Mats Utas is a professor in Anthropology and head of the department of Anthropology and Ethnology at Uppsala University. His research mainly focused on conflict and post conflict situations based on extensive fieldwork in West Africa, mainly Liberia and Sierra Leon.
In this video he contributes with his analysis on gang culture based on post-conflict Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leon and draws some observations on organisational structures and contexts in which criminal groups emerge.
Are these patterns that dissimilar from those we see around gangs in Europe and North America?
Filming and editing by Lost in a Cup’s video director Carl Broberg (2020).
Uppsala is our home city and every year the municipality organises Kulturnatten, an event which normally gathers thousands of people who visit Uppsala from all over Sweden. This year, due to covid-19 it is going to be 100% digital which, on the bright side, means that people from all over the world can take part in the celebrations.
We are proud to announce that our digital ‘Cultural Café’ event is going to be a part of this year’s schedule. The event will be held in English.
WHEN: 12th of September 2020 at 19:00 (Swedish time – CET)
After a Summer break and loads of iced coffees in the sun, Lost in a Cup is back in town and so are the Cultural Cafés!
Following the success of our first digital event in July, we decided to keep it going and hold more events in the coming months with different themes and topics to focus on to get the debates going and bring people together in our borderless cultural cafe.
The theme this time is going to allow us to debate a situation of doubt we have all experienced at some point or other in our lives. When we see someone breaking the law should we: report it, try to sort it out ourselves or just walk past and totally ignore it?
Whether it directly affects you or it doesn’t, should you report what you’ve witnessed? To what extent should we tolerate wrong doings? Or take our own direct action? When instead should we delegate it to the authorities?
We look forward to gather together once again, with people from different countries and backgrounds, to discuss the topic and challenge our thoughts with inspiration from academic research. Prepare your coffee-cup and get ready for the second Cultural Café!
History teaches us of the many great things mankind has achieved but can also show us the big mistakes made over and over again in time.
Depending on how you were taught it in school you most likely either love it or hate it and that has a lot to do with how it was presented and what way you engage with the past. This video by ‘The School of Life‘ gives a good intro to ‘History’ as a subject and the problems in the way it is taught.
Through time many things change including consensus over certain topics and behaviours which brought us to discussing if moral behaviours committed by people in the past should be judged by today’s standards. We listened to some extracts of BBC Radio 4’s programme ‘The Philosopher’s Arms’, originally aired in 2013 and available online via BBC Sound.
During the discussions, the participants shared a lot of interesting suggestions on things to read about connected to the topic. We listed some of them here:
“Enlightenment Now” by Steven Pinker
“Erst kommt das Fressen, dann kommt die Moral.” by Bertolt Brecht
”Årstafruns dagbok” a dairy by Mrs Märta Helena Renstierna
“The World of Yesterday” by Stefan Zweig
Originally the event was scheduled to last approximately an hour but ended up lasting almost two hours. We sent out a survey to all the participants to get their feedback and see what can be done to improve the format before our next event which we expect will take place towards the end of July / beginning of August. More info coming soon!
Our first digital cultural café was presented by Alexander Maxia and Tove Ljung from Base10 startup hub in Uppsala. It took place on Thursday, July 2nd and people joined from four different countries. More events will follow, keep following us on social media and sign up to our mailing list here!
Big thanks to Jason Dainter, CEO of Base10 for kindly lending us the space to broadcast; Joakim Fichtel from Almi Uppsala for the support and advice leading up to the event and James Maxia for additional research into the topic presented.
As most of the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work and after halting our operation in planning events for several months we decided to go digital.
This will be our first ‘cultural café’ event in digital format (our second ever!) and even though we will not be physically in the same coffee house we will do our best to re-create that atmosphere via Zoom.
Yeah I know what you are thinking.. You have had enough lectures, seminars and meetings over the internet and the only thought might give you shudders. But fear not, we’ve got you covered! This will be different from your average Zoom event as we will combine parts in which we are all together – to smaller, more cozy discussions with groups of 4 to 5 people, just as if you were sitting with them at the same table in a café!
The key questions for this event’s topic:
Are historical sins ever to be forgiven?
Do we give focus to the right figures in history?
How do we re-evaluate actions and behaviours from the recent past within today’s society?
This Thursday, the 2:nd of July, we are going to discuss how we learn from history and how we reflect on historical events in today’s climate. We are going to question how actions and behaviors from the recent past fit within today’s society and whether we give focus to the right figures in history. Are historical sins ever to be forgiven? Let’s discuss!
The Cultural café is going to be held like this:
You sign-up via the form (link below) and we will then email you a zoom-link so you can access.
At the event – our hosts will welcome you and guide you through the topic
At a later stage they will split you into smaller groups where you will get the chance to share your thoughts about given questions with 3 or 4 others.
Towards the end of the event, we gather together once again and open to a floor discussion where we can share our thoughts with all the other participants.
We are not here to debate. We are here to have discussions and challenge our mindset. No answers are right or wrong, and the point of the events isn’t to come up with the right answers or test your knowledge. We are just here to discuss in a friendly atmosphere and question our assumptions.
Lost in a Cup has been a bit sleepy in the last months. How come you may be wondering?
Lack of coffee in the morning? – Definitely NOT!
Dark winter days in Swedish winter – well partly
But mainly a lot has been going on in backstage with the founder writing his master thesis (more on that soon) which led to a slowing down of operations in terms of content creation beyond some posts on the social media channels.
But fear not! 2020 is here, a new decade, a lot of things have happened in only a few weeks of the new era which will provide plenty of inspiration for themes and topics to go with your fika break and spark debates and conversations as Lost in a Cup loves doing.
Today is ‘Black Friday‘ part of ‘Black Week‘ the day in which all prices of every physical and online store get slashed for the joy of the masses – apparently.
This “tradition” started in the USA and as many things in popular culture it spread to this side of the Atlantic too. In Sweden it arrived fairly late, only the last year or two but now it’s a big thing and countless emails spammed each and every one who had the misfortune of signing up to newsletters from online shops and retailers.
This new phenomenon of Black Friday in Scandinavia is all the most interesting because it encourages people to rush, push and go grab the best deal – something that is not really that common in this part of the world.
Ironically today is the first day of real snow in the Uppsala – Stockholm region with several centimeters which fell over night. I would like to think that it was the old spirit of Janteläget blowing its white dust to cover the country and hinder people from the shopping craze some might have been keen on taking part in.
Those of you who follow carefully Lost in a Cup’s social media might remember from last year that the prices were not slashed and that there was actually a campaign to underline how the whole selling tactic goes against our ethos and way we see the world.
Therefore, even this year Lost in a Cup will have no discounts. But luckily there is lots of snow around here, so feel free to join us in a snow fight instead of doing so in a shopping centre or on our online shop.
Enjoy the snow and don’t get too lost in a cup of black (Friday) coffee. Look beyond!
Lost in a Cup was proud collaborator at ‘Career Day 2019’, a yearly fair organised by five different student organisations who focus on creating events for students who study degrees in the political science / diplomatic sphere at Uppsala University.
The event was held at V-Dala Nation and counted over 400 participants who had the chance of speaking to recruiters and explore career paths in the various stands.
Lost in a Cup had its own stand, providing Italian style coffee to energise the participants with espressos and the occasional cappuccinos.
It was a fantastic experience, many coffees were made and interesting conversations took place with the many who stopped-by. Special thanks to the team of volunteers who organised such a successful event and all who took part!
The first PopUp Cultural Café by Lost in a Cup will take place in Base10, right in the heart of Uppsala’s Tech Startup scene.
During the evening there will be a series of interesting talks, open debate and ample opportunity to mingle with people who share similar interests on the topic.
As the Cultural Café will Pop-Up in a StartUp hub, the topic is technology in modern society and the impact its having on our lives. Whilst the advantages of innovation are uncountable and in the StartUp world we often praise their glory, is there also a down side to this? Is our use of technology increasing the sense of alienation for us and the people around us?
Isabelle Edlund – Founder of ‘YouViaMe’
Claes Thorén – Senior Lecturer at Uppsala University