A Full Loop of Performance: From the Perspectives of Young People, Through Environmental Learning, to the Reviewing of Policies in Multi-actor Constellations, and Back Again

Full Loop is a collaborative research project focusing on children and young people as agents appropriating and making public spaces through artistic practices. It reflects on cities that are segregated along socio-economic lines, and the unequal effects this has on young people’s access to public and third places, between home and school. The possibility for adolescents to move around and take part in urban culture on their own terms is dependent upon their geographies, the availability of public facilities such as transport options, youth centers, libraries, open spaces, and not least parental trust. We argue that the environment, architecture, and public spaces are important arenas for subjectification and “becoming citizens,” (Balibar 2017) shaping human experiences and ways of learning and knowing. This also means that they constitute a wealth of possibilities for rethinking built environmental practices for inclusion.

In 2021 Full Loop began with an experimental and nomadic initiative, employing a caravan as a mobile research station, and involving a group of six, then fifteen–year-olds from Hovsjö in Södertälje as co-researchers, as well as their youth center educator, crafts people, and a political scientist. Together, we explored public spaces as cultural commons, as well as conversed on the right to cultural commons [kulturell allemansrätt] and through several workshops in different locations pondered over the question, ‘Who appears in public space and who has the right to shape public spaces, and in what ways?’

With these journeys in mind, the project seeks to establish environmental learning as a subject at higher education institutes for future spatial practitioners as well as architecture, and art and sloyd educators. We address ‘environmental’ in this context from a broad perspective of learning with, for and from the environment. A pilot course was held (2023) for students of architecture and art pedagogy including workshops with children at Tensta Art Center that has led to the establishment of a new course, ‘Environmental Learning and Spatial Design with Young People’, in the lifelong learning curriculum of KTH.

A further part of Full Loop is its engagement with policies that shape adolescents’ access to public spaces as cultural commons. We have started to work with multi-actor conversations around subjects that touch upon spaces and practices for cultural commons and environmental learning with concerned actors—from educators, artists, activists, parents to politicians, planners, interest groups, institutional representatives, and others.

A Full Loop of Performance

Three layers, or loops have been important in the development of what we call ‘A Full Loop of Performance’. They take effect on different levels through experimental, reflective, and systematic approaches, including:

  1. Situated artistic practice: experimenting through art and design projects with young people in public environments.
  2. The development of a pedagogy of the built environment: reflecting on our experiences and environmental learning as an arena for education and research.
  3. The reviewing of legal frameworks: safeguarding children’s rights to cultural commons and environmental learning, and the development of tools for multiple actors in education and policymaking.

By performing a Full Loop, from experiment to reproduction and the implementation of learnings, we aim to broaden the contact zones between young people, educators, civil society organizations, public authorities, and politicians to facilitate the creation of more inclusive public spaces.  

Research Questions

How would public spaces become more accessible to a broader section of society, especially children and young people, through environmental learning?

How would knowledge that is developed in art, design and architecture practices with young people be made operational for education within the subjects of built environment and the training of future educators in spatial practices? 

How would collaborative activities with concerned actors feed into policy making to improve our designed living environments regarding equality, diversity, and inclusion?  


Full Loop evokes historical precedents such as Elly Berg’s ‘Stadsstudier’ – Environmental Education,’ which she practiced in Stockholm with children, and summarized in a small book dedicated to spatial practitioners and educators, as well as to ‘grassroots-people’ (1980). The 1970s environmental educational strands with their demand for establishing art as an emancipatory occupation (for everybody) (Hummel 2016) have provided inspiration as well as the concepts of ‘deschooling’ by Ivan Illich and Chris Reimer (1970, 1971), and Eileen Adams and Colin Wards’ Art and the Built Environment Project (1976-1979), to name only a few.


Full Loop employs a Caravan-methodology. Together with the young people, we transformed a caravan into a mobile research centre: equipped with a podcast studio, self-built outdoor furniture, a ping-pong table, and pizza ovens that expand into space when the caravan stops.  The co-created environments have facilitated several workshops, and supported methods of ‘deep hanging out’ (Clifford Geertz, 1998), ‘deep talk’ (a dialogue method, of unclear origin, we got to know at Hovsjö’s youth center), and possibilities forencounters with various publics.

As researchers we orient our attention towards what emerges during the time we spend together with the young, yet try to stay attuned to our research focus. This means that we practice an approach of following the teens rather than trying to exert control.

Theoretical Framework

Through the theoretical lenses of critical pedagogy and critical urban theory (and The Right to the City) (Brenner 2009) we acknowledge the importance to trust young people’s response-ability and their agency. Using the concept ‘civic imagination’, we acknowledge one of our roles in facilitating for young people “to see oneself as a civic agent capable of making change,” and to “join a larger collective with shared interests, and to bring imaginative dimensions to real-world spaces and places.” (Jenkins et al., 2020, 5-6).


Our expectations as researchers and the co-researchers’ actions have not always coincided which gave us material to reflect on our aims, methods, and findings, and to face ethico-political questions which emerge when collaborating with minors. In our case:

How can we respect their autonomy and integrity? How can we work with their anonymity in text, sound, and above all, in images and video footage?

How can we take care of strong emotions in workshops? What training and competency should we, and/or our institutional collaborators, have, to be able to respond to critical situations in an adequate way?

How can we create a caring environment for our co-researchers?

Since our ambition is to follow the co-researchers and let them lead the group (as much as possible): how can we think about response-ability? In relation to our research aims?  To what is said and done?

EDI – Equality, Diversity (plurality), and Inclusion

Regarding the actors who create the built environment and public spaces, and who study spatial subjects at universities to become the practitioners of tomorrow, it is evident that student cohorts in architecture, art, craft, and design do not represent the plurality of society today. Thus, we lack a wealth of experiences and knowledge that are necessary for re-conceiving and re-building more just and resilient cities in the future. Full Loop aims at developing pedagogical materials for raising awareness of equality, plurality (diversity) and inclusion issues in spatial practice education through a cultural commons approach with children and young people.


Balibar, Etienne (2017). Citizen subject: Foundations for philosophical anthropology (Translated by Steven Miller). Fordham University Press.

Berg, Elly (1980). Stadsstudier: Mål och medel från 70-talets England. Stockholm: Stadens råd för byggnadsforskning.

Brenner, Neil (2009). ‘What is critical urban theory?’, City. Analysis of Urban Change, Theory, Action. Vol 13, Issue 2-3: Cities for People not for Profit, 108-207.

Hummel, Claudia (2016). ‘A Contemporary Survey through Restaging – Learning from the 1970s’, https://another-roadmap.net/ (accessed 16 February, 2024).

Jenkins, Henry, Peters-Lazaro, Gabriel, Shresthova, Sangita (2020). Popular culture and the civic imagination: case studies of creative social change, New York University Press, New York.



Allemansrätt [Swedish]/ The Right of Public Access

Allemansrätt is a code of conduct that gives everybody equal access to landscapes and natures and the freedom of movement, connected to the responsibility of handling environments carefully. In some cases, it overwrites the right to private ownership. The concept is known at least since medieval times, but in Sweden, the term was established in governmental inquiries, in the 1940s. Learning to use a landscape with care involves observation, the acquisition of an ability to read landscape, to get to know an environment, to understand possibilities and limits for moving around, sleeping over, resting, picking edibles or material from the ground, to be informed about what can be left behind and what not, where and when and with what material to light a fire, etc.

This means that there are temporal, seasonal, geographical, and situational differences at stake that ought to be registered at any time visiting and considered when deciding what/not to do in a landscape to both access and maintain it. Donna Haraway’s suggestion of response-ability as our capacity of responding to our environments can be invoked here, relating people to the landscapes through their practices of care and response-ability. 

Allemansrätten is a spatio-ethical concept with social and economic implications. It is non-commercial but supports subsistence perspectives such as picking berries, fishing, drinking water from wells. As a concept, it is potentially expandable to imagine spatial situations beyond landscapes where it can foreground ecologies, rights and responsibilities in public environments, and in both virtual and physical spaces. In the broadest sense, open-source applications, part of creative commons, can be seen as constituting a more recent form of Allemansrätt (see FLOSS). Their use allows for discussions on rights and data protection in the digital space.  

Read more on Allemansrätt here: https://www.naturvardsverket.se/allemansratten/ (accessed 16 February 2024).   

Haraway, Donna (2026). Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Durham: Duke University Press, 89.

By Meike Schalk


Dérive Notebook

A dérive notebook entails sets of directions and questions allowing walkers to take unexpected routes and focus on aspects of their surroundings that usually escape attention. The directions are also there to nudge walkers to perceiving what feels uncomfortable and comfortable in public space: If I only walk pressed against the wall of buildings, how does that make me feel? Or, if I start following a passer-by on the street, when do I start feeling like a stalker?

By Elizabeth Calderón Lüning


FLOSS Technologies

FLOSS stands for Free/Libre and Open Source Software and is a combination of two different technology movements — the free software movement and the open source software movement. The free software movement focuses on the freedom of computer users to use the software, examine, and modify the code within the software and to redistribute copies of the software with or without modifications. The open-source movement has a more pragmatic view, where the focus lies in the openness of the code, not specifically connecting this to questions of freedom and justice. With the term FLOSS, both these views are represented. FLOSS tries to find a neutral form for describing technologies accessibility, openness, and inclusivity. 

By Anette Göthlund


Following is a research method developed in the Full Loop project. It is based on registering collective and creative learning processes that question traditional authoritative knowledge transfer. It is designed to disrupt epistemic hierarchies, especially when learning together with young people.

Following puts young people at centre, as competent and actively knowing subjects in artistic co-creative activities. Following young people in their learning means recording how they name, materialise, and shape the worlds they are part of. It means letting their realities emerge and supporting them in trusting that their experiences and knowledges are meaningful, and sharing their specific concerns. Following emerges in collective learning situations. It enables transformations in relational-spatial explorations and meaning-making processes that happen on the young participants’ terms, so that they become the authors of their own learning experiences.

By Miro Sazdic Löwstedt


Knowledge and Learning 

Knowledge is basically defined as the possession of information or the possession of the ability to locate desired information. Learning is defined as the process of acquiring knowledge. Knowledge, however, only becomes knowledge-able through performance; knowledge is performed. Knowledge is situated, relational, and embodied. Different contexts and different bodies produce, present, and represent different knowledges. Knowledge is performed differently depending on time and geography, and depending on who the knowledge-performing subject is, and to which community they belong. Learning can also be considered a practice of knowledging, i.e. collaborative and co-created processes of culture, matter, and meaning-making.    


Haraway, Donna (1988). ‘Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective’. Feminist Studies, Autumn, 1988, Vol. 14, No. 3, 575-599.   

hooks, bell (1994). Teaching to transgress: education as the practice of freedom. New York: Routledge   

Lenz Taguchi, Hillevi (2010). Going beyond the theory/practice divide in early childhood education. Introducing an intra-active pedagogy. New York, NY: Routledge.  

By Anette Göthlund


Learning Event

Thinking about learning as an event connects to the idea that knowledge is performed — a learning process always in the making. Gilles Deleuze describes processes as becomings, not to be judged by some final result, but by the way they proceed and their power to continue. In the “philosophy of difference” assigned to Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, the event is described as an intermezzo, something that appears in a space in-between, when dichotomies transverse (for example those that separate science and art, theory and practice). Thus, a learning event is a ‘happening’ and not about copying or reproducing what others know — the learners must produce the knowledge by themselves to be able to learn.

Deleuze, Gilles and Guattari, Felix (1988). A Thousand Plateaus. Capitalism & Schizophrenia, London: The Athlone Press.    

Deleuze, Gilles (1995). Negotiations. 1972–1990, New York: Columbia University Press.   

Dahl, Thomas(2019). The poiesis and mimesis of learning. In Østern, Anna-Lena & Knudsen, Kristian Nødtvedt (eds) (2019). Performative approaches in arts education: artful teaching, learning, and research. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. 

By Anette Göthlund


Memories of the Future – an Open-source Application

Memories of the Future is an open-source and browser-based application developed by the Design Research Lab at the University of the Arts, Berlin. The application is geo-map based and allows the users to geo-tag a location and add information to that point, and to add sound files, pictures, or text to the point. Other users can also comment on the geo-tagged points. The app was developed as a community research tool for creating and sharing location-based knowledge. The information sourced by the app is private by design, since you can only access the information with a set password, that is decided upon by the project group. For more information see: https://memories-of-the-future.de/#/ 

By Anette Göthlund


Platform Economy

Digital platforms that are helping us move through the city on E-Scooters, deliver our food directly to our homes, let us find our way through ubiquitous GPS maps, organize childcare or cleaning services, rent out our flats to tourists, are becoming everyday infrastructures of cities. The platformization of the urban, signifies a shift in the municipal economy, where proprietary, private technology firms are having an increased say in residents’ everyday lives. The digitally-enabled socio-technical shift, understood as platform urbanism, is creating new forms of social, economic and political interactions (Caprotti, Chang, & Joss, 2022).  

Understanding platform urbanism, can be difficult, since the technologies, their data extractivist behaviour and their defining algorithms are hidden (black boxed) making the scrutiny of the technology close to impossible. We can however start understanding this shift by looking at the politics of platforms — by seeing platforms as “architectures that are thoroughly part of the urban” (Fields, Bissell, & Macrorie, 2020). By engaging with the material, social and somatic implications of platforms in cities, we can start studying platform urbanism beyond the technological black box.  

Caprotti, Federico, Chang, I.-Chun Catherine, & Joss, Simon (2022). Beyond the smart city: a typology of platform urbanism. Urban Transformations, 4. doi:10.1186/s42854-022-00033-9 

Fields, Desiree, Bissell, David, & Macrorie, Rachel (2020). ‘Platform methods: studying platform urbanism outside the black box’. Urban Geography, 41(3), 462-468. doi:10.1080/02723638.2020.1730642 

By Elizabeth Calderón Lüning