On the Run – Voices From the New Arrivals

It was the largest wave of refugees since World War II. Over the course of 2015, 163 000 people sought asylum in Sweden. For two years, ethnologist Marsanna Petersen and photographer Anna Bank followed some of the new arrivals that came to Helsingborg. The exhibition will display material from their award-winning documentary project with a focus on some of the families that settled here.

Originating from Syria and Afghanistan, some refugees were highly educated and had professions while others were illiterate and had no education. The people fleeing came from a variety of backgrounds and represented various demographics. Equally diverse were the reasons for seeking asylum as well as experiences of how they were received in Sweden. The exhibition summarises the families’ stories through interviews and comprehensive visual imagery.

As a visitor you will gain insight into these families’ vulnerable situations. As a fellow human, we hope that the exhibition will help create understanding for what it has been like for the refugees that arrived in Sweden. Why were they forced to leave their home? How did they get here? How do they perceive their existence? How does one deal with a daily life of anticipation and uncertainty? What is it like living day to day in a new country when you don’t even know that you can stay there?

In the spring of 2018, the documentation was awarded second prize at DOSS, (The Documentation of Contemporary Swedish Society) which is a network for people working with contemporary social documentation for Swedish museums and other cultural institutions. The exhibition On the Run is also part of the platform Sweden Soon, in which universities and museums from around the country participate in a program to promote understanding and help explain changes happening in our society.

The documentation was compiled by ethnologist Marsanna Petersen and by photographer Anna Bank of Kulturmagasinet/Helsingborg’s Museums. The exhibition was produced by Charlotta Jönsson of Dunkers kulturhus.

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