Category Archives: Ebba Högström

Introducing: Dr. Ebba Högström

Dr Ebba Högström is a Marie Curie Research Fellow in the School of Geographical and Earth Sciences at the University of Glasgow and can be contacted by email: She has a background in architecture with a MArch from Lund University, Sweden. She is manager for the Master Programme in Urban Planning at BTH where she also teaches urban theory, planning theory, research methods and studio courses in urban planning & design. She tweets: @ebba_hogstrom

Ebba bloggbild

My ongoing research interest concerns architectural geographies of societal institutions, especially mental health care institutions, in a historical and a cultural perspective. Special focus is on the relationship between 1) visions, ideas and intentions of space, 2) material space and 3) experiences of space. Theoretically I’m interested in socio-material perspectives on architecture and urban landscapes, with a focus on relations and processes. Methodologically, I’m interested in ethnographic approaches, e.g. in terms of how to investigate/represent/analyse the processual character of architecture, built environments and landscapes with its mesh of ongoing user practices and experiences, and how such work can matter to people involved and/or affected by these spaces.

My work into asylum and mental ill-health spaces is situated in a Swedish postwar perspective where I investigate spatialisations of re-organisations of mental health care. In previous work (see Högström 2012) I described and analysed spatial aspects of the decentralisation period 1958-1995, looking into discourses and spatialisations regarding organisation, localisation and care. A case study of decentralised mental healthcare in Nacka, a Stockholm suburb, between 1958-1999 examined in particular the emerging decentralisation discourse 1958-1973, The Nacka Project 1974-1980 (one of the first examples of community care in Sweden), psychiatry in Nacka 1980-1994 and the official report Welfare and Freedom of Choice from 1995. The re-organisation of mental healthcare brought about a substantial spatial transformation, e.g. normalisation of patients’ lives involved integration into society and support for independent living. If the local environment was the main trope for the early stage of decentralised mental healthcare, the notion of a dwelling of one’s own became the important trajectory to an independent life after 1995. The project was funded by The Swedish Research Council FORMAS (2008-1378).

Publication from this work:

Högström, Ebba (2012) Kalejdoskopiska rum: Diskurs, materialitet och praktik i den decentraliserade psykiatriska vården [Kaleidoscopic spaces: discourse, materiality and practice in decentralised mental health care]. Diss. Stockholm: Royal Institute of Technology.

Current research centers the geographies of the newly built psychiatric clinic at the Academic Hospital in Uppsala, Sweden. This highly specialized psychiatric hospital and high-tech steel and glass building is the result of moving away from the old asylum area in the outskirts of Uppsala as well as an effect of changing discourses in psychiatric care (towards a bio-medical psychiatry). In this research my focus is two-fold – material/spatial performances of the building and user/patient experiences of psychiatric clinic. This research project What space and whose space? A kaleidoscopic perspective on institutional spatial entanglements is made possible by a grant from Architecture in Effect – a strong research environment in Architecture Theory and Methodology funded by The Swedish Research Council Formas 2011-2016.