On December 2, more than 60 women gathered to share life stories and discuss experiences of being an immigrant woman in Malmö. All part of the project 100 Years of Immigrant Women’s Life and Work in Malmö, run by Malmö museum and the network Feminist Dialog in cooperation with ABF and researchers from the Living Archives project at Malmö University.
The collaboration deals with central issues relating to public memory and archiving. One such issue is the tension/difference between collecting for storing and exhibiting and then on the other hand: a sharing of stories and experiences to create dialogue, movement and change. Reporting back to those participating, and those who are just interested to be informed, is an important part of the process and movement. As a first step we compiled a Newsletter (here in Swedish), the first in a series.
Parvin Ardalan, the initiator of the project, introduced the workshop:
This project is a small step towards re-reading, re-writing and re-thinking the history of immigrant women in Malmö. Who are the immigrant women? What do they want to say? How do they identify themselves and how are they identified by others? How did they come to Malmö and how did they live here? What did they do? How did the society behave towards them? Which memories do they carry within; from the past and until now? What role have they played in building the city of Malmö?
The aim of this project – which really is a movement and a process – is to document stories by interviewing, collecting life stories, holding seminars and workshops, organizing exhibitions and etc. With the participants tales we would like to question and explore responses and answers to promote a collective discussion with and about immigrant women in Malmö.
In addition to introductions (Parvin Ardalan, and Anna Svenson and Eva Hansen from Malmö Museums), the workshop had a guest speaker, Rakel Chukri, Sydsvenskan, but most importantly: participants were invited to express and discuss their own memories and ideas in small groups. The group talks were moderated by other immigrant women. Behind the talks, a temporary Timeline portrayed issues of work and life in 8 decades of women immigration since the 1940s.
Erling Björgvinsson and Anders Høg Hansen, Malmö University Living Archives researchers.