Many official archives today are spaces with minimal to no representation of Afro-Swedes* and Black people in Sweden. These are also spaces that reproduce and consolidate swedishness as whiteness and Blackness as the Other. The narratives that our official archives hold, open up questions about what stories constitute the nation. Who is worthy of remembrance? What stories are worthy of documentation and preservation, and on what premises?
Black Archives Sweden is a contemporary archive centered around the experiences and narratives of Afro-Swedes and Black people in Sweden. It is a project that approaches the archive as a space of invisibility and erasure, but also a place that holds room for other imaginations, realities, histories and conditions for the future.
From a queerfeminist and diasporic perspective and through the thematic themes: locality, identities and activism, Black Archives Sweden will collect photographs, video-and sound collections, letters, texts, oral histories, ephemera and social media posts to construct new community archives. These archives will collect, document, present and activate Afro-Swedish and Black people in Sweden’s experiences, stories, and productions (cultural, social, political and creative), for principally other Afro-Swedes and Black people.
Moreover, Black Archives Sweden will act as a place and space for meeting, constructive and healing dialogues, learning, where Afro-Swedes’ experiences are always the starting point. It is a place where Afro-Swedes do not need to always exist in opposition or reaction against whiteness, but can exist and create on our own premises.
* Afro-Swede/Afro-Swedish: We always use the category “Afro-Swede”/”Afro-Swedish” with openness and inclusivity. We use the category in reference to Black people in Sweden, within or outside the boundaries of formal citizenship. We also include Black people living in Sweden who do not adhere to the description for various reasons.
Founder and Artistic Director
Project team 2023: Amanda Nyagake Mwita (archivist); Naima Bashir Project team 2022: Naima Bashir (project leader, Family Archive); Yahia Saleh (project coordinator); Amanda Nyagake Mwita (archivist).
Black Archives Sweden's Board 2023: Michael Bekele (chairperson), Ulrika Flink, Marcia Harvey Isaksson, Elsa Mertala, Vanessa Ansah.