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Hustadt, Inshallah : Learning from a participatory art project in a trans-local neighbourhood


  • Apolonija Sustersic

Summary, in English

My PhD dissertation investigates relationships between contemporary art and spatial practices It emphasising the creation of platforms for public participation as interventions into urban regeneration processes.

The project has two essential objectives:

a. To identify the potential within contemporary art for a critical analysis of an urban de velopment process from the location, in dialogue with people, and through direct par ticipatory spatial action;

b. To propose a scenario for future operation that can instigate the inclusive change within our everyday environment and the wider domain of spatial practice.

The PhD research results from my own practice and gives a detailed analysis of a three-year case study: Hustadt Project. The majority of Hustadt Project took place on location (Bochum, Germany) within a suburban setting. In cooperation with local inhabitants we established the context for and ultimately constructed a new Community Pavilion – a structural platform for participatory exchange.

As my art practice is situated in-between architecture and design, sociology and urban studies, the process of the PhD research has been to emphasise my personal involvement and subjective observations utilising and transforming methods from these fields along with inventing new tools and strategies. I develop these methods from the context and the situation as a reaction to the process and therefore they are non-prescriptive, improvised, and reactive. In order to construct an argument in negotiation with local politicians, I introduce the form of spatial action by constructing performative events and inviting people to participate in them. More than accumulating knowledge, I’m interested in analysing it, using it, transforming it into a project where the result produces new relations with people onsite. It is important to emphasise that by using video and photo camera as the main tools within the research process, the research strategies I use transform my position from an observer of the situation to that of being observed.

Thus the research questions I focus upon:

1. The relationship between the contemporary art production and urban regeneration process:

What are the contemporary art and architecture references that have shaped my own practice? What is the process of activating public participation though an art practice?

2. The position that the artist occupies when becoming involved in the process of urban regeneration:

What is the role of the artist working in the process of urban regeneration? How can an artist work within the urban regeneration process and keep her/his critical position?

3. The knowledge contribution to the critical spatial practice produced within the contemporary art discourse:

What are the methods and strategies of my artistic research that differ from other disciplines?

The final doctoral submission comprises of (1) a textual part with some graphic and photo material, (2) Hustadt Episodaire – narrative visual documentation, (3) Hustadt blog, which was produced while following the case study project, (4) an exhibition presenting the Hustadt Project Archive.


Publishing year





Doctoral studies and research in fine and performing arts



Document type



Malmö Faculty of Fine and Performing Arts, Lund University


  • Arts


  • participatory art project
  • urban regeneration
  • multicultural community
  • change
  • performative action




  • ISSN: 1653-8617
  • ISBN: 978-91-7473-686-1

Defence date

29 November 2013

Defence time


Defence place

Red Room Inter Arts Center


  • Regina Römhild