Oscar Svanelid

Oscar Svanelid

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

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Culture and Education


Oscar Svanelid is a postdoctoral researcher in Art History. His research focuses on the role of art in society, with a particular emphasis on extra-artistic spaces such as factories, mental health care facilities, and universities. In his research, Svanelid examines how public art is utilized in governmental strategies. Specifically, he critically investigates the use of art and design as a means of creating safer cities, preventing terrorist attacks, and reducing crime in urban environments.

In the spring of 2021, Svanelid defended his thesis, Shaping Life: Constructivism as Artistic Labour in Geraldo de Barros, Lygia Pape and Lygia Clark. The thesis examines the transfer of constructivist ideas of art-as-labour to South America in the 20th century and how it evolved in that context. A chapter of the thesis analyzes Brazilian artist Lygia Clark and her borderland practice between art and therapy. After her death, Clark's work was used in psychiatric care, a topic explored in Svanelid's forthcoming article "Structuring of the Self: Lygia Clark and the Therapeutical Trajectory of Brazilian Modernism" in Modernism, Art, Therapy (Yale University Press).

Svanelid is a researcher in public art and contributed to a research overview on the subject. He has also written an article on security-creating art in a recently published anthology, edited by prof. Håkan Nilsson (2021). His postdoctoral project, Public Art in Restricted Space: Rethinking Art and Democracy in Sweden and Norway 1940-2023 (financed by the Swedish Research Council), examines the Swedish and Norwegian cultural welfare policy of making art accessible to all. Svanelid's project approaches this much-debated subject by analyzing state-funded public art displayed in closed environments such as the Government Office, nuclear power plants, regiments of the Swedish Armed Forces, prisons, and youth homes.

Svanelid regularly lectures at Södertörn University and worked as a supervisor in the Curator program at Stockholm University. He is also an art critic, contributing to publications such as Göteborgs-Posten and Kunstkritikk.

DiVA (Digitala Vetenskapliga Arkivet) is Södertörn University's system for digital publishing and for registering publications produced by researchers, teachers and students.


The researcher is not participating in any projects at this moment.