This exposition is a documentation and dissection of the performance Strings, performed in Malmö and Lund March - May 2022 as a part of the research project How Little is Enough

The exposition contains a logbook of the creation process, including personal diary, correspondence, qoutes from participants, photo slideshow, manuscripts, outline of methods, and a video interview with the artist researcher. 

The content moves on a timeline to the right following an inner (below line) and an outer (above line) dramaturgi of events.






January 22nd, 2020

I met my colleagues in Agenda 2030 Graduate School for the first time at a retreat in Höör. I had individual encounters with most of them through speed-dates, during group discussions, coffee breaks, at dinner, in the spa or at the breakfast table. Such a dynamic group of dedicated professionals, researchers and human beings with different backgrounds and strong motivation to create changes in the world. I thought, wow, this gathering of people is so unique, the stories and the perspectives, the knowledge and personal commitment. They made a strong impact on me, and I was affected by the strength and potential of the collective. Still there was a sense of tenderness and vulnerability as most of us had just started our research projects. If I just could capture this in a performance. I mentioned to the group that I had an interest in making a piece with them. I am determined to do work with them as a part of my research. So this is where that journey begins.


September 10th, 2020

September 10th, 2020


Today the Graduate School finally met again in real life after six months of digital communications. The theme of our meeting was interdisciplinarity. I came straight from making Island, my second work within my project, so I told them about my experience. I explained how the audience met the work, and that my intentions with the work was creating an understanding about what it means to belong, through a personal but performative experience. I mentioned my wish to create a work with the Graduate School and asked if they would consider participating. There was a positive atmosphere at the meeting. People are tired of Covid and are eager to do something together. They have different ideas about what it means to participate, and I tried to explain it did not mean “acting” as in “pretending,” but performing, as in performing tasks in a staged setting. The discussion was brief but people where gradually starting to commit to the idea. 

Tue 03/11/2020, 14:33

Hi Esa,
I had a really good talk with Una Chauduri. She proposes a four-hour workshop, together with artist Marina Zurkow, where they introduce a game of creating worlds. “Investing in Futures” is a working title for this project where they work with imagination and collaboration.
The idea is super interesting and playful. She will send a proposal for this in the next days. It is a project that they are developing together. Marina is a prominent New York based, visual artist working with environmental issues.
They will be able to find time during the research week in April between 1pm - 5pm CET.
They would start giving a lecture and an introduction to their previous projects, like Dear Climate, and talk about the arts in the Anthropocene and the role arts have in the imminent crises.
I told her that we could offer a minimum of 1200 dollars (around 10.000 SEK), but I propose that we double the fee since they are two.
what do you say about the fee...can we offer more since they will be two of them?

best Steinunn

November 3rd, 2020

Wed 24/02/2021, 11:41

“Investing in Futures: Speculative Cosmologies”

a workshop by Una Chaudhuri, Marina Zurkow and Sarah Rothberg

You are receiving this exclusive invitation to participate, since you are a member of Agenda 2030 Graduate School or FoU at the Theatre Academy in Malmö.

There are a limited number of attendees so please sign up only if you can attend.
To sign up for this workshop, please send an e-mail marked UNA to

Where: online (zoom)
When: April 15, 2021
Time: 2-6 pm

“Investing in Futures: Speculative Cosmologies” is one version of a world-building game created by Marina Zurkow and Sarah Rothberg; the guest collaborator for this version is Una Chaudhuri, with a focus on the environment and the impact of reconfiguring our highly interpersonal relation with it.
The game unfolds over a structured four-hour period in which small groups of participants engage in imagining, brainstorming, and specifying new worlds in response to a series of prompts and constraints. A key element of the world-building process is the creation of material culture artifacts or practices (in a vast range of possible genres) that capture and convey the alternative cosmologies by which humans might relate to the other forms of life on--and to living differently on--our planet."

February 24th, 2021 


April 15th, 2021

16th April 2021

Fri 16/04/2021 08:33
Una Chaudhuri
Jan Michelsen
Sarah Rothberg
marina zurkow

Dear all,

what a delight to be with you yesterday. I have already got positive feedback from so many of the participants. Thank you so much, also you Jan for facilitating the whole thing. Personally this was a valuable moment for me, gathering the research school and my home department together in something so meaningful and fun. It was inspiring and gave me ideas and spirits for the future in life and my arts practice.


Thanks for sharing the material with us, much appreciated.
have a wonderful spring (heart)


Till next time...


 June 12th 2021

Sat 12/06/2021, 11:40

Hi all,
in the fika on Monday I would like to introduce my ideas for the performance that I am planning for the spring (May 2022 - during sustainability week) with the participation of you guys. I will explain the concept and go through the rough plan for the project. I have not a title for the work yet and would like to have a brainstorm with you about a title for the project.

I am looking forward to share my ideas with you and start the collaboration - I hope that you will be able to attend.

Until then, enjoy the weekend

best Steinunn

Ps.attached is the outline of the project

The Performance outline

Title: School for Transformation (preliminary title)
Place: Lund University, different departments
Time: Part I: April 2022 Part II: May 2022
Context: Sustainability Week
Producer: Inter Arts Center

Project: The School for Transformation. Encounters with the fellows of Agenda 2030 research school – May 2022 produced by Inter Arts Centre. Site specific encounters in two parts.
Part 1: The visit. Series of one-on-one performances in different departments of University of Lund. Researchers invite guests to their work space. A dialogue about what motivates you to do what you do. Exhange of stories. Semi staged meeting with elements of ritual.
Part 2: The gathering. An immersive gathering at a ceremonial location in an old building of Lund University. A staged action with elements of ritual. Series of encounters. Equal numbers of hosts and guests.

Preliminary schedule:

August/September 2021
Steinunn visits every member of the Agenda 2030 research school at their workplace to talk about what motivates them for their work. In the meeting we talk about the formalities, expectations and type of commitment.

March 2022: 2- 4 sessions with the whole group at Inter Arts Centre. Rehearsals for the gathering event.

March/April 2022: Script for visit and gathering event ready.

April 2022: Part I.

May 2022: Part II. Gathering event performed 2 – 4 times during sustainability week.
3rd May in Kapelsalen at Odeum and in 5-6th May at IAC, Red Room.

Committing to the work can be different: You can be a private host in Part I.
You can participate in Part II in one or more gathering events. You can both be a private host and participate in the big event.

I had planned to introduce my project at an informal zoom meeting last Wednesday but too few attended so I postponed it. The office invited me to introduce the project today at the monthly zoom meeting of the graduate school.
So today I went through the practical details of what it means to participate.
I had sent out an outline and a short description of the project to everyone to read before we met. I stressed that there are different ways of participation and that I really would like as many as possible to join.
There was a general feeling of positivity and people showed an interest to participate but I have a feeling that they have no idea of what I am asking for or what the project is about.
As it were, there was no way that I could have a brainstorm with them about the title.
There is still plenty of time to prepare people mentally for the participation and I will stick to the working title School For Transformation until the work progresses.

Note to self: One tiny step at a time.

June 18th, 2021

November 2nd, 2021

I use every opportunity to talk about the work informally with my peers from the graduate school. I have made a contract with Inter Arts Center about Part II performance and together with Christian Skovberg am trying to find a performance space in Lund.
I am in my first stages of production and I have created an extensive project plan for the work, spreading the workload on to six months from December 2021 to May 2022.

Note to self: This is not the first time you are doing this. Trust in your knowledge and your experience.

December  5th, 2021

Sun 05/12/2021, 13:39

Dear colleagues,
I am really looking forward to our Christmas party on Tuesday 7th December at IAC, first act at 15:00 and second act at 18:00.

As a First Act, I invite you to a screening of the film Story Telling for Earthly Survival by Fabrizio Terranova. The film is a real gem and if you are not a Donna Haraway fan like myself, you might become one after seeing it.

The screening takes place in the black studio at IAC, Bergsgatan 29, 4th floor. The film takes about one hour and twenty minutes.

After the film I will talk about our prospect work. I have attached an outline draft for the project.

... there will be mingle before the screening and in between acts : )

best Steinunn

December 7th, 2021


From my initial encounter with my fellow researchers, I have been fascinated by what drives us to do what we do. What is the driving force of change? While getting to know them a bit better, the interest deepens. Every single one of the members of the Graduate school has their personal reason for doing what they are doing, there is a background story.
To these stories, I want to pay attention.
I have my own reasons for making work and there are things that inspire me.
I have been seeking ways to share with them my context and introduce them to the mindset of artists, like when I invited Una and Marina to do the workshop with us. To give them an experience of how arts can tackle big questions.
This time I decided to invite them for a private screening of a film by Fabrizio Terranova with Donna Haraway, Storytelling for Earthly Survival. The film is an artistic encounter with a thinker.

I invited my colleagues to come and watch the film with me at the Inter Arts Centre and afterwards I shared with the group what touched me in the film and in Donna Haraway´s worldview and thinking. Then I went on to talk about our project and opened up for a discussion.
It felt like a meaningful encounter. The people that were there opened up and we had an exchange that created a new kind of bond. We engaged on a more personal level, revealing a more tender side to ourselves. It felt like a right step towards a stronger commitment to the work.

December 8th,  2021


Wed 08/12/2021, 11:45

Dear Steinunn,
I just wanted to write to you quickly to thank you for yesterday. It was a very profound experience for me to get a glimpse into your world. To say that I thoroughly enjoyed the movie as well as your explanation of your project is a vast understatement. Instead, I feel like I got to catch sight of an alternative dimension to reality that I am otherwise not aware of. It was a very deep and moving experience for me that inspired thoughts and ideas that I cannot, now that the experience is over, adequately capture again. Only the memory is left, and I am so grateful for it even if it is so much smaller than the experience itself.

So, thank you. Yesterday evening made my life richer.

All the best,

December 17th,  2021

Fri 17/12/2021, 13:45


Hi all, in April and May we will present our Performance called STRINGS

The project has different phases.

1st Phase -January/February: Steinunn has personal meeting with all members of Agenda 2030. Recording of video to be used in connection with the performance. I will send out a booking system for the meetings. I would like to meet you at your working place if possible.

2nd Phase - March. Rehearsals for the One on One performance at IAC and individually.

3rd Phase - April. Rehearsals for the big gathering event at IAC. Dates will be announce in Jan.

4th Phase - April. One on One performances run throughout April (maybe also some in May)

5th Phase - STRINGS performed in Kappelsalen at Odeon in Lund May 3rd and May 7th in IAC.

6th Phase - spring and autumn 2022. Interviews with participants about the experience.

I ask you to reserve the 3rd and the 7th May 2022- whole day if possible. More dates will follow in January.
If you are abroad in the period January - March we can meet online.
have a lovely Christmas

ps. I attached an outline of the project



I am really looking forward to embark on the Strings journey. 

As the first phase of the actual creation process, I have organised a series of encounters with my colleagues in Agenda 2030 Graduate School, at their workplace. 

As a part of the group, I am really excited to meet them in their home department, also after Covid (well, it is not over yet…) it´s going to be nice to meet everyone in the flesh. 

We will be talking about the driving force of their research, and I have invited them to share with me their quality moments and things they love and live for. 


I am anticipating light and positive atmosphere, laughter, rising sun and uplifting spirits. The spring is a magical time, a lot of transformation going on and Lund University is an enchanted place during this time of year. It is going to be nice. 


I have found a perfect performance place for Strings Part II, Odeum, one of the oldest buildings of the University, a beautiful setting for The Hub and then we will also have performances at Inter Arts Centre in Malmö. 


The first interviews are set in mid January, the one-on-one performative encounters are kicking off in April and the Hub in May, in six months.

January 4th, 2022

Tue 04/01, 16:36

Hi all,

you should all have received an invitation from doodle to book a time for an interview with me, and here is another doodle link to the performance date poll.

The poll is checking your availability for the Performances May 3rd and May 7th at 16:00, 18:00 and 20:00. Each performance is max 40 minutes. I have blocked the whole day as a precaution and put in three performances as a maximum. The number of performances and the number of hours are subject to change. There will be a rehearsal in the morning and performances in the afternoon. 

Note: It is OK if you can only attend in the afternoon these days.

best Steinunn

10 January 2022 17:48:16

I am looking forward to our meeting on Wednesday at 10AM. The chat will take less than two hours.

As a preparation - please read through these questions.

* what motivates you to do what you do?
* what human/non human persons inspire you - how?
* what human/non human persons support you - how?
* what activities do you love to do in your work/research why?
* what are the everyday quality moments in your work/at the office/lab? 
* What are your daily rituals?
* Do you remember any stories from your childhood that relate to your choice of profession?
The interview will be organic and easy going.

With your permission I will audio record the session for the purpose of creating a script for the performance.

We will film your short answers to these questions:
How would you describe your research to a child?
Can you think of 3 objects that you cannot live without? (can you bring them to the interview?)
Can you think of 3 everyday pleasures? 
Can you think of 3 places you have a deep connection to?
Can you think of 3 things you love to do?
In addition: Can you make a list of up to 10 random things that you love/enjoy? (can be anything, a colour, something in nature, activities, songs, characters, fiction or real...)
The video recordings will only be used in the performance with your permission.
best Steinunn

January 10th, 2022

January 12th, 2022

Now I have started with my individual encounters. Today’s interview went well. I was drawn into the life, thoughts and reflections of L. What generosity and openness.

This is so exciting. I feel privileged.

I was chaotic and realised that I need to create a setup routine for these interviews. I want to come across as reliable. 

Life is taking over. Covid is affecting the flow of things. I planned the interviews quite tight for two weeks, but people are ill, have symptoms or someone in their close circles is hit by the pandemic. This will take longer time than anticipated. Now I am ill, and I must postpone four interviews at least.
We all have our complicated schedules, priorities and on top of that is the pandemic, like a looming monster.
Still, I am so thankful for the openness of my colleagues. We are planning one-to-one performances with strangers in their private workspaces in a couple of months and they all seem happy about that despite the precarious Covid situation.

February 10th, 2022


Thu 10/02, 07:42

hi A,

I am really sorry to have to postpone our chat today. I have fallen ill with a cough and fever. 
There are more time slots in a couple of weeks. Hopefully you can make it then.

best Steinunn

February 14th, 2022

Monday 14 februari 2022 11:52

Hi T

I had a positive covid test on my arrival to Iceland on Friday (I am here for 10 days). 

I only got the result yesterday evening. I had a cold last week and had a home test that was negative. 

You were the last person I interviewed before I felt ill. I cancelled all my interviews for the week, after you. 


Now I am feeling well and on Thursday I will get out of isolation.


I just wanted to let you know.


best wishes


March 5th, 2022

I was looking so much forward to the encounters with my peers. I had anticipated lightness and flow. What I am experiencing is turning out to be something different.


Surely my colleagues are open, generous, and positive about the whole thing, but it dawned on me that I am the only professional theatre artist working with 24 everyday experts individually. I must answer their questions, motivate them to participate, explain to them my intentions and educate them about participatory performance, collect the material, process their personal stories, and create the dramaturgy for two performances, part I and part II. These tasks at once in a precarious situation of the research is turning out to be too much for me to handle on my own. I am exhausting my own energy, and my motivation is dwindling.

This is not sustainable.

The interview was a very useful experience to think reflexively.


The interview. It was very therapeutic.


Very rewarding, almost like a meditation session or at least something in a slow enough pace and reflective mode of thinking which offers opportunities to think about broader questions related to work, self, colleagues, the university, research. This is very rare in the hectic academic life, as I have perceived it so far and through colleagues. 


It is always challenging to connect with others about who you are, I believe. Steinunn and I talked in a way that made me feel vulnerable and safe at the same time, a good type of vulnerable although it can be challenging.


March 14th, 2022

I feel somewhere between a salesperson and a journalist. First, I make an effort of selling my idea for the performance, especially how easy it is for my colleagues to participate, they should know that "there is no workload, just to turn up on the date of public encounters and for Part II, The Hub and I promise good fun”.  

My fellows do not need much persuasion, most of them have already made the decision to commit, but still I feel obliged to explain in detail to each participant the implications of participating and to reassure them that it will not take too much time from their own research.

Why am I downplaying their responsibility and that it does not take any effort to participate?

They should not want to participate because it is easy but because it is meaningful. Things that are meaningful, usually are demanding in some way or another.

This project is challenging for all of them, I should acknowledge that more.

They are already taking some of the burden and I truly feel their trust in me and faith in the project.

Logistically it is challenging to manage all the different aspects of the work, it is a piece of engineering, and everything goes into the equation. You need to calculate how everything moves and behaves and how it might affect the experience.
From experience, I know how challenging it is to work with everyday experts, to mobilize a big participatory piece without ever being able to rehearse anything. It makes no sense rehearsing since everything that happens in the performance is for real, so a test run is as much for real as a public performance.

In fact you can only plan it and then do it for real, there is nothing in between.


Note to self: I am dealing with real experiences all the time. There are no rehearsals. The performance has already started and it will never end.

It made me think more consciously about my motivations for doing research and how I'm connected to the people and objects that surround me. It triggered me to think about these questions that I found surprisingly challenging. 

March 21st, 2022

In my work the building blocks are experiences, real environments and living beings, human and more-than-human.

Now these experiences have become a heavy burden and I ask myself, why?
This is the part that I had been looking forward to.
What is making this part so draining?

I think the answer is that I have designed a method where the ´host – artist´ encounter is an interview, rather than an exchange.

I invite them to share with me stories from their childhood and ask questions about their research, their inspirations and motivations, questions that would touch their core values and sense of identity. This part is deeply profound and touches me to the core. I feel strong empathy towards my interlocutors, and the exchange becomes highly existential. Rather than sharing back my story and motivations, I put myself in the position of the listener, and I feel a responsibility for what they share with me. Deep listening takes a lot of concentration and being the keeper of someone else’s truth is heavy. I wonder how different my experience would have been if I would have designed the encounter as a dialogue and I would have shared my perspectives with them.
In this model, I have put myself in the role of the servant, taking up no space, listening to the needs of my interlocutors while suppressing my own needs.

What happens during these interviews is truly profound. My colleagues compare the interview with psychoanalyses or a profound personal opening. I understand that the method I have created has this potential, I have witnessed it, but it leaves me drained. Sometimes I have two session a day, and it leaves me completely exhausted emotionally and physically. This came as a surprise to me. I wanted the encounters to be light and effortless, not only for them but also for me.

I feel like I leave each interview with a whole life on my shoulders.

Life is never light – it can be inspiring but never light.

Should I doubt this statement?

Could life be light?


 Note to self: Do I always need to go so deep?

I got the spotlight on my own life and experiences through Steinunn's many questions and our dialogue. 

That it was slow, reflective, and based on mutual trust and respect.


March 28th, 2022

Today I had a very constructive session with Sofie Lebech. Last week I shared with her my anxiety about being alone and needing a partner, so she offered her help.

She gave me feedback on the manuscript for the personal encounters, We are all Researchers, and then went with me to Lund to check out the performance space for the gathering part, The Hub.
We went to Odeum in Lund and after one hour of dialogue, I had a preliminary structure in place.
This is what collaboration does for me. It makes me see straight.
I have been thinking and processing for some months, having ideas, processing interviews, and trying to digest my impressions in a script . An afternoon with a sharp professional can do wonders.

I feel like I have the structure now - this was a breakthrough.


Note to self: I will never work without a creative partner again.

Strings Part I

We Are All Researchers


A Manual for

Performative Encounters




At the entrance of one of Lund University Campuses.

The artist behind the work, Steinunn, meets an external guest that has booked time with a reasearcher within Agenda 2030 Graduate School. They greet the guest outside the building and invites them inside.


My name is Steinunn. The name is icelandic and is a combination of two words a stone and a wave. So my name actually means a pebble  - like this here. (shows the guest a pebble)

This stone has existed on earth from the beginning of time and will continue to exist to the end of time. We are made from the same material as this pebble – our origins is stardust. For hundred or even thousands of years it was lying in the sea and got shaped by the waves. Me too, during my lifetime I have been shaped by waves of events and things that surround me. Now I am being shaped by this encounter.

I am an artistic researcher and I am researching this very moment - with you.

I ask you to hold on to this stone during your visit, to connect you to the past and the future. You will be meeting J, that with their research is contributing to change in their field.

The exchange takes the form of a game, with cards that provide you with tasks to solve, things to observe, and questions to deal with.

The meeting will take around 40 minutes and you can stop the game whenever you want and leave.

Come with me.


The artist walks with the guest through the campus to the office of the researcher that invites the guest inside.







In the office the host give the guest an informal introduction:


Welcome to my office.

I am J and I am a biochemist and this is were I do my research.

What is your name?

Nice to meet you.


Informal chat between the two. The researcher explanes their research in simple terms to the guest.


In my research I am dealing with...

This is my desk but I do not use it that much. I mostly do work in the lab. What I love about the lab is the...

Do you want something to drink? Please have a seat.


The card game instructions

These guidlines are for the host to be mediated informally and organically with the guest:

The Cards have a title on one side and the tasks on the other. They come in a pile and the order of the cards are predetermined. This is negotiable. You can skip cards if they do not resonate with you or you can pick chosen topics from the pile.

There is one starting card for each participant, one for the guest and another for the host.

The guest starts reading his card in silence, then the host reads his first card out loud. After that the host and guest take turns in reading the cards out loud and solve the tasks together. The first card in the pile is TIME and the last is STORIES


Host: This deck of cards will lead our dialgoue. We are both invited to solve the tasks on the cards. The first card is for your eyes only.

I invite you to read it in silence. Then we can start the actual game.





Take a short moment to:

pay attention to your expectations for this encounter.

pay attention to your sensations.

pay attention to your surroundings.



I was a creative kid. As a teenager I was doing theatre and wanted to become a photographer. It changed when I visited my aunts lab and I realised how creative research can be and that black women have a place in knowledge production. Now I use my creativity in the high tec university lab where I recreate silk. Instead of taking photographs I mirror natures own design and get to explore the role of the silk worm.


What kind of child were you?

What where your interests?





Place the pebble on the table beside the string.


Compare and discuss the timeline and lifecycles of these objects.





Let the objects on the table stand for things that are dear to you and let the pebble represent you. With the string, create connections between yourself and the objects.

Find your own way of solving the task  - in silence or in dialogue. Take turns.





    1. Ask each other about something that you do not know and you think the other person knows.

    2. Share a piece of knowledge with each other that you think the other person does not have.






1. Change seats.

2. Take a moment to imagine that you are each other.






Take a time to reflect and than discuss following questions:


What are the things that move you to action?


Are you pulled or pushed?






Take time to reflect and discuss the questions:


1. Have you changed your mind about something?

2. What informs change?





Take time to reflect on the question:


1. What do you see around you, now and in the future?

2. Share with each other a vision, small or big.






1. Discuss:
If the pebble could talk, what story would ut tell about this encounter?

2. Make a sentence about yourselves starting with
”This is a story about a child that...“


Both the host and the guest write their stories on a peace of paper and when they are ready they share them with each other.


Host: Now our time is up.


Thank you for your visit.


The host and the guest have an informal chat to conclude the encounter.

The host guides the guest back to Steinunn and the guest returnes the stone to them.

The guest is invited to write a few words in a guest book.


Please use sidebar to scroll the text

March 29th, 2022

Tue 29/03, 15:48


M and J,

you will be partners on the 11th of April.

Attached is a draft of the manuscript, a prep list and soon I will send you individually a prompt on how to fit in details from the interviews into the format of the encounter.

The tasks and the questions are open for interpretation on purpose and are meant to start a dialogue rather then lead to certain answers. I hope you find them interesting.


There are four slots available to book on the day. We have no idea of how many people want to come...there is a chance that no one books for that particular day.


In case of full booking, I suggest that we start with M 2PM and 3PM and J at 4PM and 5PM. This might be negotiated depending on the booking situation. I hope it is OK with you.

The booking system is ready and the PR machine has been ignited.

There is now info on Inter Arts Centre homepage:


Do not hesitate to mail or call me on the phone if you have any questions or concerns.

Best Steinunn

April 1st, 2022

The anxiety I am feeling is partly a consequence of the “How Little is Enough?” approach.
I have reduced the production and concentrated the work so much that what is left is space for the magic to happen. But magic does not happen without spells, and they demand witchcraft and a lot of mental strength. The craft and the mental strength can never be taken out of the process.
What is the craft of making magic in my work?
There is the observing, the deep listening, thinking about, planning, communicating, processing, developing, framing and most importantly being present.

These tasks are intangible, and they are not heavy to perform but heavy to take responsibility for.

It is clear, that I am acting without my usual team of creators and producers that I would have in a conventional performance process. I am missing the colleagues that perform, make scripts, sets, costumes, lighting etc. It is only me now. Even if there is no light designer, I need to make sure the light is OK. I will pay attention to all the details of the staging, of the site, of all the elements that will affect the experience of the encounter.

I am not sharing the responsibility of my choices with anyone.

The burden I feel is an affect of this responsibility.


In STRINGS I am responsible for
• The personal stories and other personal details of my participants and partners.
• The wellbeing of the people involved in the encounters, guests, and hosts.
• The work I send into the world and partly its affect on the guests that encounter it.
• The material that is shared with me in my research.
• The knowledge/experiences that I create and mediate through my research.
• The methods that I create.
• My own existential sustainability.


and I make my self response-able to all these aspects.


I have created a porous creation method that invites me to think about responsibility as something that I share with others rather than taking the whole thing on my self.


So, I cannot blame the method for my stress. But it is true that I have called it on to myself by reducing the production and taking on a lot of roles on myself. Maybe there is too much of the old parameters inside of me. I need to question my expectations to the process.


Note to self: Porous creation process enables shared responsibility. Responsibility equals Ethics.

April 5th, 2022


Breaking promises to self

A few years ago, I suffered burn out. At the time I was a dean at the Iceland University of Arts and there had been a series of challenges situations that had put me in a situation of impasse. I took a couple of months off and then went on to recharge my existential batteries during a sabbatical. I made a promise to myself that I would not be a leader anymore, that I would not try to influence people and that I would just mind my own business. So when I left my job, I signed up for a PhD position. 

Somehow, I find myself repeating old patterns. 

In my research I have now created a situation where I am leading a group of people convincing them to do things my way. I am trying to influence all the participants, hosts and guests.


The PR is extra challenging. To convince people you do not know to come to your performance. It is hard, especially if you are creating something so marginal as I am doing. In Strings I have created a concept that involves a performance in two parts, a one-to-one performative encounter and a participatory “mock workshop”. I have no idea of how to promote this so an ordinary person would want to book a ticket.

 I feel like I have to explain in detail what the performances entail, because they are so experimental. For me the concept is very straight forward and easy to engage with, but for a mainstream spectators it is hard to imagine what it is about.

If you had to explain to a person what a regular theatre performance was, that had never been to the theatre before, it would be equally complicated. This is the downside of doing experimental performance and research. 

 You need to convince people to engage with your work and explain in details what it is going to be like…


This is partly what is draining my energy.


Tue 05/04, 14:42

Hi all,
Strings I, We Are All Researchers, starts next week and people have started booking.
Now we need to organise STINGS II, The hub.
Description STINGS II: The Hub:
The guests are invited to the lab. There are minimum 12 members of the Graduate school hosting the event. We all wear white lab coats. On arrival the guest will get a coat and a name tag. The guests will be divided in to four groups. In each group there will be two or more members of the graduate school. The groups visit four stations. There is a host from the graduate school at each station. At the stations the group gets different tasks to perform together .
Station yellow: Empathy Intervention. A is the station guard.
Station red: All the things I love. J is the station guard on the 3rd/who volunteers for the 7th?
Station green: All my connections. B is the station guard
Station blue: My research. I is the station guard.
M will be there with his guitar and play music (who wants to play music with M?)
Steinunn will be in the role of master of ceremony with a great gong to control the movement of the groups.
In the end each group has a short presentation and there will be a graduation ceremony where every guest will receive a diploma with their full name saying that they are truly researchers.
The structure will be refined and I will send out the final manuscript in due time.
Commitment - The performance takes about 1 hour 20 minutes.
Lund - May 3rd at 17 and 19. AND/OR Malmö -  May 7th at 15 and 17
No rehearsal is needed. You just have to be familiar with the tasks and be there in person half an hour before the performance starts. After the final performance I will invite you all to my home in Malmö to drinks and food.

I ask you to please sign up for the performances ASAP.

Best Steinunn


April 7th, 2022

W dniu czw., 7.04.2022 o 13:36 

Hi V,

you have booked a meeting with a researchers at JURIDICUM 12th April at 14:00.
The performative encounter will take place at the Faculty of Law at Juridiska institutionen, Lilla Gråbrödersgatan 4, 222 22 Lund. 
Please come to the main entrance of the building no later then 5 minutes before your appointment.

There will be a sign in front of the door where we will meet before I escort you to the researchers office.

In case of cancellation please reply to this email.

I am looking forward to meeting you.

Steinunn Knúts Önnudóttir

April 11th, 2022



The first day of performance and I am so anxious. I have been looking at my email the whole weekend to check the bookings. They looked OK for the week except for the first day.

At last, yesterday evening one person booked for todays performance. I was relieved. 


I worry too much about the booking situation, the stress level is out of proportion.


Todays encounters are in the chemical department with two candidates. J was not feeling well and had to withdraw. It is perfectly OK but still it went into my solar plexus as a feeling of rejection. 


I get hurt by the booking situation and I get hurt by the questions and concerns of my colleagues, the participants. 


It is a big load to lift, and I feel much too pressed. 


The work becomes an extension of my person somehow and in this context I feel like an outsider. I feel vulnerable but I am at the same time aware that I need to be strong for the participants, that are even more exposed than me, more out of place.


The thing seems so complicated. Not that the dramaturgy doesn’t work smoothly, but the whole thing needs to be explained to the guests. This is a performative encounter, the host/guest setup, and the whole participatory element as such. 


M was also a bit anxious, but we had a very good run with me as the guest. It became truly a performative encounter. I enjoyed doing the work as a guest.

The external guest came 40 minutes late but they were super positive and loved the entire thing. 


All in all it went well but I am drained after the day...I think it is my stress. 

I need to find a way to deal with it.

April 12th, 2022



I am writing this in the morning before I drive to Lund. One cancellation for today and I am already on a brink of a nervous breakdown. 

I had a walk in the morning trying to enjoy the sun and the spring. I am getting worried about my Magnolia tree that is starting to bloom too early this spring. Now everything is in a standstill – I hope the tree will regain its energy and continue to bloom.

This also goes for me. I need to find a way to flourish. I should be enjoying myself, but instead, I am suffering. I feel lonely dragging this heavy load.



The three guests that had booked today either cancelled, or did not turn up. 

I did the piece with both my lawyer colleagues.  I took good time with them and I had interviews with them afterwards. It felt meaningful.

Maybe I need to find a way to change the strategy for the work. There seems to be a Jinx on the whole thing. I am much too anxious and the whole thing has become too much of a burden. 

I got a mail from B that has the day tomorrow. Their kid is ill, and they will not make it. Luckily E can take the guests that have booked for tomorrow.


Note to self. I must surrender to the unknown and accept what is happening. 



I woke up and checked my mail. A message from E. They have fallen ill with fever and will not make it today. This is so unbelievable. Now it is beyond normal. I will cancel the visits today and hope that my luck will change for next week. 

The general feeling is that there is something not working in this model for me. 

I am not sustaining my health and my energy in this stress. 


I feel very much alone with this massive enterprise, motivating over 20 people to participate in something that they have no idea of what is. They have their research and their lives, and this thing comes on top of everything else they do. Theatre people are so used to put everything else a side when it comes to performances. Now I am experiencing the opposite, life is more important than this performance. 

I guess it is more natural - but it is new to me.


And for the cancellations. Of five bookings for the first two days, there have been four last minute cancellations or no shows. It comes across as disrespectful of people to book time and not show up or cancelling last minute. 

Yet again, the thought of charging a symbolic ticket fee for the guests to invest in the performance with their money. It is against what I believe in, but I understand why many services that have one-on-one bookings, create systems to trigger people to commit. Of course time is our most valuable currency and people’s attention is precious. But what people understand is money.

For my research I do not need that many guests. I would say that I need a minimum of 12 guests. But for me as an artist and a person I would like to have more – for the self-esteem. 


Still the stress level is too high!

Yesterday I thought that this work would drag me to death – that I would get a stroke or a heart attack or something. That is not normal.


 Not to self: I have to to appreciate the guests that actually turn up and forget about the ones that choose to be elsewhere.



I came to work at nine to meet E for coffee at nine o’clock. They did not turn up. WHAT IS HAPPENING!!!! And yesterday I broke a tooth, and a crown fell out. 

What messages is the world sending to me????


Tue 13/04, 10:29

Steinunn and B!

I sent this to your phone numbers as well.

I just woke up with a such a bad cold and a fever. I am so sad, because I was looking forward to today so much. I even went to the hairdresser yesterday! I had almost no symptoms yesterday (a bit tired) and today I am in for it real bad. 

Can we reschedule?

Can you make it anyway?


All the best, E

April 13th, 2022

April 14th, 2022

I am calm. I have accepted the situation. 

Yesterday I met E, they had been at the school at 9 o’clock and did not find me. 

Maybe I am creating an inner block that stops the flow of things...or maybe this is happening for a reason. 

I remember having the thought that we should start after easter. According to that idea these three first days of the performance were not meant to be. 


Also – yesterday, after letting go, I had a wonderful day – stress-free. 


I finished my clay at the workshop and had a lunch with my friends at the Theatre Academy and in the afternoon I enjoyed ice-cream in the sun. 

I cannot complain. 


I have the feeling it is going to be perfect.

It gave me a story for my motivation that I am not sure that I would have identified myself.


Texts by Steinunn Knúts Önnudóttir
in collaboration with
members of Agenda 2030
Graduate School





I was a creative kid. As a teenager I was doing theatre and wanted to become a photographer. It changed when I visited my aunt’s lab, and I realised how creative research can be and that black women have a place in knowledge production. Now I use my creativity in a high-tech university lab where I recreate silk. Instead of taking photographs I mirror natures own design and get to explore the role of the silkworm. 




When I was a kid, I liked playing in water. 

There were two lakes close to my childhood home where I used to swim. I trained swimming for a while but I didn´t like swimming for competition so I quit. I rather wanted to fight for the environment. 

Once we had an outdoor running test in a PE class. I was more concerned with picking up trash from the ground than completing the task, so I failed the tests. 

Now my main task is to find ways to reuse wastewater so children can continue to play in clean water. 

This is a test I wont fail.




As a child I had difficulty in reading and just wanted to climb trees. I would spend hours in a tree in my imaginary utopia. 

I found peace there. 

Now I am doing research about peace. I still find it difficult to read but I am driven to overcome my challenges to gain a better understanding of the world. 

I use utopia as a method to imagine the reconstitution of society. 




I was named after my grandmother that got her name from an enigmatic stranger that happened to visit the church when she was baptised. Because of my name I am often mistaken for a foreigner in my own country. As a child I learned how important it is to be able to tell your story and from my mother I understood how knowledge in all forms is empowering. 

Now I am exploring how the narratives of immigrants in Europe can be redefined in law, to benefit care and not profit. 





When I was a child, our neighbour asked my family to care for his parrot while he went on a vacation. 

He never came to pick it up. The parrot’s name was Jakob even though it was female. 

When we had spent over 20 years together Jakob died, and I started a micro sanctuary for neglected parrots. As a child I never understood human superiority on the planet. Jakob shaped my worldview and now I am exploring how vegan activists spread their worldview, what rhetoric they use and how their message is perceived. 




I was a very political child. 

I wrote a letter to the Swedish Television to protest the money spent on the Eurovision Song Contest arguing that the funds could be used for better things, like health care or schools. 

Now I am equally political but less angry and I do understand the value of the song contest. Instead of sending letters to people in power I am looking at how built environment can support people in their daily lives and how urban planning can support a more equal society and counter segregation. 

I hope my research reaches people in power.





When I was a kid, I really liked arguments. I would win any argument

and was praiesed for my rethoric skills. Later I understood that the

value of human connection was in the exchange, the listening and trying to understand each other.

Now I am interested in how empathy affects relations and decision-making. 

I hardly argue any more, but I like discussing with colleagues about professional matters.




As a kid I used to write stories in little homemade books. 

I was a curious child and had a strong urge to learn and write about the things around me, animals, humans, and nature. I had a teacher that encouraged me to use my creativity and her inspiration is very important for my research today. 

Now I tell the stories of instruments used in surgery. I trace the lifecycle of objects, their origins, their travels, and their impact on the world. This story will be written in a book intended for the future.




When I was a kid, I witnessed how financial fortune transformed people and relations in my family. I was lucky that I had parents that protected me from the toxic affect of money. Later when my schoolfriends went to business schools I felt an urge to pursue a more hermetic path. 

It led me to Kenya where I am now looking at how pastoral communities deal with the affects of climate change and how they can be aided on their own terms. 

In my experience the money is not the soul solution.




I was a very competitive kid, hard working and bright. 

What no one new was that I had dyslexia. 

I was determined not to let it affect my performance, so I worked double so hard to get the grades I wanted.  I have reached the third circle of studies and I can´t read a book but I do read other things. 

Now I am looking at how social sustainability looks like in practice. So instead of books I read policies, actions and testimonies from people and organisations in the field.





In my teens I witnessed how my home country, South Korea collapsed, and the free market transformed our culture to a more unjust society. I saw with my bare eyes how policy making affects peoples lives. 

I early wanted to work with these policies and have an impact.

UN was the place for that mission and that is where I am stationed.

Within my research and my job at the UN I am shedding light on a gap in investment law that favours the rich.

I hope to provide guidelines on how to interpret the SD goals legal meaning and how governments in poor countries can use it to shape their policies towards a more just system.




When I was 12-year-old I moved to Cambodia with my family.

I quickly understood how much I had in common with my multicultural schoolmates but also how different our worlds looked. I became curious about different customs and other perspectives.

Just before his death my father inspired me with stories from Malavi where he had lived and to honour his memory, I now am studying cultural practices in Malavi.

Different from the artistic and creative activities that formed me the practices I am studying can be both violent and harmful.





When travelling with my family as a child, I saw a beggar on the street. I started to wonder why we could travel the world and she could not, so I would ask my parents about this injustice. 

I developed an urge to elevate the voices of people that are less fortunate. 

In my research I am looking at how the garment industry can contribute to economic growth in low-income countries, while at the same time examining women’s role and condition in that development. 

I love wearing beautiful clothes, but I also want to hear the voices of the women that make them.



As a kid in Bogota, I was privileged and protected. I had a western education and acquired the knowledge of white western culture. I only saw the slums from the distance apart from when my grandmother took me for walks in the city outside of my protected fenced world. She talked to beggars and was friendly with people on the streets.

It was when I had aborted my carrier as a corporate lawyer and moved to Sweden and became an immigrant that I realized that I did not know much about the 33 regions of Colombia.

Now I follow the example of my grandmother and am drawing

attention to local knowledges, their untold stories, and untold geographies.




In my teens I would love to help my peers with their philosophy assignments. I loved philosophy and I loved being a teacher to my friends. Still, I did not listen to my inner voice when choosing my profession instead I followed the social and cultural convention and went into law. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, it made me unhappy. I became even more unhappy when I started working as a lawyer. There was no justice to be found and I started observing how law was constructed. 

Now I am studying how this construct of law relates to other types of normative constructs and how people function within these frames

...and then I sing. 




I grew up on a farm far from the troubles of the world.

In my family we talked a lot about the world situation. My parents remembered the world war II and told us children about it. Each year I helped out when my mother and the other women raised money for the red cross. At 15 I joined an international peace organisation where I worked for 15 years. 

I was given an inner compass. 

This compass has led me to do research on strategies for implementing change in our society. Today I am looking at the role of partnerships in achieving the Agenda 2030 sustainable goals.




As a child I was interested in the people around me, a bit like a detective, trying to understand why they behaved like they did. 

Now I am a psychologist, and this is what I do. 

I am researching how light affects the wellbeing of people. I come from the sunny Greece and later I moved to Northern Sweden with long dark winters where artificial light substitutes the sun. I want to find ways of designing light that brings people to green areas in urban environment to to strengthen their connectedness to nature.





When I was a kid, I travelled around Colombia with my father who was a lorry driver. I got to know my country that has the second largest biodiversity in the world. On our travels we slept in hammocks outside and I remember the overwhelming noise of the non-human during dark hours. For me the forest was amazing.

My mother taught me to have patience and I would spend hours observing different species in their natural environment. Now I am exploring how our own species make policies to protect the forest and all its lifeforms.






I grew up in Northern Norway with a mother from the Philippines. There is a long distance between these places both geographically and culturally. Somehow, I was the exotic one in both places. I was a curious kid and wanted to learn. It was a turning point in my life when I discovered that my parents did not “know it all”.

I had knowledge my parents did not have.

Now I am interested in how humans map the world, and how these maps in turn shape their understanding of the world.




I have been migrating my whole life.

I was raised in seven countries and four continents. As a kid, I was cared for and sheltered by my parents, a father from Finland and an Indian mother. 

As a teenager in Africa, I discovered that not everyone around me was as safe as me and I wanted to help out somehow. So, at the height of HIV epidemic, I joined a community service group that toured with educational theatre pieces about safe sex.

Now I use science to expose how migrant youth are vulnerable to sexual violence so they can be sheltered and cared for as I was in my youth.




I am a creature of the sea.

When I was a child, I would play for hours in the sea: The sea was for me a gateway to an imaginary world where I was the queen, and the world would dance around me. In the real world I did not have a space to express myself. Now the sea is inside of me, empowering me to tell my story through autobiographical performance. 

I use my imagination to create a future for migrants and minorities to regenerate their integrity through art.





As a child my father took me to see a musical and everything fell into place.

Music somehow confirms my being.

As a kid I took dance lessons and music lessons but the most fulfilling was experiencing the polyphony in choir singing. Music for me is an activity, not an object, an activity that you do with others.

The most important things are transmitted trough caring relations, like when my father introduced me to musicals.

Teaching is about care.

This is one of the important aspects of what I am exploring through my research.


April 19th, 2022


I am feeling much calmer about the whole thing. 

I am prepared for all sorts of things to happen today, out of my control. It is a wonderful spring day. The only shadow is that I received an email from A, that was supposed to be a host tomorrow telling me that his daughter is ill. M will take the three appointments tomorrow. 



We had a last-minute cancellation for the second visit today. Meaning that L, that had been so dedicated missed their chance to meet an external guest. 

I feel sorry for my colleagues that have taken their time off and made the preparations for the encounter and then there is a no-show. 

I am trying to find constructive ways of dealing with these situations so I did the work with her and recorded the dialogue as a documentation. 


Please use sidebar to scroll the text

April 20th, 2022

The day was great. The weather was beautiful and M was very motivated. We had three guests, all artists. They seemed very satisfied with the work, and M expressed their contentment. 

One thing happened during the third encounter of the day. M swayed off the manuscript and let the conversation roll freely. The guest was thrilled with the performance. It was a person I new and we spoke about the experience later. I asked about certain details in the piece and that was then I found out that they did not go through the piece.  

I let them read the remaining cards. Given the choice, they told me that they would have chosen to finish the piece. M explained to me that at some point the dialogue became so interesting that they saw no need to go back to the the script/the cards. They took the decision by themselves, not consulting the guest.

It made me think of how vulnerable porous structure is. 


I cannot deem if, what both of them described as meaningful dialogue, was better or worse than a dialogue that the cards generate. For sure it would have been different – but it would also be different on another day when it was raining or when they had other things on their mind. 


I felt bad about telling my friend that they didn´t finish the work (they only did 5 cards of 10). I created a dissatisfaction with something they had been perfectly happy about before I mentioned it. 


Of course, when you sway so much from the script – the work becomes something different and the few things that are planted in the structure are lost. The structure collapsed but the experience did not collapse, something else took over that was still in the framework of the performance.


This might also happen in more rigid structures when an idea invades the mind of a spectator. The difference in this case is that the whole work goes into the distraction. 

When thinking about it, I was sorry that they did not have the closure that is written into the dramaturgy. The free flowing encounter finished when the time was up and they had to stop talking, there was no closure, just a goodbye.


On second thoughts. The idea of the closure is of course my own construct…the work will continue after the guest leaves as it started long before the encounter took place.


Note to self: How should I respond when rogue elements take control? Should I try to prevent it or should I welcome it? 



I thought it was a wonderful experience, where I got to meet other people in a very candid personal way as we were given several tasks to complete together. It was also quite an emotionally intense experience, as I felt tired but very satisfied - especially after the interview and String part one.

It was also an opportunity to meet and engage with new people, which was very nice.

Still a wonderful spring weather. The host of the day is wonderful – very mild, gentle, and sharp. A guest is sitting with them now, and they are taking their time. Now I am afraid that the host will miss an appointment that I know they have in a short while. 

But I trust that they will have things under control, like they did with me during our test run. I am feeling calm. I understand the precarious nature of the work and I must deal with it. 

I have accepted the fact but what exactly I have to do is still unclear to me. 


The mantra:  Things are as they are. Do not try to judge what is happening. 

Today that is easy.

21st April 2022


It did give me new thoughts about my work which I wrote down after the meetings, ways to understand my theory through practical experiences that was shared with me or that I shared, for example. 

I think about my work in a more positive way now.

Of only four bookings this week, two were cancelled. 


I am trying to understand why it is so hard getting people to book tickets for the performance and then to actually turn up. 

I think there are several reasons. 

  • It is in the daytime, during working hours
  • It is in Lund and the audience for this type of performance is in Malmö
  • It is unconventional and participatory
  • Performative encounter does not ring a bell
  • I am new to this place and do not have any followers
  • The participants are insecure about what they are participating in and therefore have even harder time than me to promote the work in their circles 
  • Covid: people are reluctant to book an intimate meeting with a stranger and are more likely to cancel if minor symptoms occur


So, if I want an audience for the work, I need to have a skilled PR person that helps with getting the work to the right people. 


I neither have a PR person nor a producer and that is a problem. 

I am taking on all the practical, logistical tasks and they are stressing me out. 


I need to take this seriously – I´d rather not do the work if it is so stressful.


24th April 2022

I am more conscious of being a researcher next to many other roles I have in life. It is quite a new role for me that, through the interview, I became more aware of.

It allowed me to put my life and work into a closer relationship.

Wed 20/04, 11:14

Hi  all in the graduate school,

We will be hosting STRINGSI hub during the sustainable week. Many have already signed up. It is a performative encounter between the members of AGENDA 2030 graduate school and guests that book tickets for the event.

The format is like a workshop with easy tasks and discussions about why we do research. The group is divided in four groups that all visit four stations that focus on different topics. You just need to be there as a part of the group and participate in the activities with your colleagues and the guests.

 Below is a further description of the performance.

Can you participate at any of these occasions? Lund - May 3rd at 17 and 19 AND OR Malmö -  May 7th at 15 and 17

You can commit to one performance or to all of them and everything in between.

The performance takes about 1 hour 20 minutes.
The performance is for people in all ages so you can bring your kids.

No rehearsal is needed. You just have to be familiar with the tasks and be there in person half an hour before the performance starts.

We need a minimum of 10 people for each event. 
At present moment we still need a few more people to commit : )

May 3rd: J, C, K, C, M, I, M, L, T, (E)
May 7th: S, SH, J, B, I, M, M, A, (K)

After the final performance I will invite you all to my home in Malmö for drinks and food.

I ask you to please sign up for the performances ASAP. 
Send me an email with a date and a time.


I woke up with a high stress level. This is not sustainable.  My body goes straight into highest level of stress mode. It might be a consequence of my burnout in 2018. 

I urgently need to change strategy. I have created these working conditions myself. 

This is both too much and too little. Too much stress and too little support.


But here is the thing. I had a series of good meetings today. I had meetings with station guards for The Hub about their roles. They were open and generous, engaging with what I proposed to them, taking part and contributing to the decision making. It felt right. It made so much sense to bounce with people about the work – it comes naturally to me. This is how I think and work best, in a dialogue with others. Professional theatre people or not, they are human beings and have an insight that is valuable.  


I am constantly trying to make it easy for people to join, but that is not the right strategy. People need to invest and commit, by doing so,  it becomes more fulfilling for them also. 


How did I end up isolating myself in such a way? 


A lot of positive things are happening and everything is steadily moving forwards.


Note to self: I don´t need to take my emotions so seriously. They are like the weather. 

25th April 2022

It felt like there was always a good balance between the two people meeting, one had prepared more and new more but was also in a safe space (me) while the other had to "follow the unknown" a bit more but also perhaps felt less responsibility for the encounter.

The swopping seats also helped this.

I enjoyed the encounter for String part one. We had a very dynamic discussion and it forced me to be very present and creative.

26th April 2022


The only booking for the day has been cancelled. 

I am planning to do an encounter with the two hosts of today and sit in as a witness to their conversations. It is a way of making this meaningful for all of us. Not to go down with the disappointment but find a way of making this worth while. And today, the sun is shining and my Magnolia tree is starting to pick up.



I was a witness to the encounter of my colleagues today. It was interesting listen to their dialogue, so rich and deep. Two people from different continents both from law, discussing on professional and personal level their worldviews and values. It was so inspiring. I learned a couple of things and there where interesting openings…like comparing law with sorcery, lawyers with wizards. The wand and the cloak and putting spells on people. 

But of course it was a big disappointment not to have guests. 


Still I am on the verge of a nervous breakdown. 


When I was sitting in the office of C in Eden after a good talk with them about their role as a station guard for “Empathy” in The Hub, they got a message about an important meeting that they had to attend at the time of the performance, so they had to cancel there and then. Now I need to find a new station guard for “Empathy”. Yet another disappointment. 


I am thrown back to being 7 years old – when living in Bolungarvík and I invited all the kids in the village to my birthday party and only two came. It is a profound feeling of rejection. I know that it has nothing to do with me personally but there is something with the design of the event that makes it so hard for people to invest their time in it. 

The researchers invest their time of course and for that I am thankful, but I also feel responsible for them as well, on top of this feeling of rejection.


But I had a wonderful music rehearsal with M and M at Odeum and then I had a test run with K. They are rock solid in their support. I appreciate that. C also had an encounter that was good for both parts.


I am getting more and more nervous about the Hub – and the booking situation there. 

I am weighing my options. Should I cut down on the number of performances? Only have one performance in Malmö? Should I cancel tomorrow’s encounters? These decisions I am taking on my own. My anxiety is out of proportion. 


I had a long talk with my second supervisor yesterday. They talked about staying with the feeling rather then suppressing it. They said that if I allow it to be it will vanish. So, this I am trying to do. It is a very physical condition. It feels like an inflammation in my nerves and a throbbing pain in the chest and a grip in my throat. It does not look good reading that sentence. 


I drew three tarot cards today – they seem to have captured the situation quite well.



The Hanged Man

A sacrifice mediates the situation and returns it to normal.

The Hanged Man represents the taking of a loss. He's the sacrificial lamb, whether it's accepted with grace or only because it's been forced upon him. 




Eight of Wands

You are caught in a vortex of intensifying demands.

The Eight of Wands in this position indicates that you are running to keep up with people and circumstances that seem to be out of control. Being proactive may be difficult now. 


The World
You have mastered the elements of your life to the degree that success is a regular occurrence. The World in this position challenges you to maintain a dynamic balance between inner pressures and outer circumstances, your male side and your female side, innocence and wisdom, action, and response. You have grown into your potential. It's wonderful to find yourself at the centre of the universe, in the right place at the right time.


27th April 2022

Tue 26/04, 13:37

Hi everyone,

I am desperately looking for lab coats to use in Strings, next week.
I need as many lab coats as possible.
I have talked to different agents at the University, the hospital and Skåne tvätt that services the University, but they cannot help me.

Many of you have access to a lab coat at your institution. 
Would you be able provide one or two coats each for next week? We might get enough lab coats with a collective effort.

For those not participating in the performance, I can come and collect the coat at your department.

Other preparations for the Hub are well under way. Looking forward to doing this with you : )

I remind you of the party on May 7th after the final performance - it is also for people not participating : )

best Steinunn

April 28th, 2022

Strings was in the Ecology building today. 

Still more cancellations and H had to stay home with a sick child. 

It is having the same destructive effect on me. 

This performance is very fragile, that is a fact.

With one host at home I did a hybrid run through. 

My colleagues are eager to perform the piece even though we do not have external guests. It has a profound affect with whomever you do it with, strangers or friends. It brings closure to the process and has magical potential.

J had one guest. They had a long and deep conversation and both expressed contentment with the encounter. The guest asked if it would be appropriate to seek another more informal encounter with the host later. This is the third guest that asks about this. It seems like people want to continue the dialogue. I try to tone the urge down and invite people to check out the website of Agenda 2030 Graduate School for more information about the candidates.


I am feeling calmer. I feel it in my body that the project is soon coming to an end. I have been preparing the manuscript for The Hub and it is coming along nicely. I have been developing the script for the past two weeks together with the 7 designated station guards of the four stations: Care, Empathy, Connection and Love. Each time I have a talk with someone things move and the script changes. 

Very special and lots of food for thought. In particular how easy it is to open up to others and talk about personal and "deep" things with strangers.

29th April 2022



I met with A to borrow the last two lab coats.

One of the most challenging missions of the project has been providing enough lab coats for all the participants. At last, now I have around 30. 

We have place for 20 guests for each performance. 

I am finishing the manuscript and will send it by email to my colleagues this evening. 

I have just the right number of participants for The Hub – if only one cancels, I am in trouble.

I hope there will be no more surprises. 

This is a story about a child...

A collection of stories generated in the one-on-           one encounters We Are All Researchers

              11th April – 6th May 2022



This is a story about a child

that threw himself into the wild

with his eyes closed and his hands tied.

Nowhere to hide, he somtimes cried.

Often tears of joy, often tears of despair.

Often on a shoulder often out of glare.

Always wondering, how could this be fair?

Always wondering, is he still a child?


This is a story about a child that needs to know.



This is a story about a child that was optimistic and dared to disrupt for change.



This is a story about a child

that loves the sunshine.




This is a story about a child that looks with curiosity to the world.




This is a story about a child that live in her own imagination, playing in the dirt and hugging the trees.



This is a story about a child that went to a foreign shore and found a pebble.

It was a wintery day and she had forgotten...



This is a story about a child that did not grow up.



This is a story about a child that grew up too early and learned too much.

Now it cannot go back.



This is a story about a child that is still looking and trying to find meaning.

Still stumbling along.



This is a story about a child that would still like to be a child

but is none the less

happy not to be.



This is a story about a child that always was very concerned about pollution and nature but never found it self in a social setting that called for action. Now the child is exploring the activities of others that feel a call for action.



This is a story about a child that left the island and is now looking for a ride back home.



This is a story about a child that never wanted to grow it created a way of participating in the grownup world with games and play.



This is a story about a child that took the long and sometimes wrong path toward a life where curiostity is allowed to be the guiding light and where wrong is nolonger wrong but rather an extra, adventurous detour!



This is a story about a child that no one but we could understand but then forgets how to read it.



This is a story about a child that went out in the world and met some people that were situated differently and it made the child wonder how to do something good.



This is a story about a child who never wants to give up on the world and everyone who shares it.



This is a story about a child that was a dreamy child, but actually made quite a few dreams come true.



This is a story about a child that sailed the ocean and never returned.



This is a story about a child that loved the spring.



This is a story about a child that has  led a good life but not without some struggles.



This is a story about a child who saw everything.



This is a story about a child that is trying to stay focused.



This is a story about a child that never left the sea.



This is a story about a child who loves to swim in the green sea. The child will grow up in salt and waves and become a life dancer.



This is a story about a child that stayed a child until she grew old.



This is a story about a child that never left the sea.



This is a story about a child that wants to be better.



This is a story about a child that loved the sea.



This is a story about a child that knows she is lucky and lives in gratitude.



This is a story about a child that is looking for change.



This is a story about a child who realised how lucky she was and lives with gratitude.



This is a story about a child that never went far from home – it was inside her.



This is a story about a child that learned to grieve and hold the experience of loss long enough to let it go.



This is a story about a child that appreciated being listened to and heard.



This is a story about a child that was charged by great expectations but who ever since fulfilled them in most unexpected ways.



This is a story about a child who never stopped day dreaming, and the world and the people in it never stopped surprising her.



This is a story about a child that had emotions and even if they burdened him from time to time, they always led to the fruitful road he seeked...



This is a story about a child that tried and tries to listen to others...



This is a story about a child that managed to pass a quite a lof of different stages of live and still keep some of the childissness.



This is a story about a child that stopped being so impatient and just let things happen.



This is a story about a child that does not know what is about to happen.



This is a story about a child that was bright, curious and impatient. The child slowly learned to listen more to the world rather than wanting to change it.



This is a story of a child that has travelled all the world and came back to the place where it started and recognised it for the first time.

We cannot waist its value.


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May 2nd, 2022

Everything is falling into place. Tomorrow is the opening of The Hub and still at every corner there is a challenge. Now M, the most stable participant, has withdrawn from Saturday´s performance in Malmö. I guess I will have to skip the music for that day. I am sorry, but things have stopped surprising me. 

Whatever happens tomorrow I will not know, but for sure it is all a part of my research.

It made me re-examine my motivations for the changes I am making in my life.

It made me connect some dots in relation to why I do what I do, and I research what I research.

Strings Part II

The Hub


An Extended Manual for
Performative Encounters




We are situated in Kapellsalen in one of the oldest buildings of Lund University at the heart of the City Campus.

It is spring and the magnoliatrees are in full bloom outside.

The hosts, members of the Agenda 2030 Graduate school, wearing white lab coats, welcome their guests on arrival.

Steinunn, the headmistress is sitting at a table and greets each guest as a student for the research training program that is about to start. She will give them a form to fill out with their name, a form that later becomes their certificate. The guests will be divided into four groups, Earth, Air, Fire, Water.

For each group there will be one member of the graduate school as a group leader. The guests will then get a white lab coat and a name tag from the group leader.


The group leader will take responsibility of the group´s movements and facilitates the assignments and when possible share their research and details of their projects. The group leaders do the assignments together with the group.


The groups will visit four stations where there is a host from the graduate school. The group has 20 minutes to perform tasks together in each station.

The station guards will  act as moderators at the stations. Tasks and texts are written on cards that the station guards can read from or ask guests to read from.

The training stations are

    • Care. (inside)
    • Love. (inside)
    • Empathy. (outdoors)
    • Connections. (outdoors)

Two members of the Graduate school make up the house band with a guitar and piano. They play music when people arrive, during intervals, when groups move between stations and in the graduation event at the end.


Steinunn will be in the role of master of ceremony with a great gong to control the movement of the groups.

The performance ends with a graduation ceremony.




Opening speech




Welcome to the Hub,


We are the members of Agenda 2030 Research School and we are delighted to have you as our guests. We are summoned here in the cradle of knowledge, in one of the oldest Universities in Europe that dates back to a fransiscan mediaval university that was founded in Lund 1425 and became Lund University 1666.

My name is Steinunn Knúts Önnudóttir and I am a theatre maker and an artist researcher. You are now situated in the heart of my research, in what I call a transformative encounter. This is a theatre performance.

Everything that happens during the performance is real especially when it gets magical. I ask you to pay special attention to the magic. It is most likely to happen in the akward moments, when there is silence and when we are not ready with an answer.

I will be observing, taking photographs and notes to investigate the potential of this performative encounter. I also encourage you to take photographs and notes.

You are free to have your phones with you during the whole experience and if you have a social media account please share the pictures using the hashtag #stringsthehub. If you do not want your photo to be posted on instagram or used later in connection to my research, please talk to me or one of the researchers that are here with me today.


Let me now introduce M and M the house band. Do you want to introduce yourselves?


M and M introduce them selves


Can I ask the other members of the Graduate school to step forward so we can see you. You will get to know them in your work today.


The members of the graduate school introduce them selves



The hub is a training camp for everyday researcher and we are here to work on the four pillars of research. Namely Care, Connection, Empathy and Love. Without these elements our knowledge is worthless.


We are all researchers. Through our lives we explore and aquire knowledge every day. Some more systematically, others adapt to changes around them without actively seeking new knowledge. Whatever is the case, we all have things that interest us, things we love and care about and connections that move us to action.


This is were our focus will be today.


We want to give you an opportunity to explore with us the driving forces of change and contemplate for a brief moment our motivations for acting or not acting in the world.



You have been divided into four groups and in each group we have a member of the Graduate School. You will be asked to work as an individual within a group. You have 20 minutes to complete the assignments in each station. When you hear the sound of the gong it is time to move to the next station.

By the end of each session you will get a stamp in your personal studybook. When you have collected all four stamps you will qualify for The Four Pillars of Research Certificate.


The last stamp you will get with me.


We conclude the training program with a graduation ceremony.


I ask the groups to prepare a joint sum up of their experience to present at the graduation. Group Earth and Fire will start outside with C and T and group Air and Water will start inside with I and J.

Enjoy your training.



Guidelines for Care


Hi my name is I,

Welcome to this training station.

Should we start with a short nameround.


We will be focusing on Care.

Care can be a verb or a noun but it can also be a quality. Caring is about how we interact with our surroundings. It also relates to how we deal with our past and how we prepare for the future.


In my research I am dealing a lot with care...

The group leader shares with the group how care connects to their research project.


Before we turn to the actual tasks, is there anyone that wants to share perspectives on care?

The group has a brief discussion on what care means to them.


Group Leader: We have two tasks to solve.





Caring for the past.


Take a moment to think about one thing from before you were born that is heartwarming, tender or supportive in your life. A thing can be fx. an object, a story, a tradition, an idea.


Share with each other what it is – with or without explanations.




Caring for the future.


Choose a pebble and write or draw on it,

a message for the future.


The message can be for

the future-you


a future-someone or -something.


If you do not want to make a mark on the stone you can wisper the message to the pebble.


You may take the pebble with you when you leave.



Guidelines for Love


Hi my name is J,

Welcome to this training station.

Should we start with a short name round?


Here we focus on the things we love, the things we want to sustain. I will invite you to immerse your selves in the things you love with the help of this projector and these loudspeakers.

The group sits in a half circle turned towards a projection from the Amazon Forest, in the loudspeakers there are forest sounds. The group leader steps into the projection and the image is projected unto their white lab coat.


I am now standing in the middle of the Amazon forest. You can also here the sounds of the inhabitants of the forest, human and non-human.

The driving force for my research is my affection for the Amazon forest ...

The group leader explains how their research relates to the forest.


Before we turn to the actual tasks – is there anyone that wants to share perspectives on love?

The group has a brief discussion on what love means to them.


We have two tasks to solve






What do you want to sustain?



Think about one thing

that you would not want the future to miss out on.



Share with each other this thing – with or without explanation.









What do you want to immerse yourself in?


As a group, agree on one thing

that you all love and you would like to sustain for the future.


Find an image of it online.

Find a sound online for the thing you love.


Project the image onto the wall

and send the sound to the loadspeakers.


Immerse your selves in the image.


Take pictures of each other in the immersion.



Guidelines for Connections


Hi my name is T

Welcome to this training station.

Should we start with a short name round?


Here we want to provide an opportunity for you to contemplate your connections.

We connect to people, places, things and ideas – we connect through time, space and dimensions. Even though we are not always aware of our own entanglements in the world, the strings are still there.


There are always strings attached.


In research these connections become significant. We can even say that research is about exposing and trying to understand the meaning of already existing connections or create new ones. In this session we focus on our personal connections that may affect our actions and choices. In research we try to situate our selves to understand our possible biases and to clarify where we stand and where we get our ideas from. It is probably because of our connections that we feel motivated to contribute to change in the world. Objectivity does not exist – transparency is maybe its substitute.


In my case I can see how my entanglements with places and people have an impact on what I do and how I do things....

The group leader shares a personal story/reflection on their entanglements related to their research.


Before we turn to the actual task – is there anyone that wants to share perspectives on connections?

The group has a brief discussion on what connection means to them.


The group leader: We have on task to solve.







With a string, create a symbolic web of your connections by attaching it to branches, benches

or other things in proximity to this place.


While the string represent your connections, the points represent moments, people, places or ideas.


Create your own logic.

There is no right way of solving the task.


Observe how your web connects to other webs.


Take a picture of your web or ask someone to take a picture of it.


Trace back your entanglement and collect the string and leave it with the station guard.



Guidelines for Empathy


Hi my name is C.

Welcome to this training station.

Should we start with a short name round?


We are here to have a short practice in empathy.


The group leader talkes shortly about how empathy manifests in their research project.


First, I will shed light on what the science says about empathy and then we will make some practical exercises.


The text I am about to read is from a colleague from the Graduate School that is studying empathy.


You might think that feeling empathy just happens. In a way, that is true. When you watch a movie, you relate to and maybe even share the feelings the characters experience. In this situation, empathy “just happens”. Nonetheless, research has proven that empathy is under our control. We can often choose to approach or avoid situations that make us feel empathy. I will show you that the benefits of feeling empathy outweigh the costs associated with it.

People feel empathy when they are motivated to do so. Scientists from Stanford University have studied why people want to feel empathy. In one study, they simply told participants that empathy can be increased. Participants that heard this tried hard to increase their empathy. When we realize that we can increase our empathy, we become motivated to feel more empathy with others.

People sometimes feel that empathy is exhausting and avoid it.

But individuals that see themselves as good empathizers often do not experience empathy as exhausting. In a study from Penn State University, researchers told people that they were good at judging other people’s feelings. This led the participants to see empathy as effortless. So, if you feel that you are a good empathizer, feeling empathy is easier. If feeling empathy is easy, you are less likely to avoid it.


Are there good reasons to become a more empathic person?


Research has shown that there are plenty.


Most of us like empathic people. People with a lot of empathy often get along well with others. For instance, empathic people are good at understanding others’ emotions. This in turn makes you well adjusted.


Empathy has positive effects on both work and private life.


Empathy can help you to be more efficient at work. Scientists from Michigan State University showed that managers with a lot of empathy also had teams that are more efficient. Their team members often reached their daily goals and were also less stressed.


Empathy is good for romantic relationships and keeping friends, as well. Couples who are skilled at understanding others’ emotions are better at helping each other in everyday life.

In sum, you can improve your empathy and there are several benefits to being an empathic person. It can help you in your work and your social life. Empathy makes you well adjusted.

Empathy can make people around you feel better and makes you keep your friends. Learning that you can control your empathy is your first step towards becoming more empathic person.


Practice your empathy and you will become a better, more empathic, person.



So, this is what we will do now.

Before we turn to the practice– is there anyone that wants to share some perspectives on empathy?


The group has a brief discussion on what empathy means to them.

The group leader: We have one task to solve.





Choose a thing to practice your empathy with.

An object

A plant

A being


Try to imagine that you are this thing.

What has it experienced?

What does it relate to?

How does it feel?

How does it perceive the world?


Pay attention to your feelings towards the thing.

Ask the thing if you can take a picture of it.

Repeat the exercise if you have time.



When the groups have gone through the four stations and completed all the tasks they summon in Kappelsalen to have the last stamp from the headmistress that will be sitting at her desk.

When the last certificate has been stamped the headmistress will hit the gong to summon everyone for the last ceremony where the candidates are formally given the title everyday researcher . The headmistress adresses the candidates that in turn share reflections or experiences from the training. There is an open forum to be used for sharing wisdom, ideas and sentiments.

There will be cheers and a fourfold hip, hip hurray before the gong sounds for the last time.

The houseband plays music while the “students” mingle and gradually leave the space with their new diploma under their arms.


May 3rd, 2022


I am ready. Sitting at the office at 11 in the morning with my desk very tidy. 

I am preparing for the encounters tomorrow. I am as ready as I can be. The sun is shining, and I have the feeling that this will be a good day. The Magnolia tree in my garden and the magnolia trees in front of Odeum are in full bloom. It is magical and the scent is breath taking. 

Enchantment is kicking in.

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Everything turned out great – people were happy, participants and guests.

The porous dramaturgy opened for all sorts of perspectives – we even had a challenging guest that somehow thrived in the structure, despite a bit of resistance. They could say what they wanted to say and demonstrate their position to things within the structure. 

I am pleased. Someone described the experience to me as both light and profound – that is exactly what I wanted. 

Today I have a full day with encounters in The Architect building in Lund. 

This will be the final day in Lund as we will be moving to Malmö for the last encounters.

4th May 2022


In the Hub, it was enjoyable to talk to strangers about so many different things and to share the, at times little awkward, experience together. It was very intense though, and my mind was very drained afterwards.

I found that it is the times that I have challenged myself and done something that I am slightly afraid of doing that has changed my life for the better. The Hub experience made me very comfortable with the big choice I have just made with my family to move far away and really confirmed to me that this is a good thing to do.

Now the work seems to roll. Yesterday ran smoothly like planned and it worked perfectly. The two candidates in The Architect building were great hosts and they both had good experiences. My prospect opponent for the 75% seminar and my supervisor were there, and the supervisor was extremely positive. Our challenging guest from Tuesday´s Hub came and was well behaved and positive. They need attention and this format allows them to have their space, so I am happy that I got to change my view on them. 

Now it all feels worth while, the anxiety, the pain, and the desperation that I have suffered through the process.

I am happy that it was not in vain. 

But I will definitely change the way I work in the future.

May 5th, 2022



[the] work stretches far beyond the performance elements of Strings and goes back to us finding ourselves as researchers, how we exist in work and how we exist in this world.

For me the hardest part was to let go of the logic reasoning.

I thought it was a profound experience.

Four successful encounters yesterday and four encounters planned for today. The work is rolling and suddenly everything feels smooth and easy.

What a change.

Malmö is a better suited environment for this type of performances.

The booking situation is much better and there are almost no cancellations.

May 6th,  2022

[ I was affected] in the sense that I know that everyone" has "big" thoughts about "big" things and that one is never to underestimate this. Also that academia has a big role to play in educating social conscious people and encourage more compassion and love in our teaching, to not underestimate what bringing all this people together in a university does and can do.

Fascinating and thought-provoking.

May 8th, 2022

The last Hub was performed yesterday at the Inter Arts Centre.  It went well and everyone seemed to enjoy the experience, both the hosts and guests. It was a different feel to the whole thing than in Lund, less magical but more playful. We had some children present and that might have added to the playfulness. The guests were engaged and motivated. I invited everyone home afterwards and Eirikur made really good food.

July 7th, 2022


Seven months later and I am in Kyoto, Japan. 

I am reading my diary from Strings and trying to understand why the project had to be so heavy and stressful for me personally. What did exhaust my energy during the process?


There are a few crucial facts that count for my conditions. 

I was alone. 

I had reduced the production to the point that it was no longer sustainable for me. 

I had too little support to produce the piece, mentally and practically.

I was unable to share the responsibility with anyone. 

I had already suffered burnout a few years prior to the process, that made me vulnerable to the inevitable pressure of making a work of this magnitude.


The stress levels may have been out of proportion, but I recognised patterns from my previous practice. For a freelancing theatre maker, it is a recurrent challenge in their practice, having to cope with all the threads of a production and being overwhelmed with responsibility that comes with the many roles you take on. 


In a project focusing on sustainability, it is only appropriate that I pay attention to the existential sustainability of myself. Existential sustainability for me is when I am nourished; physically, mentally, and spiritually. I am motivated to do meaningful work. I feel purpose and I find myself in a friendly environment exchanging experiences. 


Several times in the diary I make a promise to myself to find a new way of working. 

So, what did I learn from the process? 


I have come to understand that to be existentially sustainable you have to take your needs seriously.


So here is a list of my needs as an artist:


  • I need to be in touch with the things I love and that nourish me.
  • I need to be present in my body.
  • I need good motivation for doing work.
  • I need to stay close to my values.
  • I need creative partners.
  • I need moral support. 
  • I need practical support for production and promotion.
  • I need to be free from promoting or selling tickets while creating a work. 
  • I need to articulate my own needs and organise the work around them. 
  • I need to understand the needs of my collaborators.
  • I need to share the responsibility with my collaborators.
  • I need to tap into an organic flow of things and avoid forcing things to happen.
  • I need to treat every encounter as a reciprocal exchange.
  • I need to listen to myself.
  • I need to enjoy the process.



I will try to honour this list of needs in my future work. In the spirit of the How Little is Enough? approach, I could reduce this to a single sentence.



December 8th, 2022

Book version of STRINGS, the manual. PDF.

Strings - a photobook. PDF.

Text only - PDF version - click below.


A personal diary from 2020 - 2022.

Personal emails.


Texts have had minor editing.

Only parts of the diaries are used in the Logbook for Strings.

Names of participants have been shortened to the first letter in their first name.


Direct quotations are from an anonymous survey sent to the participants of STRINGS and from Strings guestbook.


Photographs are being used with the permission from the individuals depicted.

Photographs: Steinunn Knúts Önnudóttir & Charlotte Østergaard.