open call – the waterfront laboratory


Truls Ramberg (KORO), Anniken Romuld, Gro Agnethe Stokke (Tromsø Kommune)



Deadline: August 1, 2019


Open Call



An invitation to artists, architects, makers and performers to participate in the planning process!

deadline August 1, 2019



NÅ! / NOW! In the southern part of the city centre of Tromsø the process for the zoning plan for a new Tromsø museum, transformation of the earlier Mack brewery and the establishment of a new hotel at “sørsjeteen” has started. The plans will transform the area, and have a big impact on the city of Tromsø.


Tromsø kommune (municipality), KORO (Public Art Norway) and raumlaborberlin are working on a Plan for  Art & Public Space on the waterfront (PAPS) as part of the masterplan for the city centre. The area for Tromsø museum and Mack is part of the masterplan and will be a first test of how the PAPS can be used as part of a planning process. The intention with the PAPS is to make planning an active process by integrating art and public space projects as part of the ongoing plan. By inviting artists early in the planning process their voices and projects will have the ability to influence the process before all the decisions have been made. This can happen both through artistic utterances as part of the planning process and as site specific art projects showing future ideas, perspectives and reflections for the public spaces with relevance for this specific situation.



Tromsø kommune, KORO and raumlaborberlin invite artists, architects, makers and performers to propose a laboratory to explore the potential of the waterfront and connecting public spaces as part of the zoning plan for Tromsø museum and Mack in Sørbyen / the southern part of the city centre in Tromsø.


Context/ History

The waterfront and the inner harbor were the main reasons Tromsø became a city in 1792. The inner harbor was a safe place for the Russians/ Pomors to stay over winter in the 18th century, and soon the waterfront also became an important place as a starting point for expeditions to the arctic as well as for fishing and hunting seals. The establishment of Tromsø shipyard added to the importance of the waterfront in 1848. Both the everyday life and work of the city were historically mainly located by the waterfront, with the harbor being the arrival spot and a place for encounter – where Tromsø met the world.


Later on the city went through many transformations and developed in other directions. Still the waterfront is the most important space for Tromsø ́s identity. Here we can get the experience of being both in the big landscape and in the city at the same time. The waterfront has the potential to be our most important public space, but it needs new thoughts and meaning.


Today there is a demand both from the city and its citizens to turn the city back towards the water. In the ongoing work on the masterplan for the city center the waterfront is one the main focuses with the Plan for Art & Public Space functioning as the tool to explore how art can contribute in urban planning.


The PAPS explores the potential to establish a mostly car free and interesting promenade for Tromsø. It contains the waterfront as well as key public spaces directly connected to it:

The area directly south of the Mack brewery is in the current masterplan for the city center regulated as a public park connecting Tromsø kunstforening (Art Society) with the waterfront. The plan was to develop the area into the largest green park belt in the city center. Today the public park belt is only partly established, and Strandvegen, a continuation of the main street (Storgata) divides the park in two – the established historical park connected to the Art Society to the west and furthest away from the waterfront.


Because the municipality wants to build the new Tromsø Museum in the city center, as a strategic choice to revitalize the area by making the university more visible and part of the city, the decision was made to let go of the idea of the continuous public green. As a public program the new museum got to use the area allocated to the public park. This situation demands special care and attention for the concept for the public spaces involved. The transformation of the area still needs to keep the ambition of the public spaces: how to become public spaces of major importance for the city? How to create a lively and multilayered space which invites different activities and becomes a space of encounter for diverse groups in our civic society.


This encourages us to invite you to come up with ideas for a waterfront laboratory with the aim to explore, experiment with and identify the resources and potentials within the relationship the city and the water have – through art.


We are looking for concepts for a Tromsø Waterfront Laboratory.

The laboratory’s principal objective will be to explore possibilities both for the development of the quayside promenade and for adjacent areas within the area covered by the plan. A secondary objective will be to create a forum to discuss urban development in Tromsø, with artists setting the agenda and contributing to the discussion.


We are looking for the following:
_ concepts for the design, implementation and localization of the planning laboratory. These concepts should provide opportunities for both artistic expression and meetings/debates. The laboratory could be a temporary structure and/or a concept that makes use of existing structures, buildings or locations

_concepts for how we can use activities in or close to the laboratory to encourage the involvement in the planning process of a broad spectrum of the public and a range of target groups

_examples of artistic expression linked to current issues relating to urban development in Tromsø.


We would like to receive artists’ perspectives on the following questions:

What is at stake? How can artists be involved in and open up the planning process? How can we involve local residents in the process? Can we ensure that the best plots along the waterfront are reserved for the general public? Who are we planning for? How do we respond to the tourism boom in Tromsø? How do we create art that does something more than make the area prettier? What are the new spaces of encounter in the world of digital media and permanent mobil connectivity? Which qualities / activities are missing in the center of Tromsø? How can art make a difference? How should we plan?


We look forward to your proposals!


OPEN CALL / General information

In Phase 1 we are asking artists to notify us of their interest in collaborating with the project group and its partners.

Deadline for applications 1 August 2019

Applications must include
_a text explaining why you are interested (max. one side of A3);

_1-3 relevant projects executed by you for reference;
_a CV; and
_a brief description of your ideas, with illustrations (optional)


Applications should be sent (via WeTransfer if appropriate) to



All info here

open call pdf



some more information and inspiration:




The last decline of the waterfront as an area of production has weakened many qualities of the city’s relationship with the sea. In many areas the city turns its back towards the sea, leaving empty spots, in-between zones and parking lots along the waterfront. This is encouraging us to collectively identify the resources and potentials that lie in the relation with the water.


Landfills have played a huge role in the shape and location of the edge of the city in the past and will continue to do so as can be seen in the planning of new developments, such as Nordbyen. This raises the question: who will have access to the waterfront in the future?