Äntligen är vår populärvetenskapliga bok om Kirunagruvan ute! Klicka här för att beställa boken.
Så här skriver förlaget om boken:
En gång i tiden satt gruvnäringen och Kiruna ihop. Ett ömsesidigt beroende som ändrats med tiden. Men vad händer när gruvbolaget inte behöver Kirunaborna i samma utsträckning? När bolaget mer och mer förlitar sig på arbetskraft i form av fly-in fly-out? När fast anställda kan ersättas av entreprenörer? När allt färre händer behövs för att få upp malmen?
In English: finally, our popular science book about the Kiruna mine is published, but in Swedish…
We’re making the last adjustments to the book about Kiruna and the mine (in Swedish) before sending it to potential publishers. In a chapter about broken memories we felt compelled to return to a conversation we had with a man who was born and raised in Kiruna, who worked with the mine for close to ten years, but now lives in Luleå.
In Kiruna, we often heard that many of those reacting strongly to the urban transformation did not live in Kiruna anymore, but had spent their adolescence in the town before moving south. This man is an example. He follows every move in the town and: “Every time [they make a move] I feel affected. In my heart I live in Kiruna, although I’ve lived in Luleå for 32 years. … I feel no belonging to Luleå Hockey. … When someone devalues Malmfälten, I react. There is no understanding of how it all hangs together, about the ore that comes down to Luleå [and the steel plant] which gives the waste heat [to heat houses in Luleå]”.
We feel this man never left Kiruna. Reflecting on the transformations since the 1980s he talks about how the community has been good at building from-within, with culture and sports, a lot of associations, and then managed to combine this through architecture in the built environment. Together, this created a strong sense of belonging and pride. “Nowadays”, he says, “I think the dimensions are wrong, with the roads and…, too forceful, they overdo it, there is no instinctive feel to it. Everything that is built is to an extent built without feeling.”
Every Summer, LKAB hires several hundreds of so-called “Summerbirds”; people – often young persons who have a break from their studies – that come in to work for a couple of months when ordinary staff are on vacation. As the trend of temporary workers is on the rise in general (although LKAB today work towards decreasing the use of ‘foreign services’), it is interesting to also turn the attention to the response from the unions on this issue. Talking to a Summerbird about this:
When I recently started working at SSAB [the steel plant in Luleå, as Summerbird], than we had a lecture. A person from the union came and talked [to us]. But we never had that at LKAB. Never. Not heard anything about it, not even mentioned to me…
Yesterday we opened the exhibition of the project at the city library in Luleå. Colleagues, friends and strangers made it through our photos, videos, sounds, music and texts, as well as Magnus Fredriksson’s artwork. We’re very happy to be able to have this interaction with people and hope many more find their way to the library during the remained of September (we close the exhibition on Sep 30).
A friend and colleague to us, professor Rickard Garvare, took some wonderful photos, which he has allowed us to share on our site:
It’s Summertime and as Swedes, we’re hell bent for vacation. But, we have happy news and want to share them with you.
On September 9, the town of Luleå celebrates “The night of culture” (Kulturnatta, in Swedish) and we have been invited by the city library, located down town in the House of Culture, to set up the art exhibition of Organizing rocks. This, we believe, is a very good reason to visit Luleå! The exhibition will be open all through September and you’ll find the exhibition as soon as you enter the library.
Below is a musicvideo by us (in Swedish) about “The book of LKAB : the national treasure of Sweden”, published by LKAB, the mining company running the Kiruna mine. The book celebrates the first 125 years of mining in Malmfälten and it is available in both English and Swedish. It’s a very informative read, revealing how rich and international the history of mining in the north is. We highly recommend it. But, it is also a book written for the company and the song is based on a more critical reading.
The song is on the Organizing rocks album “Gruvan, makten, samhället” and you can find it on all major digital distributors. It is also available on Youtube. Click here to get it on Spotify.
The theater group Tornedalsteatern/Tornionlaakson teatteri works to enhance the interest for the culture and language (meänkieli) of people living in Torndealen, close to the border between Finland and Sweden. The group is a mix of amateurs and professionals doing very professional productions.
Their latest project is a theater called Malmens väg/Malmin tie/Málmma geaidnu (the way of the ore) and is about the role of the iron ore mines in the north. Organizing rocks is part of the day program in Luleå (August 18) and in Kiruna (August 24), lecturing about the project.
Yesterday, Johan attended LKAB:s annual meeting in Luleå, Sweden. It was an interesting, maybe even odd, experience (see a picture gallery further down).
A lot of suits, difficult to know how many attended, maybe 50 people. I feel rather alone in my hoodie (or bunny-hug as they say in Saskatchewan). Besides top management and board members of LKAB, the Swedish Minister of Industry, Mikael Damberg, was there, our national superstar Charlotte Kalla (cross-country skier, sponsored by LKAB), all the relevant media (state television and radio, local newspapers), the Mayor of Kiruna, the former Governor of Norrbotten etc.
Except for a few of those present, we’re there to watch and listen. This is a ceremony, a staged performance. LKAB has 700 000 stocks and all of them are owned by the Swedish state. The annual meeting, that is, is a dialogue between two persons, the chairman of the board (also elected as the chairman of the meeting) and a young man sent by the state. This creates an almost comical situation. Even the chairman couldn’t help smile once in a while. The chairman says: “Can the meeting approve of the agenda?” The young man from the state says: “Yes”. He’s the state, the meeting, the people. A company owned by us the people, channeled through this one person. It’s a very apparent case of the Leviathan (as in the state, and also as in all LKAB:s mines) being represented and translated by individuals (as in Alex Golub’s Leviathans at the gold mine, 2014).
Three keynotes are delivered, one by the chairman, one by the new CEO, and one by the Minister of Industry. With a special eye to Kiruna, our case, the chairman mentions the process of moving parts of Kiruna and about the company’s “extended role” (I interpret it as the company is not only a mining company, but also city planner and a construction company). The CEO also mentions Kiruna, but it has more to do with troubles with the works (one “bärring” had to be replaced) and with some of the shafts. This led to the value of the assets in Kiruna being written off with 7 billion Swedish crowns. It is also mentioned that given the troubles of getting the stone up from the Kiruna mine, the open pit iron ore mines in Svappavaara (about 60 km from Kiruna) will feed the Kiruna mine with goods, thereby being explicitly drawn into the labor process of the Kiruna mine.
Once the official meeting is over, there is no invitation for questions, but the head of communication interviews Charlotte Kalla on stage and two awards are handed out, one to a women floorball team in Kiruna/Pajala and one to an artist from Koskullskulle. They get 50000 Swedish crowns each. Then there are hors-d’œuvre and mingle time. I get to meet some old acquaintances.
This afternoon, Johan met with Curt Persson, historian at Luleå University of Technology and chief of Norrbotten county’s museum. Being from Kiruna, having worked in the mine, and thereafter with culture and history predominantly related to Kiruna and the patron Hjalmar Lundbohm, Curt proved to be a rich source of knowledge. More talks to come we hope! He also gave us a copy of his first book about Lundbohm. In Swedish only, but we’ll write about it further on. Click here to get to the book’s homepage.