The Public Oven - Storvreta (Region Uppsala)
September 2020

Artists: Nito Vega & Nanna Castillo
Curated by: Alba Folgado

Inspired by the “bagarstugor”, which in the past were scattered all over Sweden, this project aims to build a public oven which will operate as a meeting and discussion place.

The Public Oven is divided into two phases. The first one is the construction of an itinerant oven in collaboration with youngsters from Storvreta’s fritidsgår. In the second phase, the same youngsters will be invited to participate in a series of workshops about pizza-baking. More importantly, also during this phase, the idea of the "bagarstuga" will be rethought as a catalyst for social exchange.

Conceptual framework

We could say that discussion as a collective act is today limited to certain environments such as work, school, sporadic encounters with friends or perhaps the digital world. The diverse structures and community services that in the past populated the Swedish territory facilitated spontaneous encounters between its inhabitants. However, these spaces have been progressively disappearing. As a consequence, this type of relationship between different social groups has been hindered, which makes the gap between them even more evident.

This project analyses and recovers the old tradition of the "bagarstugor", which in addition to having a practical function (making bread) managed to weave networks of socialization and mutual support throughout the country. Additionally, these constructions had a pedagogical character, since there was a clear transfer of knowledge among its users. Therefore, we can consider that the "bagarstugor" contributed, in some way, to build the foundations of Swedish popular education (Folkbildning) and the future "Studieförbunden".

Taking these structures and their double functionality as a model, we will build a public oven with the aim of providing a space for collective baking and conversation.

During the first phase of the project, the oven and its mobile structure will be built at Storvreta’s Fritidsgår. Later on, it will be activated through a series of workshops with youngsters from the same place. During these workshops, we will bake pizza and recover dialogue and cooperation as tools for social cohesion.

All these actions are considered an initial phase of the project. They are the cornerstone for future explorations around the "public oven" as a meeting and discussion place, including new contexts and formats.

This project is supported by Region Uppsala.