In the first course, Introduction to Applied Cultural Analysis, the students perform a practical assignment for an external client.
MACA 15: Cyclists, rules and norms
To make all road users, regardless of their mode of travel, experience the traffic situation as safe and pleasant is not an easy task. Pedestrians and bus-drivers, cyclists and motorists have different needs and requirements. Sometimes traffic situations turn into conflicts or accidents. The blame is often on the cyclists who, justly or not, are accused of constantly breaking traffic rules, obeying no regulations whatsoever and generally riding like maniacs. How can the conflicts between cyclists, pedestrians and motorists, as well as among cyclists themselves, be avoided?
Cycling has been something of a favorite theme for MACA-projects. As it has turned out so well we ran it for a third time, with the Technical Service Department as our client. MACA 15’s first project was to examine cycling culture in Lund with focus on rules and norms. Are the lundian cyclists really as wreckless as they’re often accused of being? Why, how and when are rules broken – or not?
MACA 14: Seniors, Health and Activity
In 2013 the life expectancy in Sweden was 83,7 years for women and 80,1 for men, which means most people can look forward to quite a long period of retirement with time for practicing activities and interests while still in relatively good health. But what is good health? Does the meaning of good health and the way to reach and uphold it change with age? How is health affected by physical, social and cultural factors?
The focus for MACA 14’s first project was the relation between health and physical activity among seniors. The client was Gerdahallen, a training and health centre in Lund city, that wished to increase the amount of visitors especially during quiet hours. Seniors were seen as a potential group to attend the gym at these times but what are their motives and reasons for exercising or not exercising, in Gerdahallen and elsewhere? What motivates physical activity and what hinders it? Is physical activities and health connected to mental and emotional wellbeing?
MACA 13: Cycling Culture
The bicycle project 2011 was a success so two years later we cooperated once again with the Technical Service Department, City of Lund.
MACA13’s assignment was to examine cycling culture in Lund; who uses the bicycle when, where, how and why? How can more Lundians be convinced to choose the bike before the car, the bus or other modes of transportation? After a week of fieldwork, were the students focused especially on commuters from villages around the city, results and suggestions were presented to the client.
MACA 12: Health, Sport and Food
Life in modern privileged societies has become increasingly comfortable; people are less physically active while obtaining food hardly is a struggle. Prosperity of this kind entails a lot of risks in the long run. A sedentary life-style in combination with overeating creates health problems that in turn require costly interventions in terms of public health care and rehabilitation. From a policy perspective, it is important that citizens take responsibility for their own health and well-being and heed advice on health and welfare issued by public health authorities’, for example recommendations regarding exercise and eating habits.
The first assignment for MACA 12 was to examine the cultural links between health, sports and food. What role does sport play in people’s everyday life? How do they experience their sport according to concepts like health, fitness and well being? What role does food play in their sports activities? The client was the Scanian Sports Federation (SSF), which promotes regional sports and supports sports activities at club level in Scania. An important task of SSF is to promote a healthier lifestyle among the Scania citizens by offering various forms of physical activity
MACA 11: Cycling in Lund
Lund is a cycling city. Cyclists are everywhere, cycle paths criss-cross the town and the bike racks by the railway station are always full. The bicycle is the vehicle of choice for everyday transportation of numerous residents of Lund, who together pedal around the world four times each day! But despite the positive attitude towards cycling, among inhabitants as well as politicians, cycling is decreasing. Compared to 2004 cycling has declined by 5%. The past seven years Lund’s population has grown, but even though the citizens use their bicycles more than ever they do so less frequently in proportion to the recent increase of people. Why is this?
MACA 11’s first assignment was to investigate the attitudes towards cycling among the inhabitants of Lund and come up with suggestions for how cycling in Lund can be promoted; how can more Lundians, new as well as old, be convinced to choose the bike before the car? Working in groups the students got one week to perform fieldwork and analyse the empirical material before they presented results and suggestions for the client, Technical Service Department, City of Lund.
MACA 10: Bread Stories
Bread has always been a staple food of the Nordic region. It has a very material quality to it. It is sensually intimate yet mundane – it is so obvious in daily life that you take it for granted. Nevertheless, bread raises a number of questions concerning key cultural
phenomena occurring in the intersections between identity, class, ethnicity, gender, generation, environmental responsibility and health.
The first assignment for MACA 10 concerned the consumption of bread and the cultural meanings assigned to it. It was linked to a project run by the National Museum of Denmark, department of Modern Danish History (DNT), which in turn was connected to the project “Nordic Bread”; a joint Norsam project in which some 30 museums and institutions in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden participated. Norsam is a network of Nordic museums concerned with contemporary documentation in the Nordic countries.
Articles based on this project is found in the publication Our Daily Bread. They arewritten by MACA students from Lund and Copenhagen.
MACA09: Experiencing Knutpunkten
Helsingborg is an expanding city. During the next 20-year period an urban renewal project, H+, will radically change the central southern districts. Today the southern city districts are cut off from the rest of the city by the railway. To make the expansion and development possible the railway will be dug underground and a 1,5 km long tunnel, The South Tunnel, will be built. This means that the Knutpunkten, the bus/train/ferry junction in the city centre, will have to undergo profound alterations.
MACA 09’s assignment was 1) to observe and examine Knutpunkten and how it is presented and perceived today, and 2) to formulate ideas for how Knutpunkten
can be designed and developed for the future. What are the potentials as well
as the problems of Knutpunkten, what strategies could be used for improvement? Results and suggestions were presented for the client, The City of Helsingborg, after one week.
Leila Valoura, MACA 09: Unfolding Knutpunkten and spreading it out. From my first assignment at MACA … to life experience … to cross-pollination between projects
“In a connected sequence, first I had to do fieldwork with other classmates at Knutpunkten as my first assignment at MACA. In the transportation-hub located in the city of Helsingborg I started layering a new pair of professional lenses in addition to the ones I had brought with me to Sweden as a Communication professional.
Second, the assignment inspired me to continue observing Knutpunkten in my daily life as a user of that fascinating social setting for the three months I lived in Helsingborg. Much later, after graduation, the result of this academic and personal experience was presented in the 2011 conference entitled, Current Issues in European Cultural Studies, held in Norrköping.
But, when I thought that Knutpunkten would only remain in my memories from Sweden, in a third moment I was invited to adapt this work and publish a new version of it in a collaborative online magazine that matches visual artists with writers. To my surprise, my written work was to be matched in Cyclictone magazine with the visual work of another MACA member, Professor Robert Willim and his colleague Anders Weberg. The result of this creative dialogue can be seen here: Knutpunkten: Faces in a Faceless Transport Hub + Conveyors Project“.