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Opportunity Space Festival

Free concert with Ali Sabah (Babylon, Iraq) and the Svensson Brothers (Blekinge, Sweden) at the 30 May Festival Preview, 17-19, at Ibn Rushd, Fagerstagatan 1D, 2nd Floor (image credit: Ali Sabah)


August 22 – September 2, 13.00 – 19.00


Enskifteshagen Park

Preview event: 30 May 17.00 – 19.00 at Ibn Rushd, Fagerstagatan 1D, 2nd Floor

The Opportunity Space Festival is twelve days of free performances, workshops, and discussions to bring people together from different backgrounds to meet each other, build skills, or enter the job market. These activities will take place daily in a custom-designed pavilion selected from an international design competition.

The festival is all about finding answers, trying something new, learning from each other, and connecting with people you never thought you would meet. Take a hip-hop dance workshop or try open mic stand-up comedy. Get advice on how to start a business or nail that big job interview. Tell us about your worst job ever or sit down and talk to a total stranger for 10 minutes about immigration. Find your opportunity.

Practice your moves in this hip-hop workshop and performance for girls ages 15-18 (Hip-Hop Workshop, organized by Tjejer i Förening, image credit: Tjejer i Förening)
Job seeking and established architects join local stakeholders to imagine small-scale improvements to Enskifteshagen (Design Transformations, organized by Meshworks, image credit: Meshworks)
Learn how computer coding can solve problems drawn from your daily life. (Start coding! Organized by, image credit:
Leaving home, breaking up, losing big - we all have stories about starting over. Sing your story with a curated Karaoke dedicated to new beginnings in life (Starting Over, Organized by Van Alen Institute, image credit: Kollektivet)
Hear a diverse group of panelists talk about how the twin impulses of fear and belonging are shaping global politics and our daily lives. (Organized by Ibn Rushd, image credit: Ibn Rushd)
Ever want to know what a total stranger thinks or feels? Sign up to be part of a moderated conversation with a fellow stranger at the festival about immigration and urban change. (Organized by Van Alen Institute, image credit: Van Alen Institute.)
Do you have a skill you want to share or learn? Register in person or online to share skills or services at the festival. (Malmö Share, Organized by Ibn Rushd, image credit: Ibn Rushd)
What will Malmö be like in the year 2030? How can we ensure that everyone has access to opportunity and a high quality of life? (Malmö 2030, Organized by Van Alen Institute; image credit: B&M architects, WSP, Päivi Raivo and Setlementtiasunnot)
Sign up for interviews with employers hiring for postiions in Malmö, Denmark, and throughout Europe (Now Hiring! Organized by Arbetformedlingen, photo credit: Arbetsformedlingen)

The festival will feature programs in three categories:

Jobs, Skills, and Entrepreneurship: recruitment events, one-on-one coaching, and classes to connect job seekers to employers, and help people build skills to enter the job market

Food and Cultural Exchange: urban farming demonstrations, shared meals, music performances, conversations, and other activities to encourage new arrivals and established Swedes to meet and learn from each other

The Inclusive City: hands-on workshops, presentations, and walking tours to explore how design can help create a more socially and economically inclusive city

Programs will take place daily from 13.00 – 19.00 in the pavilion and in the Amiralsstaden Local at Kopparbergsgatan 4, just south of the park.

A final program list and program calendar will be available by June 23.


More than a million migrants entered Europe in 2015, highlighting one of the toughest challenges that cities around the world will face for decades to come: In an era of great uncertainty, how and where can people find opportunity?

Malmö is an ideal place to explore this question. A rapidly growing and diversifying gateway city to Scandinavia, Malmö was also the point of arrival for the vast majority of refugees and asylum seekers (or “new arrivals”) settling in Sweden – up to 10,000 a week in 2015. Analysts estimate that the average age at which people in Sweden find their first “real” job (one that allows them to qualify for a mortgage, for example) is 29, and that it takes new arrivals up to seven years before they are gainfully employed.

In October 2016, Van Alen Institute launched an international design competition for the temporary pavilion. A distinguished panel of jurors selected the Folkets House team, which drew its inspiration from Swedish labor union buildings that originated in the 19th century as venues for public meetings and cultural activities. The winning team is now refining its initial conceptual design to implement the project; Skanska is donating the labor to build the pavilion.

conceptual rendering of the pavilion exterior
image credit: Folkets House team

Malmö is a city in transition: It is growing rapidly, with major development projects underway throughout the city and many initiatives in place to accommodate the city’s large number of new arrivals. Enskifteshagen Park is at the heart of many of these changes, with long-range plans for a new commuter rail station a block to the east and new housing in the area.

The park is located between Malmö’s Möllevången and Rosengård neighborhoods, well-known immigrant hubs with some of the city’s most diverse populations. Directly adjacent to the south is the Sofielunds Industrial Park, which is currently home to a wide range of small businesses.




Design Team

Van Alen Institute has assembled a unique cross-sector coalition of government agencies, businesses, and NGOs to organize the festival, and has partnered with more then 25 organizations around the city to offer programs.

Siamak Afshari, Folkuniversitet
Aida Al Akrawi                                              Hans Andersson, Wihlborgs
Niels de Bruin, White
Thomas Brunk, City of Malmö, City Planning Office
Jerome Chou, Van Alen Institute
Carl-Gustaf Fritz, JM
Sverker Haraldsson, City of Malmö, Streets and Parks
Thomas Johnsson, E.ON
Åsa Kalée, Good Malmö
Gunilla Kronvall, Architects Sweden
Pia Hellberg Lannerheim, City of Malmö, Trade and Industry
Christer Larsson, City of Malmö, City Planning Office
Akbarnazim Modan and Anna Wachtmeister, Meshworks
Lotta Möllerberg, Manpower                 Anna Nambord, Wihlborgs
Martin Nihlgård, Individuell Människohjälp
Louise Palm, NCC
Anders Tojkander, NCC
Charlotte Wadström, MKB
Rebecca Wennberg, designer
Camilla Wieslander, Skanska Öresund

About Van Alen Institute

At Van Alen Institute, we believe design can transform cities, landscapes, and regions to improve people’s lives. We collaborate with communities, scholars, policymakers, and professionals on local and global initiatives that rigorously investigate the most pressing social, cultural, and ecological challenges of tomorrow. Building on more than a century of experience, we develop cross-disciplinary research, provocative public programs, and inventive design competitions.

Twitter: @van_alen
Instagram: @van_alen
Facebook: /vanaleninstitute

About the City of Malmö

Malmö, Sweden is the commercial center of southern Sweden and an international city with 300,000 residents from approximately 170 different nationalities.

Malmö is undergoing a transition from being an industrial city to a city of knowledge. Older industries have been replaced by investments in new technology, training programs, and infrastructure – including the Öresund Bridge, which connects Malmö to Copenhagen. Malmö University, which opened in 1998, is Sweden’s latest venture in the field of higher education, accommodating some 24,000 students.

Over the last years the City of Malmö has received many international awards for its focus on sustainable city development and pilot projects such as Augustenborg and the Western Harbour. Malmö was also appointed as the first Fairtrade City of Sweden.

About White Arkitekter

White Arkitekter was founded by Sidney White in 1951 and is Scandinavia’s leading architectural firm with over 900 employees working in 16 offices in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and the UK. Our work is research focused and our expertise encompasses architecture, urban design, landscape architecture and interior design.

For nearly two decades, White has invested in establishing a unique research-based department of highly qualified experts in the field of sustainable design. Our founder’s aim was to improve society through architecture and his legacy lives on in our ambition to contribute towards the building of a sustainable world.

About Skanska

Skanska is one of the world’s leading project development and construction groups with expertise in construction, development of commercial and residential premises, and public-private partnerships projects. Based on its global experience, Skanska aims to be the clients’ first choice for Green solutions. The Group currently has 43,100 employees in selected home markets in Europe and North America. Skanska’s sales in 2015 totaled SEK 155 billion.

About Individuell Människohjälp (IM)

IM is a Swedish member-based organization fighting and exposing poverty and exclusion through development cooperation, integration and Fair Trade. Founded in 1938, IM is currently working in five regions and thirteen countries worldwide.

IM’s international work focuses on people´s right to education, good health and ability to sustain a life in dignity. All projects are implemented in close collaboration with local partner organizations. IMs work in Sweden is focusing on integration and inclusion into society. The strengthening of civil society is both a means and an objective in all activities.

About Architects Sweden

Architects Sweden is the professional organization for architects, interior architects, landscape architects and spatial planners in Sweden with 12 800 members, including 2,600 students.

About ARExA

ARExA is a multi-disciplinary research and design practice based in New York City that is dedicated to advancing the understanding and implementation of the built environment. ARExA’s current focus is on innovative urban housing solutions and grant-funded sustainable food systems research.

About WPM

Walter P Moore is an international company of engineers, architects, innovators, and creative people who solve some of the world’s most complex structural and infrastructure challenges. Across 15 offices, this 600-strong firm of 85 years, and focuses on high performance building enclosures and specialty structural systems.

About Milou Group

Milou Group is an innovation-driven company that explores design, creative technology, and entrepreneurship. Through an international collaboration and support from the Swedish Ministry of Enterprise & Innovation, Milou Group develops new concepts and solutions that rethink living and working in cities, meeting the demand of the global audience in the new economy.

About Virginia Tech A+D, Center for Design Research

The Virginia Tech School of Architecture + Design (VT-CDR) links the academy, industry, and design practice by creating opportunities for collaboration through applied research; establishes corporate partnerships and sponsorships within the prospectus of design research; expands capacity by building relationships within the design professions and affiliated industries; initiates collaborative research projects within and beyond the boundaries of the university; and strengthens all areas of research through cross-disciplinary team building, and the integration of teaching and research. The work of the CDR and its participants expands the scope of design and embraces collaboration across many scales and disciplines with the goal of technological innovation and paradigm shifts that enable more with less in ways that have the potential to expand the research of design/designers to influence systemic global impact.