Author: Inger Wästberg

The International Art + Design Fair
Contemporary Swedish Silver 2005

The International Art + Design Fair 2005 Contemporary Swedish Silver: New Approaches to An Enduring Tradition of Craft and Design The Armory, Park Avenue Contributers, among others  Pia Aleborg Sofia Björkman Jenny Edlund Auli Laitinen Aud Charlotte Ho Sook Sinding Annika Åkerfeldt   ” The one – of- kind works on display are notable – by contrast to the severity of high Modernist Swedish Design – for sensuous, playful and surrealistic qualities. ” Ken Johnson The New York Times   The International Art + Design Fair 2005 Catalogue Images From the exhibition Above: Jenny Edlund Above: Bodil Karlsson in front of her pleats.

Swedish Art Jewelry & New York

During my five years in New York, with the Swedish Consulate General Residence at 600 Park Avenue as a base, I had the occasion to use my esthetic expression for what Sweden wants to communicate. It was about selecting interior furnishings, art and design to underscore Sweden’s position as the spearhead of IT and design. We entertained up to 5,000 Americans, at home, each year. I used my new Swedish jewelry to awaken curiosity and give rise to conversations and questions. That I displayed Swedish jewelry led to my being asked to curate an exhibition at the Armory, Park Avenue, for the Bard Graduate Center within the framework of the International Art + Design Fair 2005. The exhibition was titled “Contemporary Swedish Silver: New Approaches to an Enduring Tradition of Craft and Design”. Bodil Karlsson who had done the large drapery sculpture at 600 Park, framed the exhibition with her beautiful pleats. Jewelry by Pia Aleborg, Sofia Björkman, Jenny Edlund, Auli Laitinen, Aud Charlotte Ho Sook Sinding and Annika Åkerfeldt and others was shown. Art     Läs mer

City Hall

When I was recruited, in 1970, by Vice Mayor Nils Hallerby to City Hall, as Secretary to the Vice Mayor of the Culture Department that also handled school issues, I was the second female appointed as Secretary to the Vice Mayor, in the city’s history. (A Secretary to the Vice Mayor is essentially comparable to the Secretary of State in the Government. In other words, not a secretary, because I had one of those too.) The work consisted of formulating proposals for decisions on all issues heard by the Department. The opportunity to influence was great if the text was convincing. It was an exciting time with the emergence of the Kulturhuset (Culture House), independent theater groups, new culture policies, new visions on special education, expansion of and changes to the library and an exciting operation under Bobo Lagercrantz’ directorship at the Stockholm City Museum. Later, I was elected as a Member of the City Council, 1976-83. There, I chose to sit on the male-dominated Property and Housing Committees. Noted that as soon as I     Läs mer

Health and Social Welfare in Stockholm’s County Council

When I first came in contact with health and social care, it was through a visit to Carlund’s Nursing Home, an institution with approximately 300 persons, of all ages, that were kept isolated from society. Children were cared for according to an assembly line principle. One staff member washed, another dressed them. Here, children were left by parents on the advice of doctors to leave the child and forget it. Everything was contrary to the new health and social welfare law from 1968. It was important to keep this perspective in mind, when we see pictures from orphanages in e.g. Rumania. After a short while as the County Council Secretary in the Social Welfare Department, I became the Development Director of the Health and Social Welfare Committee for Stockholm’s County Council. I led a total overhaul of health and welfare operations with closure of the institutions and support to parents, and then later, integrated group homes. The County Council was divided into 16 districts, where support from the team was provided and residential placement in     Läs mer

Institutet För Integration, IFI

In 1987, I tired of a sluggish bureaucracy, cutbacks and broken promises, and founded the IFI Institutet för Integration. This is what I wrote in my letter of resignation “When the perspective plan for the 1977-1987 was approved, it meant an ambitious step forward. The plan was perceived by parents and personnel as a promise of future development… When we now look in retrospect, we have to note that the plan was not fulfilled. ”The gap that exists between today’s economic framework and the earlier ambitions creates discouragement and disappointment in personnel that is strongly noted by relatives. In times of cutbacks, an administration easily turns to itself and becomes the authorities’ and decision makers’ representative of persons with disabilities and their relatives, instead of being a channel for demands and perceptions from those whom the operation was intended for. When parents in the courts demand their rights, it becomes a loss for the parents and a ‘win’ for social care.” I also criticized the decision to maintain a central Department of Social Care. It     Läs mer

Ministry of Health and Social Affairs

Bengt Westerberg recruited me to the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs to be in charge of devising a new disability law. May 6, 1993, is a memorable day in Swedish social policy. On that day, the Swedish Parliament voted in a social reform that was unlike anything elsewhere in the world. The right to personal assistance is a fundament crucial breakthrough in Swedish disability legislation. In concerns independence, integrity and freedom of choice. Personal assistance means access to a human aide to be the hands, feet, eyes, ears or understanding for tasks that the person with the disability is unable to do. Actually, it is fairly obvious that each person shall be able to decide for themselves who will help them with toileting, dressing and undressing, listen and interpret conversations either on the phone or face-to-face with others. But, it has not always been so obvious. Personal assistance gives persons with disabilities control over their lives. An excellent example of a social policy that creates freedom through clear and explicit rights. Criticism was aimed,     Läs mer

Disability Ombudsman

On July 1, 1994, the new Government Authority the Disability Ombudsman was setup and tasked according to a special law, The Disability Ombudsman Act (1994:749) of monitoring issues on rights and interests of persons with disabilities. The goal of the operation was full participation and equality within society for all persons with disabilities. Authorities, county councils and municipalities were, according to the law, obligated to provide information at the request of the Disability Ombudsman. They were also obligated to participate in deliberations. I was appointed General Director by the Government. One task was to disseminate and anchor the UN’s standard regulations for persons with disabilities. This was a major public relations task and I visited most of the country’s nearly 300 municipalities. I have never traveled so much. Arlanda Airport 7:00 AM, morning after morning. We devised a range of informational material that was rewarded with honors. The Authority also had an investigative task. Each year, I wrote a report to the Government on the condition of the country for persons with disabilities. After five     Läs mer