Northern Sustainable Futures presents Moskosel Creative Lab. A former rural school and a full-sized sports hall on 35 500m2 of land, that can be utilised as working studios, exhibition rooms, creative offices and performance spaces.
In the rural village of Moskosel, north Sweden, Linda and Goncalo offer a place that merges art, nature & living accommodations. 13x wooden living cabins, a large building with 20+ studios, a full-size gymnasium (800m2) for performances or/and sports, a cinema room, a black-box room, an artist designed bar and more.
All to provide you a base to explore and create your own undiscoverable possibilities!
Goncalo Rodrigues Marques is an engineer who studied in England and is originally from Portugal. Linda Remahl is a dance artist with a vision to create a space for artists where they can live and work and where collaborations can occur. A place where meeting is at heart and where new ideas can grow.
Goncalo and Linda met in England. They saw the potential of mixing different disciplines which inspired them to create a sharing and meeting place. They started to try to develop this first in England but Linda wished to move back to Sweden, where she is from originally. They decided to move to the north of Sweden, Arvidsjaur municipality where Linda’s grandmother was from.
At first in 2013 they bought a small village school in the village of Lomträskand started to hold workshops and residencies. It was when they were working with a Spanish company to organize a larger international dance festival, they were in need of a bigger place.
It started with them renting a sportshall in the nearby village of Moskosel, that was part of a school that had been closed down for a few years. They saw the potential of the school with so many different rooms and different facilities. Straight away in their minds they saw all their ideas of mixing disciplines would be perfect to implement in there.
”It has been a little bumpy journey. We come somewhat as “outsiders” moving into a smaller town with a slightly different approach with our project and it took some time for the idea to be embraced. It is not just cultural what we do, we want to create a new concept of mixing disciplines where art can be a cataclysm for growth. The concept is to let people be partners in the creation, without having them as working for us, but working for their own visions and aspirations together with us. We truly believe that together (us and others) we can develop a stronger multi-location that cover many areas with the same core goal – the growth and development of each individual’s visions. It is a sustainable concept that somehow is difficult to spread: to work together without having to depend on each-other, but being advantageous to everyone.” Goncalo says.
They have been doing this initiative since 2019, and see themself in between the cultural and business sector. ”It feels like often it’s hard when projects tick several boxes. That can be very confusing, it somehow becomes a grey area which I believe will be “the norm” in the future. It will take a bit of time and I think it is time to start something new, and that is what we are trying to achieve here. Many claim that they want innovation, however innovation involves accepting new ideas, and many are not perhaps ready to do so.” Goncalo says.
They don’t have any founders or cultural support for operational costs at the moment and are running the place mainly privately, with occasionally projects funding and by organising activities. They want the place to hold several working studios, for many people to work together and be a hub for creation. ”It is funny and so apparent, every time people come up here they feel inspired to create. Going from zero to eighty without any effort, just by showing the place.” – Goncalo.
”We believe that it is so important to have a meeting place here in Arvidsjaur, a creative environment that one can be a part of. For those who want to work on their artistry, try new ideas or meet people with different skills and culture. For the children and youth, that is our future to experience and see that one can work within the creative field and live here in the north of Sweden, in rural areas.” – Linda.
Linda and Goncalo are driven by passion and talk warmly about their ideas and vision. ”We can see people that come to this place meeting other creators which leads to other projects as collaborations occur. They do other initiatives. People have moved internationally to the north of Sweden. It is great to acknowledge that our actions have a positive effect on regional development. We feel very happy about it, and we just need to continue our journey.” – Goncalo.
The people coming to Moskosel Creative Lab are mostly artists and creatives at the moment, they mainly contact directly and want to come in residency. They have a lot of international but also regional artists. It would be fantastic to be a benchmark for other places. There are so many abandoned places, like large schools in the rural villages that could be a place not just for culture but art, nature, sustainability and entrepreneurship coming together. The problem is that these kinds of initiatives don’t even have a name yet, to explain it becomes complex.
There is great expertise in the north of Sweden. I think it is really important how we can care for and preserve this cultural knowledge and skills.” – Linda.
What Linda and Goncalo are doing here could be used as a benchmarking in different places. The culture is the way forward for mental health among others, even more in remote locations.
”We want a place where we can work together, to create synergies together. And we want an involvement to create a community not only for the incoming individuals but for the local people as well.” – Goncalo.
”For some we might be remote, so how can we connect without having to fly everywhere and travel so much? How can we through the use of immersive techniques build immersive rooms where we could connect to different locations (e.g. other residencies, universities and classes for example). The imagination is the only limit, really. So we are looking into how we can build these rooms, because then people could come here, live, and get access to so many endless possibilities. A portal to a real hyper metaverse” – Linda
”Geographically, we might be limited. We could only attract x amount of people to stay. But with digitalization we are limitless. We want to attract those kinds of initiatives. A connection between physical and digital realities, where both work in synergy. A correct, responsible and sustainable balance. We have plenty of ideas.” they say.
The difference with Moskosel Creative Lab and other co-working spaces would probably be that they are located where they are and are offering accommodation in living spaces on site. Linda and Goncalo want people to be in a place that mixes different sorts of disciplines.
”We strive to offer a place for artists and creators to use without cost. Where we get finances from other activities (e.g. digitalisation) and we are able to pay people to come here. A reverse to a hotel. To pay people to come and create their own vision.“
When we are getting a tour of the old school we see one amazing room after the other and each room is unique with its own feeling.
We come to a golden room, made as a dance studio and Linda presents it. ”This is a good example of how we would like it to work: An artist wanted to create an art project, and as part of this idea was to create a golden room, and we said ’Great! come here to us and do it at Moskosel Creative Lab’. Together with support from Region Norrbotten we co-financed and supported this project. Now it is an artwork, but also as a consequence of creating this golden dance studio, it has developed into a space that now also can be used by professional dancers in the Region.”
Goncalo explains more of the idea with different moods. ”This is the beauty with these kinds of creative spaces. You can change rooms and locations according to your mood. If you want to sit in an artist’s installation to work, or if you want something more general, you go to the coffee area. If you want something else you can go to the bar, sporthall and coworking office. So you can easily change. It gives different feelings and emotions.
Linda adds ”Different people and their ideas, that is what is inspiring me. To not narrow it down but keep it changing, this is the experience and journey that we want to do.”
”I don’t know why many people struggle individually in trying from scratch to find solutions for many obstacles that creations bring. Why can’t we sustainably come and grow together? We understand that individuality is very important, however there are many hard steps that can be shared and developed upon previous work done by others. This is similar to open-source software and that is what we are trying to create in a physical location, that every space is unique and gives inspiration for the following development. Everyone is welcome to join and create!” – Goncalo
Moskosel Creative Lab is a true creative place and you can’t visit it without feeling inspired by the energy that Linda and Goncalo have put into it. It is innovative, developening, changing and inspiring. All at once. A real good example of a sustainable way of combining different sectors and also showing the power of collaboration!
Thank you Linda and Goncalo!
Learn more about Moskosel Creative Lab at www.northernsustainablefutures.com
And @Moskosel Creative Lab at Facebook and @moskoselcreativelab at Instagram