Short Term Scientific Mission (STSM) – Hiedanranta

STSM Contribution by Mathilde Merolli

Communications Officer, Department of Food and Resource Economics and Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, University of Copenhagen

Photos: Mathilde Merolli, Tampere, June 2022

Large parts of the once freely accessible Hiedanranta are closed off due to construction work.

The goal of my Short Term Scientific Mission was to process materials produced at the exhibition, “The Co-constructed Stories – Makeshift Exhibition” that was part of the “Narrating Hiedanranta: Stories of Objects and Subjects of Urban Places” workshop.

The 3-day workshop took place in June 2022, in Hiedanranta, Tampere, a former industrial complex on the shores of Lake Näsijärvi. Hiedanranta is a space created by its inhabitants as much as its inhabitants are formed by the place. 

During the workshop, I met a few of the cultural actors and activists that work and live on the site.

As many other former industrial sites in Europe, the land of Hiedanranta is transforming due to a large urban development project, reshaping its functionality, purpose, forms of living and life forms.

The “Hiedanranta – smart and sustainable city district of the future in Tampere” development program is divided into three sections over the course of 10 years: 1) Planning of the City District, 2) Development Platform and 3) Temporary Hiedanranta.

It was with the purpose of documenting and understanding the current development of Hiedanranta – the demolishment and replacement of inhabitants and users of the space – that the COST Action team in Tampere arranged the workshop. 

We, the participants, had to search out the stories of Hiedanranta’s actors and how they relate to the site, by using visual methods, poetic practices, and narrative interview techniques. On the final day of the workshop, we presented our findings at “The Co-constructed Stories – Makeshift Exhibition”.

Demolishment is now as much a part of the area’s scenery as the characteristic graffiti painted red brick buildings.

I revisited Tampere in October 2022 for my STSM to work on postproduction of these exhibition materials.

In close and fruitful collaboration with the workshop organisers, Elina Alatalo and Dalia Milián Bernal, I spent 5 intense days in Hiedaranta and at the University of Tampere creating an interactive digital archive, Narrating Hiedanranta Archive: Stories to Keep Alive (link), of the exhibition projects. 

Our digital archive presents a collection of visual, audiovisual, audio and textual materials produced by workshop participants in collaboration with local activists in Hiedanranta. 

As an archive, it serves as both a digital presentation (and storage) of each participant’s work but also as a collection of the activists’ own stories for them to revisit and use activistically. Last, but not least, the archive serves as a historic documentation of Hiedanranta’s space, landscapes and buildings in a period of renovation and reconstruction of the area.

My hope is that the Narrating Hiedanranta Archive: Stories to Keep Alive archive will spark and expand further debates and research concerning Hiedanranta.


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