Photographer: Lo Birgersson

Areas of Cooperation

Gothenburg’s application stems from the initiative of a plethora of our city´s literary stakeholders. No less than 300 organisations, institutes, entrepreneurs, NGOs and writers were engaged during the application process, a testament to the significant role that literature has in Gothenburg.

Literature is a key to social sustainability. As part of our active efforts to promote equality, we expect literature to help overcome segregation and to advance our multilingual city through Gothenburgers’ own stories and reading. We analyse our development work using UNESCO’s Thematic Indicators for Culture in the 2030 Agenda. 

The City Where We Read to Our Children

More people in our multilingual community will come to be involved in reading aloud and helping to hone children’s language and reading skills. Further development of the award-winning cross-sector initiative, this time based on enhanced collaboration regarding children’s linguistic journey from birth to school age;

  • Läsoteket - methodological support for families unaccustomed to reading
  • Bokstart - home visits including book donations in prioritized city districts
  • Developing combined reading-promotion/sports initiatives - founded on parental involvement, the power of multilingualism, the importance of interaction, and interest in reading via printed and digital media, including wordless picture books.

Partners: City of Gothenburg (schools, World Literature House and libraries, municipal-owned companies), Region Västra Götaland, University of Gothenburg, private sector, clubs/associations.

Beneficiaries: Children, youths and key adults in their lives.

Participants: writers; researchers; librarians; educators; social, healthcare and cultural workers; children/youths; guardians.

Expected results: better reading comprehension, school grades and equality.

The City as a Collection of Poems

Playfully experimental in the city space. Crosscutting with media arts and design that will showcase Gothenburg as a city of literature, promote participation and build multilingual bridges that spur reflection on societal challenges. The project will ‘read’ the city and the city will read literature on manhole covers, windows, trams, buses, rock and building faces, canals and the river, in advertising spaces and digital media. This project builds on previous efforts to promote art in the public space.

Partners: City of Gothenburg, transport and real estate firms, Writers’ Centre West (WCW), Gothenburg House of Literature, University of Gothenburg, adult education centres, local press, businesses and associations.

Beneficiaries: the general public.

Participants: poets, writers, researchers, literary-world stakeholders, artists, designers, technicians.

Expected results: the public space as public land, where literature, poetry and creativity are accessible to all. 

Interweaving Literary and Social Welfare

Using literature as a gateway, this project will help those disadvantaged with respect to class, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, education, health and life span in an era of societal change, while also opening welfare policy to include other perspectives through the artist’s gaze. Developing our city’s and region’s literary ecosystem and collaborative dynamics will advance the following: reading and writing promotion via bibliotherapy, shared reading and reading/writing workshops; media and information literacy; an age-inclusive approach to digital participation; methodological development among actors and target groups; conferences and network events.

Partners: City of Gothenburg , Region Västra Götaland, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg Book Fair, Writers’ Centre West, Gothenburg House of Literature, hospitals, Föreningen för narrativ medicin (consultants), Angereds bokmässa, adult education centres, local businesses and clubs/associations.

Participants: writers; librarians; researchers; social, cultural and healthcare workers; care recipients.

Expected results: broader participation will boost well-being; more writing groups. 

Freedom of Expression in a New Era

In a time of waning democracies, growing threats and persecution. After 25 years as an ICORN City of Refuge and with Region Västra Götaland and Uddevalla joining it in 2014 and 2016, respectively, Gothenburg aims to bolster free speech via new strategies;

  • Start collaborations among Cities of Literature and ICORN Cities of Refuge
  • Boost alliances in the Nordic region, Europe and globally
  • Introduce research, journalism, literature and media and information literacy to support a robust democratic society.
  • Achieve capacity-building via strategy conferences, seminars, education, enhanced ICORN work, international keynote seminars at Gothenburg Book Fair, Day of the Imprisoned Writer activities and exhibitions for schoolchildren and the public.

Partners: City of Gothenburg, Region Västra Götaland, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg Book Fair, Writers’ Centre West, Gothenburg House of Literature, ICORN, Swedish PEN, Hanaholmen, S. Fischer Foundation, German Academy, Swedish Writers’ Union, etc.

Participants and beneficiaries: writers, researchers, philosophers, journalists, free-speech advocates, etc.

Expected results: enhanced efforts supporting free speech, enhanced collaboration, a better understanding of the global situation.

The Wor(l)d in the World of Gothenburg

An international writers’ programme that brings together experiences, cultures and languages, international and local writers, translators, critics, researchers and readers.

Aim: to intensify international literary exchange and democratize the literary field to benefit the multilingual general public via progressive collaboration. Includes residencies, translator education, international seminars at Gothenburg Book Fair, International Writers’ Stage at the Gothenburg City Library, World Literature House and visits by authors linked to local foreign-language communities.

Participants: literary role models, internationally-known writers, writers from local residents’ former homelands.

Partners: City of Gothenburg, Region Västra Götaland, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg Book Fair, Writers’ Centre West, Gothenburg House of Literature, Angereds bokmässa, writers’ societies, cultural institutions, the city’s international writers’ networks, publishers, journals, festivals, clubs/associations, communities.

Expected results: increase in exchanges, culture-industry growth, a more diverse offering and more perspectives given a forum.

Exchanges For Change

International and intercultural exchanges, including within Gothenburg. Tangible development work to deepen awareness of literature’s power in communities facing challenges.

  • Develop a Jewish-literature network among UNESCO cities.
  • Literature and democracy exchanges with South Africa regarding minority languages and translation.
  • Writer, translator, resident and publisher exchanges regarding children’s books with Uruguay and South Korea
  • Crosscutting between lyric poetry and music with Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in connection with poets’ gatherings, translation and an anthology
  • Nordic writer, resident and knowledge exchange with Seattle, USA, regarding writing and age-inclusion.

Partners: City of Gothenburg, Region Västra Götaland, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg Book Fair, Writers’ Centre West, Gothenburg House of Literature, Judiska Salongen, Swedish PEN, City of Music Norrköping, National Nordic Museum, Inter-American Development Bank and universities, book fairs and professional associations in involved cities.

Expected results: greater knowledge and commercial exchange.