Helena is specialised in disability rights and mental health among young people.
BA, Stockholm University, Sweden
Head of communications at Nordic Welfare Centre, Editor in chief at Iris Media, Journalist at Sveriges Radio
Helena Lagercrantz‘s spatial story
– You´re from Stockholm, aren’t you?
The twenty-three-year-old me nodded, and the man from the labour union looked at me with misbelief.
– Then you won’t understand.
The main employer at Sunne, in Värmland, announced that more than half of their personnel faced redundancy. I was supposed to do a live interview for the public broadcasting network. I had read all the articles I could find and prepared questions, but all in vain.
The man just ignored me and started talking to my technician instead. He was from the same area and spoke with the same dialect. They started to discuss if the house prices would fall and if there would be any replacement work.
Twenty-five years later, I took the bus from my neighbourhood to the other side of the tracks – literally. I live in the north-western part of Stockholm, in Spånga which is divided in two parts, one with detached houses and one part with large council estates. I was supposed to do an interview with teenagers about their participation in civil society. I recognised one of the boys and thought maybe he played in the same football team as one of my kids. When the interview was done I told him that I lived in the area, but before I had a chance to ask him if he played in the team, he interrupted me.
– You’re not from here, you´re from the other part.
I guess the union man at Sunne and the young man in Spånga were both right. My spatial story is a mix of my background and my past experiences. And even if I lived in the area back then, I didn’t fully understand how the closing of a factory could affect a small town. And today, I don’t live in the same surroundings as the young man, even if we share the same postcode.