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Photo of Nina Gren

Nina Gren


Photo of Nina Gren

Creativity within urban gardening at times of emergency

Kreativitet inom stadsodling i kristider


  • Nina Gren

Summary, in English

Creativity often erupts as individuals reshape tradition in the light of changing historical circumstances. This presentation focuses on creativity within urban gardening projects as an answer to worries about ecological crisis. It builds on ethnographic research during 2017-2018 among urban gardeners in the Malmö-Lund area, Sweden. The interlocutors, especially project coordinators, expressed a sense of ecological emergency. They worried about the future and aimed to re-direct urban life to more sustainable ways of living. As is often the case, children connoted the future for urban gardeners and all the projects had some activities that targeted children. In creative ways, urban gardeners developed events and workshops for children that for instance involved storytelling, sowing and planting, harvesting and cooking in addition to making ‘bee hotels’ and herbal salt.

Within anthropology, creative processes are sometimes compared to ritual processes; they hold similar transformative potentials (Turner 1986). In the case of urban gardening, the transformative potential will be discussed in relation to ‘a capacity to aspire’ for a different future (Appadurai 2013). Through experience-near and embodied practices, children were taught about ecological issues, which by extension would help them to both imagine and be the change.

Turner, Victor 1986, The Anthropology of Performance, PAJ Publications paperback.
Appadurai, Arjun 2013, The Future as Cultural Fact, Essays on the Global Condition, Verso Books.


  • Social Anthropology

Publishing year




Document type

Conference - other


  • Social Anthropology


  • flyktingar
  • integration
  • odling
  • urban gardening
  • climate change adaptation
  • creativity

Conference name

Lund Urban Creativity Conference 2019

Conference date

2019-05-15 - 2019-05-18

Conference place

Lund, Sweden




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