Lena Sawyer

Senior Lecturer

Department of Social
Visiting address
Sprängkullsgatan 23
41123 Göteborg
Room number
Postal address
Box 720
40530 Göteborg

About Lena Sawyer

Hello and welcome to my page. I am an associate professor of social work and received my Ph.D in cultural anthropology (2000) from University of California Santa Cruz in 2000 and since then I have lived and worked in Sweden where I have worked as a teacher and researcher in social work educational programs. My work is interdisciplinary and often collaborative and has focused primarily on understanding (and challenging) the reproduction of inequality through engaging Black feminist, critical race and post-and decolonial perspectives and methodologies. In particular my work has been interested in understanding social work institutions (such as education and pedagogy) from these perspectives.

Current research:

Together with Nana-Osei Kofi (Women's Studies Oregon State Univ) I have collaborated in the project “Listening”: Engaging the imperial archive through Black feminist methodologies and arts-based research. In this project we have studied public space in relation to archiving and coloniality. We have approached current debates and ongoing collective memory work around public space, memory and representation as a form of social care. For example, we have explored the statue The Iron Well, as well as other places/monuments in the city of Gothenburg as fragments of coloniality, which through our approach are collected and re-woven together to offer a reinvisioned purpose and public. We are inspired by critical archiving approaches and methodologies, for example Sadiya Harman's "critical fabulation" and Tina Campt's methodology of "listening" and Art-Based approaches.

I am also currently working with Kris Clarke (Institution for social work, Helsinki Univ) on a project exploring walking methodologies, such as city walking, where we are interested in understanding them as social work pedagogies with decolonial potential.

I am also currently engaged in exploring creative and revolutionary pedagogies, methodologies, and collective knowledge-making practices working together with the Afro/BlackNordic feminist collective named Kollektiv Omsorg. We are collaborating on various exploratory writing and performance projects which address the topics of Afro/Black Nordic feminisms and counter archiving as practices of care.

Since 2023 - 26 I am a part of The Colombia University Center for the Study of Social Difference Working Group on Afro-Nordic Feminisms led by Monica Miller och Nana Osei-Kofi:

Areas of competence: Counter-archiving, Commemoration and Memory, Art-Based Methods, Black feminisms, Education and Institutional discrimination, Anti-Racist pedagogies, Normativity and Child Protection.