Contact person:
Robert Nilsson Mohammadi
  • Riksbankens jubileumsfond
Responsible at Malmö University:
Robert Nilsson Mohammadi
Collaborators and other project members:
  • Helamalmö
  • Malmös samlade röster (MSR)
  • Malmö konsthall
  • Svenskt Queer Initiativ (SQI)
  • Teater InterAkt
  • Tehara media
Time frame:
01 January 2020 - 30 June 2022

About the project

Malmö Life Stories is a participatory oral history project developed by individual actors and associations within the civil society in Malmö, cultural workers and scholars. The purpose is to reintroduce the voices of inhabitants of Malmö with experiences of migration and/or of being the racial Other in Swedish society in the narrative of Malmö. We want to create conversations and arenas where inhabitants of Malmö can develop their own and shared stories about themselves and the city where we live together. Our approach is not to give voice, but to care for each other’s stories.

An important part of our training is to be interviewed ourselves. In the future, everyone we interview will be asked if they also want to be trained to become interviewers. Malmö’s identity is disputed. In an influential story, claims of criminality, black economy and (allegedly) failed multiculturalism are used to create the image of a scary city. This story presents Malmö’s inhabitants as a problem for the society. In contrast, another frequently occurring narrative portrays Malmö as an exciting place that is open to the world.

This story is designed to attract investors and middle-class taxpayers. The effects are that the multiculture that exists in Malmö becomes a background to the life of the middle class and that many voices are marginalized and silenced. How would Malmö’s inhabitants present themselves to each other? What would they tell about themselves and about what is important in their lives?

Project goals

The aim for Malmö Life Stories for 2020 is for the participants to train themselves and each other as interviewers. All of the participants in Malmö Life Stories have previous experiences of working with life stories, but for different purposes: activism, stage production, exhibition activities and scholarship. Through a series of workshops, we learn from each other’s knowledge while developing a new and common way of working.

Another goal for 2020 is to develop democratic forms of work and parallel projects within the framework of the joint process. Therefore, what we do will leave room for the individual associations participating to develop their own operations, but also to create shared visions about the city as well as general knowledge of, for example, the ethics and methodology of the community, urban change, the creation and dissemination of votes. At the beginning of 2021, we will submit an application for funding to create a national oral training and research center for oral history that will be co-owned by Malmö University, the Museum of Movements and civil society organizations.

Our approach is inspired by the Montreal Life Stories Project conducted at the Concordia Center for Oral History and Digital Storytelling (CCOHDS) 2007–2012. During 2020, we are in an exchange with the CCOHDS.