Sweden’s Malmö Art Academy Evicted and Threatened with Closure

The building will be used to host an elementary or a high school.

Salve Malmö Art Academy banner, via change.org.
Salve Malmö Art Academy banner, via change.org.

Sweden’s Malmö Art Academy will be evicted from the premises it has occupied for the past 21 years in 2017, raising fears that the art school could be facing permanent closure as a result.

The municipal government has given Lund University, the institution that operates the academy, one year to vacate the building, citing a pressing need for space for elementary and high schools, Hyperallergic reports.

The academy—which was founded in 1995 and counts artist Nathalie Djurberg among its alumni—has been given until June 30, 2017 as deadline for moving out.

While there are plans for a campus that would unite Lund University’s music, theater, and art academies with its interdisciplinary arts center, 2020 is the earliest the project would be completed and, with no interim solution in place, many fear this could force the art school to close.

Solfrid Söderlind, dean of the faculty of fine and performing arts, has been quick to dismiss those rumors via a statement:

“Lund University has no intention of closing the academy, and the city of Malmö has expressed the intention [of] helping to prepare a workable solution in advance of the academy needing to move out… So there is no question of closure or shut-down of the Malmö Art Academy.”

It seems Söderlind’s words haven’t reassured the students at the academy, who have only learned of the planned eviction this week and immediately launched an online petition in response. Urging the Malmö city council and municipal government to save the academy, the petition has already secured almost 6,000 signatures.

Malmö Art Academy in Sweden. Photo by jorchr via Wikimedia Commons.

Malmö Art Academy in Sweden. Photo by jorchr via Wikimedia Commons.

On the petition’s website, the artist and Malmö Academy lecturer Emily Wardill stated “To lose this institution in Malmö is reckless and myopic,” adding:

I am livid at the suggestion that a school of this quality, that has grown over more than 20 years could be dismantled in 6 months. Malmö Art Academy has been a vital part of the art culture not only in Sweden but internationally and it has been a place of excellence since 1995 inviting esteemed artist and thinkers such as Jürgen Bock, Anders Kreuger, Linda Norden, Michael Portnoy, Joachim Koester, Sarat Maharaj, Gertrud Sandqvist, Hal Foster, Joao Ribas, Kirsty Bell, Haegue Yang, Jimmie Durham, Matts Leiderstam, Julie Ault, Apolonija Šušteršič, Rosa Barba, Lea Porsager, Maj Hasager, Mary Kelly, and Martin Clark to mention just a few. It takes years to build such an unusual and distinctive place of learning and just days to destroy it. Please let us not be so unwise as to take away one of the greatest aspects of this city.

Meanwhile, Johan Österholm, a student from the academy said:

To deprive this Academy of a premise, to stop or ‘pause’ that continuous flow of accumulated knowledge that the Academy creates would be absolutely devastating—not just for Malmö but for the whole Öresund region and Sweden as a whole. This decision has all the signs of being hastily made just in time for the school semester to end (and students scatter for the summer) and municipal politicians going on holiday (thus becoming unreachable for further discussion). We, the students, are heading back to our desks—I highly urge the politicians to do the same.

Representatives from Lund University will meet with the city of Malmö on June 28, “in order to create clear conditions for the Malmö Art Academy’s work in satisfactory premises,” according to Söderlind.


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