Om Maria Nyström
I am currently a PhD candidate at the Department of Conservation at the University of Gothenburg. My dissertation is written as part of a multidisciplinary project titled ”How did The Church of Sweden become a national heritage?” (Hur blev Svenska Kyrkan ett nationellt kulturarv?) conservation.gu.se/forskning/rhit/kulturarv
The main purpose of the thesis is to examine how transformation processes of Swedish churches is affecting the understanding of these buildings as cultural heritage in the present. Transformations should be understood as a wide concept in this context, including adapted and extended use of the building, architectural interventions, and processes of regional development where the church has a prominent role. The examination is particularly focused on the different actors and interests that are initiating and running these processes of transformation. What are the motifs and goals that shape the final result? What roles do these actors play, and what are their mutual relationships? A number of case studies form the base of the examination. The case studies are all concerning a process of transformation where a church has a played a central role. The churches in question have been built before 1940, and are thus protected by the Swedish Heritage Act.
There is a general development in a number of Western countries of declining attendance to churches and religious activities. This has resulted in an increase of churches being adapted to extended uses, or sold and used for new, secular activities. A similar development can be seen in a Swedish context, although relatively few churches have been sold for secular purposes at present. The Swedish Heritage Act ensures the protection of the cultural heritage values of a large number of churches, which highlights the secular heritage values of these buildings. These are the conditions which have fuelled a number of current discussions on the future of Swedish churches, in religious and secular contexts alike. The research on Swedish religious heritage is quite broad, but has mostly had a historical perspective. The result of this thesis will contribute to the understanding of the current and future interpretation and management of Swedish churches. Co-author of the chapter ”Två omgestaltade kyrkorum” (”Two reshaped churches”) in the anthology Alla dessa kyrkor. Kulturvård, religion och politik (All of these churches. Conservation, religion and politics) in 2017.
MA in Conservation from University of Gothenburg in 2015 with the master thesis ”The Creative Industry: Regenerating Industrial Heritage in Rome”. BA in Art History from Uppsala University in 2011.
Holder of the Conservation Grant of the Swedish Institute of Classical Studies 2014/2015
Research interests include: Built heritage, adaptive reuse, religious heritage, urban and regional regeneration.