Today I went to an exhibition at the Smaland Museum entitled Embrace! The curator of the exhibition is a Chinese-American who recently moved to Vaxjo from New York City. She has an amazing eye for art, and put together a beautiful exhibition of Swedish artists working in New York that pairs so well with the permanent exhibition about Swedish emigration to the U.S. She is using the exhibit as a spring board to discuss emigrant/immigrant issues in Sweden today, working especially with school groups. It was so inspiring to meet her.

One of the people on the tour with me is an American anthropologist, younger than myself, who has been living in the Marshall Islands. She is the State Anthropologist for that country of 70,000 people, a country that will, by all projections, be wiped off the map in 50 years, thanks to the rise in global sea levels. We talked about what a weighty responsibility she has, to work with a community in such a tremendous period of transformation, and under real threat of permanent loss. I am heading out to join her for dinner now, since we are some of the last remaining people in town after the conference.

I suspect this will be a bit less rambunctious of an evening than last night, a bit more serious and heartfelt. Which suits me just fine, I must say. Afterall, this conference is part of a European working group on Emotions and Geography. An intriguing pairing, and inspiring people.


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