Speakers and program

Climate Culture 2019

Here you can read about the speakers and program from our first Climate Culture Conference in June 2019.

Climate Culture- conference is a forum where artists, scholars, students and politicians come together to identify the shape of future in the era of climate change.   

 Climate change is a threat not only to nature, but also to our societies. It threatens all species and transforms our civilisations, but still, carbon emissions are higher than ever. 

Is it possible that we still lack a deeper understanding of the risks that threatens humanity?  The time to transform our societies and lifestyles is limited. Can we picture a fossil free and globally just future? 

 The purpose of the conference was to deepen the analysis of how arts and science interact with our perception of climate change when we shape the future. 

Photo: Heini Lehväslaiho

Photo: Heini Lehväslaiho

Emmi Itäranta (FIN)

Emmi Itäranta holds one MA in Drama and Theatre Studies from the University of Tampere, and another from the University of Kent, UK. Her debut novel Memory of Water started as a part of her Creative Writing masters degree. She later completed the full manuscript in both Finnish and English. The novel won the Fantasy and Sci-fi Literary Contest organised by the Finnish publishing house Teos. It was published to enthusiastic reviews in Finland in 2012 under the title Teemestarin kirja. In 2015 the English language version, Memory of Water, was nominated for the Philip K. Dick award in the US and the Arthur C. Clarke award in the UK. Translation rights to the award-winning novel have been sold in 21 territories to date. Itäranta’s second novel Kudottujen kujien kaupunki was published in 2015. In the UK the novel is known as The City of Woven Streets, and in the US as The Weaver.

Photo: Artipelag

Photo: Artipelag

Mats Bigert & Lars Bergström (SWE)

Artist duo

Mats Bigert & Lars Bergström is an artist duo living and working in Stockholm, Sweden. They met while at the art academy in Stockholm in 1986 and have collaborated ever since.  Through their career Bigert & Bergström have produced and created art ranging from large-scale installations to public works, sculptures and film projects. Often with a conceptual edge, the core of their work is placed right in the junction between humanity, nature and technology. With energetic curiosity their art investigates scientific and social topics discussed in contemporary society.

Photo: Sitra

Photo: Sitra

Jenna Lähdemäki-Pekkinen (FIN)

Foresight Specialist

Jenna works at The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitras foresight team whose work involves the vision of sustainable well-being and the future of education. Jenna has among others wrote the book Learning at the Edge of History, and her work on Next Era, a vision launched by Sitra.

Jennas specialities include Vision for sustainable well-being, Next Era (Seuraava erä), the future of education and learning or the Uusijuoni book club.

Jenna holds a Master of Social Sciences degree from the University of Helsinki. She majored in Political Science in the sub-programme of Administration and Organisations. She has previously worked in the field of communications and opinion leading with a communications agency.

Poems and fiction are close to Jenna’s heart. Reciting poems improves the atmosphere whatever the situation!

Photo: Dagens Nyheter

Photo: Dagens Nyheter

Björn Wiman (SWE)

Culture Editor, Dagens Nyheter

Björn Wiman works as Culture Editor at Dagens Nyheter since 2010. He is the author of the book “Sent på Jorden. 33 tankar om världens största nyhet” which was published in november 2018. He has previously worked as Culture Editor and cultural journalist at Expressen.


Photo: Anssi Jokiranta/Lapin Kansa

Photo: Anssi Jokiranta/Lapin Kansa

Riitta Päiväläinen (FIN)

Riitta Päiväläinen is known for her temporary site-specific installations in nature, consisting of second-hand clothing and flea market fabrics. Her main interest has been “the unwritten history” – the history that you cannot find in library books, official files or archives, but can be felt in the rip of a coat or in the arm worn thin on an armchair.

For me, a piece of clothing represents, above all, its former wearer. It tells you that somebody has been present. However, the person who wore it is now gone. The faded colors and tears in the fabric show the signs of the time passed.

By freezing the garment or letting the wind fill it with air, I am able to create a sculptural space, which reminds me of its former user.

– Riitta Päiväläinen.

Photo: Global Utmaning

Photo: Global Utmaning

Staffan Laestadius (SWE)

Staffan Laestadius is Professor of Industrial Dynamics at the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology. He is also a board member at the Swedish Think Thank Global Utmaning.

He is the author of two books – Klimatet och välfärden (2013) and Klimatet och omställningen (2018) - both of which have a strong focus on the cultural, social and political dimensions of the climate related transformation of our societies.

Photo: Lawen Redar

Photo: Lawen Redar

Lawen Redar (SWE)

Member of the Parliament

Lawen Redar is a Swedish Socialdemocratic politician and Member of Parliament. She is the Social Democrats' cultural spokesperson and a member of the Committee for Cultural Affairs.

Lawen Redar is a lawyer and graduated in law at the University of Stockholm in 2017. She has previously worked at Save the Children 's National Federation and the Stockholm City Mission.

Photo: Kulturrådet

Photo: Kulturrådet

Staffan Forssell

Director Swedish Arts Council

Staffan Forssell is the Director General of the Swedish Arts Council and has a 25 year career in the field of culture. Mr Forssell has held senior positions in most fields of culture, including music, theatre, dance, film, museums and literature. From 2010 to 2014 he was the Director General of the Swedish Exhibition Agency and from 2008 to 2010 the CEO of the Stage Company in Sundsvall, Sweden. He has also been the managing director of the Swedish Army Museum and of Cosmonova at the Natural History Museum, as well as three years managing the mountain division of the Swedish Touring Club.

Mr Forssell has a background as a physicist and prior to his career in culture he spent 8 years in the aviation industry as an officer in the Swedish Air Force where he was a flying weatherman and 5 years as an environmental specialist in the field of air pollution and global warming.


Photo: Hanna Zetterberg

Photo: Hanna Zetterberg

Hanna Zetterberg (SWE)

Communication strategist and advisor

In recent years, Hanna has worked mostly with research communication. She is a consultant and as such facilitating meetings and seminars, developing communication strategies and teaching rhetorical and presentation skills. She has previously worked as communication manager at the Institute for Future Studies and for the International Polar Year 2007-2009 at the Swedish Research Council. Now part time at Mistra Sustainable Consumption at KTH and part time as independent.

Hanna is an author and has published four picture books about Nejilika. She is also elected as the representative of the Writers' Association in the Swedish Children's Book Institute Board and AU.

Previously Hanna has been a Member of Parliament and a member of the Left Party's party board in1994-1998.

Photo: KTH

Photo: KTH

Nina Wormbs (SWE)

Associate professor, KTH

Nina is associate professor in history of science and technology at KTH Royal Institute of Technology. Among her research interests are  technological and environmental change, how they come about, are perceived and communicated. Recently she has looked at how societal futures are constructed in the face of climate change, a process including values and emotions.


Venue: Finlandinstitutet, Snickarbacken 2, Sthlm

10.00 Registration 
Coffee and sandwiches available    

 10.30 Start of Conference 

Opening remarks 

Birgitta Englin & Riitta Heinämaa, Chairs of the Cultural Foundations expert groups 

Hanna Zetterberg, Moderator 

Part 1:  Climate Culture  

” Climate change is moving faster than we are”
 Antonio Guterres

Climate from three perspectives 

Emmi Itäranta, writer, Staffan Laestadius, professor and Bigert & Bergström artist duo

 12:15 – 13:00 Lunch break

Talk Art&Science cooperation with the funders.  

 Part 2: Culture Climate - Future scenarios
” Either we will change our ways and build an entirely new kind of global society, or they will be changed for us.”  
Gro Harlem Brundtland

 A conversation on future and capability to change. 

Jenna Lähdemäki-Pekkinen Foresight expert at Sitra, and Nina Wormbs Associate Professor at KTH-Royal Institute  of Technology 

14.30 -15:00 Coffee break and networking

Part 3: Climate Culture – Shaping change 

“It’s not our universe giving meaning to conscious beings, but conscious beings giving meaning to our universe” 
Max Tegmark

Picturing change

Riitta Päiväläinen, photographer

 A conversation on making change 

Björn Wiman, Culture Editor at DN, Lawen Redar, the Social Democrats' cultural spokesperson and a vice chair of the Committee for Cultural Affairs, Staffan Forssell, Director of the Swedish Arts Council 

 16:45 End of Conference