Arts and science project results in photo exhibition and open lectures

A collaborative project between ARC and Stockholm School of Photography ends with a 3-week exhibition starting week 9 and two lectures by ARC researchers on February 25 and March 4. The exhibition and lectures are open to the public and free of charge.
Photo: Federica Poiana

It is often said that “a picture is worth a thousand words”, and the world of research is indeed largely dominated by words. As a way of complementing these words, we teamed up with Stockholm School of Photography (Fotoskolan STHLM) to create new and relevant pictures of older people to be used by ARC for research communications. We quickly realized that we had started a sort of experimental project where two widely different disciplines and perspectives, photography and research, would have the opportunity to highlight the issue of aging in a new way. Through combining the subjectivity of photography with the objectivity of research we formed a true Arts and Science collaboration.

Twenty photography students were invited to ARC and attended lectures and discussions concerning aging, inequalities in aging, and ageism. Their task was to incorporate their newfound knowledge with their own perspectives and finally give their personal interpretation of who an older person in Sweden may be today.

Photo: Emi Svedberg

The conditions were that they would follow individuals, who should be at least 75 years of age, during their everyday lives, and the photos would be taken in color. We secured representations of each socioeconomic position, dependency status, living condition and Swedish/non-Swedish background. The students focused primarily on portraits, but also interactions and activities of different sorts with five key values in mind; authenticity, recognition, surprise, existentialism and warmth.

The results were way above expectations for both us and the teachers at Fotoskolan STHLM as the photographers contributed a more in-depth and broad range of pictures than we could ever have imagined. The project will be completed with a 3-week open exhibition at Folkuniversitetet which includes a selection of photos and lectures (in Swedish) by researchers from ARC talking about the collaboration and about aging research.

We are grateful to the students, to the amazing people who agreed to be photographed and to Fotoskolan STHLM. We hope that this collaboration can be an inspiration for other Arts and Science projects in the future.


Photo: Nerissa Björk

February 25 at 18.00-19.30. Vem är äldre idag? Speaker: Carin Lennartsson

March 4 at 18.00-19.30. Ålderism och äldre personers röster. Speakers: Neda Agahi and Isabelle von Saenger

The photo exhibition is open week 9-11.


Folkuniversitetet, Kungstensgatan 45, Stockholm

Additional information

The lectures and exhibition are open to the public and free of charge.

The lectures will be held in Swedish.

Press release Folkuniversitetet (only in Swedish)

Cover photo: Linda Ydemar