RE-InVEST is a EU-project, funded by Horizon, which, according to its web page, “aims to contribute to a more solidary and inclusive EU, through an inclusive, powerful and effective social investment strategy at EU level. Moreover, the project itself adopts a participative approach that gives voice to vulnerable groups and civil society organisations”.

The project started in March 2015 with a duration of 48 months consisting of three reporting periods (12+18+18). In February 2016, I was invited to act as a reviewer / monitor for the RE-InVEST project, together with Prof. Theodora Kostakopoulou. Following the end of the first reporting period on 29 February (2016), the first review meeting, to assess the progress, was held in Brussels, 17 May 2016. At the end of July 2016 we submitted our review report.

Next meeting took place on 22 November 2017 in Brussels, following the second reporting period. We submitted our report just before Christmas. The third and final review meeting is expected to be held in relation to the final conference of RE-InVEST in February 2019. More information on the project can be found here.

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EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum (Oct 2017)

On 25 October 2017, I was invited to give a key-note speech at the conference in Gothenburg of EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum. I have enclosed two emails below from the coordinator from EUROCITIES as I think she explains the event and its purpose as well as my task very well. My presentation can be found in pdf here. There is a lot to say about the European pillar of social rights and my intention is to write a separate article on that later.

5 October 2017
Dear Professor Mikael Stigendal,
My name is Bianca Faragau and I am the coordinator of the EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum. Together with the colleagues in Gothenburg city council, I am organising the upcoming event on 25-26 October in Gothenburg.
Let me first thank you for accepting to take the role of keynote speaker at our high-level event. I have read your impressive CV and I am absolutely certain that you are the right person to open our conference with an inspiring speech about social rights and the role of cities. I know that you have been part in plenty of research projects around the topic of how European societies have developed into states of social inclusion with boundaries appearing mainly in the cities. You surely have a vast knowledge and experience as researcher and thematic expert in the URBACT programme.
I will try to shortly describe our event, which is a political event that happens twice a year and gathers mayors, deputy mayors and city representatives to discuss key issues related to social affairs in their cities. This time we will focus on discussing the role of cities in promoting a more social Europe and in delivering on a European Pillar of Social Rights, which is the most recent initiative launched by the European Commission at the highest level of president Juncker. You can find out more information about this Pillar here:
The entire programme of our event is designed to maximize exchange among cities and with invited stakeholders on the principles and rights enshrined in the Pillar. Two high-level panel debates are scheduled, five workshops and five site visits. On the second day of the event, we will adopt a EUROCITIES statement of commitment from cities to deliver on the European Pillar of Social Rights and to ensure social rights for all (you can see the draft statement in attachment). The entire event is aimed at demonstrating the role of cities in ensuring access to social rights and in voicing the expectations of cities for the future of a social Europe. All this is for the purpose of sending a strong message to the EU and member states ahead of the EU Social Summit on 17 November. Our main plan is to advocate for a stronger role of cities at the table of EU policy-makers based on the argument that cities can do more but need financial support from the EU and national level.
Your role as keynote speaker is to inspire the audience and to trigger the discussions about the role of cities in a social Europe. You will have a maximum of 15 minutes for your speech, which would be best if it is a free speech without PowerPoint or other tools which are usually distracting the audience. The format you could envisage is that of a TED talk that is inspiring and captivating the audience into the subject. As for the content of your speech, it would be great if you could start by thinking from the perspective of a citizen inhabiting in a large city like Malmo and Gothenburg. You could launch some interesting questions, food for thought, about how society and cities in particular have developed into a state or a space for social inclusion. You could bring some inspiring examples from your research about the role of a city in helping citizens access their social rights – education, employment, minimum income, housing etc. – and reach their full potential of inclusion and participation in the city. Then you could point at some clear examples of EU policies – e.g. Youth Guarantee, combatting long-term unemployment – that could not be implemented without the contribution of cities to the implementation. You could also use real examples of projects realized in Malmo or Gothenburg to show how average citizens have benefited from the help / support of the city authority. You could end your speech by raising key questions about how cities could improve their role to ensure social rights for all, even for the most vulnerable, how could cities learn from each other and how could they cooperate with the national and EU authorities to making social Europe a reality.
I would be more than happy to discuss this in further detail with you over the phone in the coming days. When would you be available for a phone call or Skype call? How about Monday, 9 October?
Thank you for registering to our online database – this is excellent!
Best regards,

29 October 2017
Dear Mikael,
A big THANK YOU for your excellent keynote speech at our EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum on Wednesday morning. We’ve received very positive feedback about your speech and the key points you made about the disconnection between the economic and social dimensions of the EU growth model. Not only did all panelists refer to your speech, but it also stimulated discussions among all participants whether in workshops or in coffee or lunch breaks. Many thanks for your great work on the speech and capturing all the most important elements that inspired our further debates.
I would like to kindly ask you to please send me your PPT presentation so that it can be made available to all participants by uploading it together with all materials on our event webpage.
For your information, the event was very successful for us both in terms of organisation and content. The announcement of our EUROCITIES statement ‘Social Rights for All’ received a widespread publicity in both the Swedish and the EU media. You can check out the highlights from our meeting as well as our press release here: The photos and sketch art from the meeting are available here:
Thank you very much once again for your excellent contribution to making our event a success! I sincerely hope that we will continue our good collaboration in the future 😊
With best wishes,

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Lesvos conference (July 2017)

From 2 to 6 July, I was invited to the International Conference on “Making space for socio-spatial and socio-ecological justice in research and action strategies” taking place in the context of the INDIGO research project. The conference was held in Mytilini, Lesvos, Greece at the premises of the Department of Geography at the University of the Aegean. It celebrated 30 years of collaboration in the Network of European Spatial Development Planning (ESDP) and especially the work of prof. Frank Moulaert, leading scholar on the themes of territorial development, social innovation and governance.

Together with Andreas Novy from Vienna University of Economics and Business, I organised and chaired a session on Transformative social innovation with contributions by Chris Kesteloot (KULeuven), Stijn Oosterlynck (University of Antwerp), Andreas Novy and myself. My own presentation can be found in pdf-format here. More information on the conference can be found here.

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Nationell valideringskonferens (maj 2017)

Den 10 maj föreläste jag i Karlskrona på den nationella konferensen om validering. Så här beskrevs syftet med konferensen: ”Fokus är riktat mot hur man organiserar och samverkar kring validering, hur man inom olika verksamhetsområden och för olika målgrupper konkret arbetar med validering samt hur validering inom olika områden kan hänga samman.” Konferensen ingick i det ESF-finansierade projektet Valle 2.0 och flera hundra personer deltog från hela landet. Min presentation kan laddas ner i pdf-format här.

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Boot camp for Nordic Youth Workers (May 2017)

In May 2017, I was invited to give a lecture in Stockholm at a conference within the project Boot camp for Nordic Youth Workers. The project is run by an Icelandic organisation, FFF, with Fritidsforum, Föreningen Norden and Finnish Setlementtiliitto as partners. The project deals with the validation of youth workers but above all with the validation of the informal learning of young people. This is how the project is summarized:

“The project Boot camp for Nordic Youth Workers was born in an Erasmus+ project in June 2015 where FFF and Fritidsforum met members from Setlementti and introduced their organizations and projects. What the organizations learned like so often before was how similar Nordic youth work is mostly built around similar principals and is facing similar problems. An idea was born to bring together experienced youth workers and researchers to create some common solutions which could be implemented in all of the Nordic countries to increase quality and synchronize methods to validate youth work. The goal of the project was to get experienced youth workers, organizations and researchers to gather best practices, knowledge and experience to create a basic training for youth workers, a validation tool for informal learning and a book that gathers the ideology behind the training, the methods and information about the validation tool.”

Programme: “Mikael Stigendal from Malmö Högskola will have a presentation about his research concerning success factors in Youth/Community work. This research should be connected to our idea to point out key competences for persons doing Youth/Community work.” My presentation (in English), building on my work in the EU-project Citispyce, can be downloaded here.

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Det jag ville att Stefan Löfven skulle prata om under Almedalsveckan 2016

Jag ville att Stefan Löfven skulle prata om frihet. Det skrev jag en artikel om. Den publicerades i SDS och kan laddas ner här. Med artikeln ville jag problematisera begreppet frihet och försöka bidra till att vrida det ur händerna på nyliberalerna. De har haft monopol på frihetsbegrepp under flera decennier. Samtidigt har beroendet ökat mellan oss alla som bor här på denna planet. Det har blivit så uppenbart. Då behövs det ett nytt frihetsbegrepp. Frihet – vad är det?

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Jag har skrivit en ny bok. Den heter “Samhällsgränser. Ojämlikhetens orsaker och framtidsmöjligheterna i en storstad som Malmö” och ges ut på Liber. Evelina Lindén har skrivit en artikel om boken på MAH:s hemsida här. Boken har tre syften. För det första syftar den till att förklara vad de senaste decenniernas ökande ojämlikhet i en stad som Malmö beror på. För att kunna förklara det krävs det ett samhällsperspektiv. Mitt brukar kallas kulturell politisk ekonomi. Boken syftar, för det andra, till att introducera och försöka vidareutveckla detta samhällsperspektiv. Det ska jag göra genom att förklara ojämlikheten. På så vis hänger förklaring och förståelse ihop. Vill man förstå ojämlikheten och förklara vad den beror på, är det inte svårt att motivera valet av en storstad. Storstäderna har kommit att bli centrala i de senaste decenniernas samhällsutveckling; för det första som noder och drivkrafter, för det andra som platser där klyftorna är störst och, för det tredje, som kreativa sammanhang där man skapar nya lösningar. Malmö är ett intressant exempel i alla dessa tre avseenden. Det tredje avseendet anknyter till mitt tredje syfte. Det gäller lösningarna. Bokens första syfte kan sägas gälla problemen. Det vore dock främmande för mig och den forskning som jag har bedrivit om jag inte sa någonting om lösningarna. Det ska jag därför också göra, om än ganska kort. Givet kapitalismen, är det möjligt att utveckla ett anständigt liv utan klyftor i en storstad, och i så fall hur?

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