‘My reflections from Panoramica Festival’

SI Scholar Kelly Matias shares her experience volunteering at Panoramica Festival and how it made her feel part of a new community.

‘My reflections from Panoramica Festival’
Photo: Kelly Matias (2nd right) and other Panoramica participants

Panoramica, Stockholm's annual Latin American Movie Festival, took place between 25th and the 30th of September. As a Brazilian, beginning my Masters in Latin American Studies at Stockholm University, I was eager to volunteer at the festival, which proved to be one of the most wonderful experiences I’ve had in Stockholm so far.

Panoramica launched in 2015 with the aim to transform through movies, the perception of Latin American communities, encourage a dialogue between different ethnic groups in Sweden and promote diversity within the Swedish culture.

Sweden is home to people from over the world, such as all of us SI Scholars. The festival gathered Swedish but also Latin American spectators, some bringing along their entire families. Having the chance to watch a movie in their mother tongue or about their home country felt very special to them. Some films also pictured difficult experiences which they had to endure and were often the reason why they fled their home countries because of issues such as dictatorships in the region.

This year the festival wanted to highlight the voices and political struggles of women and LGBTQ+ communities. Latin America is one of the regions where the rate of murdered people in LGBTQ+ communities is the highest in the world. The festival also focused on the activism of women in political positions, through screening films with strong female characters taking a stand to change their social context and fighting against the power structures repressing them.

Besides screening movies, the festival held seminars on the topics presented but also debates about the role movies and documentaries have in changing our perspective about issues that might not be part of our daily reality but still affect our communities and loved ones.

One of the highlights of volunteering at the festival was the feeling of giving something back to this new community I feel now a part of. Screening films not only entertained people, but they also brought up discussions about important matters and engaged the public in sharing their points of view.

My participation also pushed me to reflect on all the reasons why I chose Sweden to do a masters in Latin American studies. For me, it felt natural to pick a country where values such as human rights, gender equality and transparency are celebrated. A country where cultural diversity has become an essential part of society. Being part of Panoramica showed me I made the right decision. The people I met, the movies I watched and the discussions I heard were all celebrating these values. My studies have been enriched by this experience that made me realise, once again, that together we can find solutions to local and global problems and promote a more peaceful world.

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Lagom: The best way to achieve social health?

Ronoh Philip, who is studying for his masters degree in Infectious Disease Control at Södertörn University, explains why he thinks the Swedish concept of 'lagom' is the best way to achieve good social health.

Lagom: The best way to achieve social health?

During my one week orientation program on August 2019 at Södertörn University, we were presented with many aspects of Swedish culture and practices. One of the new aspects that I learnt was the “lagom culture”, As I quote one of the presenters about applying lagom to our studies, he said: ”Lagom will reduce your stressful burdens of hectic lecture schedules and ensure that you spend equal time of working and socializing in the university.”

So being a student with a background in public health and society, I got interested and searched for the deeper meaning of lagom, and how it can  apply to society and health. I found out that it is a Swedish way of life, it is a concept which means not too much and not too little, just enough. I learnt that it came from a Viking tradition laget om which means 'around the group' and was allegedly used to describe just how much mead or soup one should drink when passing the bowl around in the group.

If this concept is applied to achieve social health goals, it would really fit well. So, what is social health at first? Social health is how you interact with other people and adapt in different situations, it deals with how people in society deal with each other. It is important to note that there is a close link between good social health and improvement of the other aspects of human health, this can lead to the achievement of SDG goal of good health and wellbeing. It also leads to self-satisfaction and happiness; no wonder Sweden is ranked as one the happiest countries in the world. It is ranked 7th in 2019, according to world happiness report. I believe lagom has a big role in this achievement.

In the country where I come from, Kenya, one of the greatest challenges we face in our society, is the ability for people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds to interact and form positive and cohesive relationships with each other. From my perspective, when I finish my studies and return, lagom will be worth implementing in the workplace, the place where I live and the society as whole, as it is the best way of finding simple, attainable solutions to our everyday worries like stress, eating better, having downtime and achieving happiness. It’s a balance of work and life, so everything is in sustainable existence with each other.

My goal during my entire university studies at Södertörn, will be to learn more about the lagom principle and also be able to apply it on our SI NFGL Local Network platform, because it is surely one of the best ways to achieve a good  work-life balance, reaching consensus with my colleagues and adapting a team minded approach in dealing with issues in an organization and the society.