Resurscentrum för konst in the region of Norrbotten works to strengthen the professional art scene in northern Sweden, through creating exhibition possibilities, facilitating commissions as well as organising education for visual artists and professional craft makers.

In Luleå we choose to work with The Juvenile detention centre together with local artists Helena Bergman and Annika Persson Åkeblom who was already involved in another project at the centre. The centre is very open minded to bring in people from the outside to work with the inmates and had previous experience from working with artists.

In this residency one guard and four inmates participated, aged between 18-24, with no previous experience of working with art. Through an open call Sebastian Björkman from Helsinki was chosen as the international artist to work in the residency together with local artist Helena Bergman.

Photo: Sebastian Björkman
Photo: Sebastian Björkman

Artistic concept

The artists had never worked together before, they had different backgrounds and skills. Together they planned the workshops and methods to be used. It was a learning process for the artists throughout the residency, especially in the beginning to find the level of the workshops. The goal was to create a space for creativity. A moment when the inmates had an opportunity to discover something new about themselves in a positive spirit. During the hours the artists didn’t spend at the centre they worked together on an art piece inspired by their experience at the centre and their meetings with the inmates. The art piece will be installed at the intern’s yard.

Working method

The residency was scheduled for a month, but due to Covid-19, the residency had to shut down after two weeks. During the first two weeks the artists worked 3 hours a day during the afternoons with the group. The interns were challenged with different tasks and to work with techniques and materials from sculpturing in snow to painting and working with clay. They had to collaborate and work together as well as developing their own artistic book.

Photo: Sebastian Björkman
Photo: Sebastian Björkman


Visual artist Helena Bergman
Artist Sebastian Björkman
Textile artist Annika Persson Åkeblom


Hanna Isaksson, manager
Resurscentrum för Konst, Sweden 

Artist: Sebastian Björkman and Helena Bergman
Artist: Sebastian Björkman and Helena Bergman