Last Tuesday, I had the opportunity to attend the “Grand Opening of 2014 Theme Program: Going Glocal” at the Swedish Embassy in Washington, DC (also known as the House of Sweden). The event was particularly important for me as Sweden also unveiled Facing the Climate – a cartoon exhibit that includes the works of Swedish and international artists on climate issues. Also, Facing the Climate is one of the projects I study in my dissertation. It was a “geeky” and a “happy” moment when I finally saw the project that I have been interviewing, reading, and writing about for the past two year in person.
The House of Sweden hosted a large group of Washingtonians, including Swedish expats, on the opening night. Facing the Climate seemed to be the biggest attraction available, supported by a fashion exhibit called “Fashion in Cycles” and a small corner that showcases Sweden’s innovative practices in sustainability.
The welcoming remarks introduced this year’s public diplomacy theme: Going Glocal. Based on the mutual Swedish and American interest in expanding cooperation between countries, the Swedish embassy will be focusing on issues that “explore local opportunities emerging from globalization“. Climate and sustainability stands out as one such issue where Sweden seems to be “teaching” Americans what to do. Given the environmental policy legacies of both countries, it is not surprising to see Sweden acting as a teacher (and we can just hope the US will be a good student).
Facing the Climate provides a humorous look at the climate issues, in its 18th country outside Sweden. The exhibition includes the works of five Swedish artists in hard copy. The local contributions from earlier exhibitions are included digitally. Unfortunately, in Washington, DC Facing the Climate will just be an exhibition and there will not be any collaborative workshops with local artists. Yet, it is still worth a visit.
(UPDATE: I was just informed that Facing the Climate is going to arrange workshops with local artists in DC later this year)