This post first appeared on the Living Archives website

EMPOWERHOUSE – Sustainable Community Radio Training Course

by Hugo Boothby April 13, 2015 ComDev

Great news for those working within Community Radio. Our colleague Birgitte Jallov has just announced a 7 week, 7 module Sustainable Community Radio Management Course starting May 13th. Birgitte was one of the teachers on the Advances in Communication for Development course given last autumn. Birgitte gave an excellent workshop on communication planning that was greatly […]

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Communication for Rural Development and Social Change – New Global Research Initiative

by Tobias Denskus April 1, 2015 Comdev News

Excellent news from our ComDev & Glocal Classroom colleagues from the University of Guelph! We are pleased to share the announcement that the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and four universities have formed the Communication for Rural Development and Social Change – Global Research Initiative (GRI). The universities include the University of the Philippines Los […]

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ComDev alumni interviews: ComDev graduate completed her PhD

by Rebecca Bengtsson December 10, 2014 Alumni

Johanna Stenerson is one of the first ComDev graduates to complete their PhD. Johanna graduated from ComDev in 2006, and after having worked in Nicaragua as a programme analyst in a civil society organisation she was accepted for doctoral studies at Örebro University, Sweden. In November she defended her PhD thesis “Citizens in the Making. […]

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Glocal Classroom: Seminar at Flinders University

by Rebecca Bengtsson November 26, 2014 ComDev

Voices from Timor-Leste Seminar and Simulation Three days of intensive collaboration has come to an end – for now. Everyone agreed that both the seminar and the following simulation were successful, and that there lies a lot of potential in developing the concept further. Below are a few voices about the three days. A big thank […]

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The Glocal Classroom. Timor-Leste Intensive: 24-25 November 2014

by Rebecca Bengtsson November 11, 2014 ComDev

‘Timor-Leste – Challenges of a New State in the Asian Century’  The Flinders University contribution to the Glocal Classroom takes the form of an academic topic/seminar on Timor-Leste.  This is a young state, geographically close to Australia, and situated within a global context known as the Asian Century. See the full programme here: Flinders Glocal Classroom programme The seminar will […]

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Book release – the last book in Oscar Hemer’s Argentina trilogy launched today

by Rebecca Bengtsson November 5, 2014 ComDev

On 5 November, ComDev’s Oscar Hemer launched the concluding novel of the Argentina trilogy, Misiones, which he has been working on since 1997. The official launch took place at K3, the School of Arts and Communication. – It was with great joy that I returned to writing fiction after having spent a couple of year writing on my […]

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The Quality Project report

by Rebecca Bengtsson November 4, 2014 ComDev

In the first round of evaluations by the Swedish Board of Higher Education, the master’s programme in Communication for Development (ComDev) at Malmö University was one of the few education programmes that obtained the highest mark (very high quality). In recognition of this achievement, Malmö University was in 2013 granted a special “quality award” amounting […]

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