In 2063, Grønland still resists the pitfalls of gentrification, and keenly protects its unique cultural heritage as a busy, multicultural, and grassroot-led district. The many vernaculars spoken there have changed the official language of Norway, and even worked their way into the alphabet. Seven new letters have been adopted to accommodate changes in the spoken language. The new letters can be seen in  signposts, posters and graffiti. You are entering a design workshop for display signs for local businesses. The tiny workshop is both a  useful service provider for, and a good example of, a thriving local entrepreneurship.

The process behind THE ESSENCE OF GRØNLAND

Workshop 1, autumn 2021

The Essence of Grønland was developed through four evening workshops at the Intercultural Museum in October and November 2021. The workshop participants particularly addressed the question of which aspects of today’s Grønland will be considered cultural heritage worthy of preservation in the future. The language (‘Kebab Norwegian’), certain meeting places and the local business community with small shops and restaurants were highlighted.

Participants: Khalid Abdilahi, Yassine Ben Amor, Dahir Liban, Mohamed Abdinazir Mohamud

Workshop 2, spring 2022

Several of the participants from Workshop 1 took part in further development of the language idea, together with linguist Samantha Goodchild from the University of Oslo. The participants learnt to map “linguistic landscapes” and gathered examples of text usage on the street in the museum’s neighborhood.

New participants: Yassin Ali Noor, Roble Wais, Hashim Mayow.

Workshop 3, December 2022

Three former workshop participants, Hashim, Mohamed Abdinazir and Khalid, held an open future workshop for youth from Agenda X, Textlab and Forandringshuset at the old Munch Museum. Thea Marion Aasen from Textlab and Hanna Asefaw from Agenda-X also conducted a workshop where the young participants worked with texts on the subject and developed new letters for the future alphabet which are now in use in the exhibition’s sign workshop.

Deltakere: Hana Teclezghi Kiros, Asha Musse Hagi Yusuf, m.fl.

Designers: Tiril Haug Johne og Victoria Ydstie Meyer

Challenge questions

by CoFutures

Over the last two decades, Oslo – and Norway – has rapidly evolved into a multicultural and diverse city, home to numerous economic migrants as well as distressed populations from many nations fleeing war and violence. This has led to increasing bias against  foreigners, right-wing backlash against immigrants and immigration policies, and fears of cultural and linguistic change. Yet humanity has always been mobile, moving to places that can provide them best opportunities. Between 1820 and 1925, nearly a million  Norwegians moved to America for better opportunities, and contributed significantly to the American agricultural and industrial sectors. Closer to our present day, research clearly shows that migrants of all kinds, including refugees, contribute positively to a country’s growth both economically and culturally, in less than two decades after they move. As they settle, migrants often contribute more to development, innovation, and welfare than non-migrants. Immigration thus enriches a country over time. Grønland is a microcosm of these changes, from languages spoken, to different communities, to the restaurants and nightlife. Can you imagine your country being wholly welcoming to migrants of all kinds? If not, why do you think that is? What are you really afraid of? And if yes, why do you think that is? How will things really change over 20, 50, 100 years into the future? Bonus: if you can imagine a life without a single item that originated from outside the country (whether food, clothing, electronics, or technology) what would your new life look like?

©CoFUTURES, 2020