Varning för ras

Exhibition design and pedagogy

Varning för ras (Warning For Race) was produced by the ethnographical/cultural space Mångkulturellt Centrum (the Multicultural Centre) as an attempt to introduce race as a social construct in a wider discourse within Sweden.

The word “race” itself had since the seventies been systematically removed from public documents and language, based on an understanding that races did not exist and should not be referred to. This state is usually referred to as colour-blindness or Nordic exceptionalism, and was being challenged by a new generation of Swedish academics and activists at the beginning of the 2000’s.

The purpose of the exhibition was educational. Research around racial stereotypes in Swedish literature, adoptees experiences of otherness, and the strong relationship between being Swedish and being White, where a few of the topics raised throughout the exhibition. Varning för ras also highlighted Sweden’s own history, from Linnaeus to the second world war, and explored the connections between poverty and race.
The main argument of the exhibition, that race as a social construct can be beneficial in order to analyse structural conditions of our society today, was met with heavy criticism from mainstream, left-wing and right-wing media.

Today, the anglo-american use of race has been widely implemented in popular and academic language, making the exhibition in some aspects a trailblazer for a more nuanced conversation around race in Sweden.

Research: Daphne Arbouz, Fataneh Farahani, Tobias Hübinette, Helena Hörnfeldt, Rene Léon Rosales, and Catrin Lundström
Supervisor: Carin Andersson
Exhibition design and educational program: Erik Annerborn
Graphic design: Sara Kaaman
Tech: Ernesto Villanueva

︎Om ras och vithet i det samtida Sverige (book)
︎Mångkulturellt centrum