Apolonija Sustersic
NABO_Lab (Neighbourhood Research Institute/Nabolagforskninginstitute)
OSLO, Norway
Social infrastructure
Ways of living, ways of sharing
Rethinking processes and governance
Image: Apolonija Šušteršič & Sarah Kazmi with NJOKOBOK, Roundtable Cooking, Tøyen, 2021
NABO_Lab is a pop-up platform for research and a neighbourhood laboratory .

NABO_Lab (Neighbourhood Research Institute/Nabolagforskninginstitute) is the title of a one-year pilot project that aims to develop into a research platform generating independent artistic research projects / project-based interdisciplinary research focused on issues generated by and within our neighbourhoods as micro-urban environments.
We propose an alternative to the institutionalisation of interdisciplinary knowledge production assembled within the cooperation between art/architecture/ design/social science/activism grounded within a specific situation and direct, hands-on operation.
We aim to examine and develop methods for activating a critical and resilient community within a specific neighbourhood situation.

During the pandemic, when most people stayed at home more than ever, it became obvious how important our immediate living environment is; the neighbourhood we live in, the people we live with, and how we communicate and share space between us and other living bodies.
NABO_Lab is a pop-up platform for research, a neighbourhood laboratory where we examine neighbourhoods together with the neighbours through social activities. Such a research platform aims to engage and activate the knowledge that the neighbourhood produces by developing a series of collaborative tools and (self)-reflexive methods to understand the processes of change and the possibility to act, re-act, and re-direct the future of the place.
We propose developing a form of a para-institution with "the light-baggage" based on situated research by artists and others in cooperation with people and institutions living and working in the immediate micro-environment - neighbourhood.

Artistic or practice-based research needs a hands-on platform where new ideas are tested. The core of NABO_Lab represents individuals with various professional experiences, contributing from their professional position to the pool of knowledge through experience and action. The objective is to utilise the versatility composed by various individuals distinguished by race, culture and sexuality; to create situations of sharing and learning from each other.
We met through working with the NJOKOBOK project during the pandemic and realised a need for an experimental non-commercial platform that would support an alternative to the mainstream social and economic reality to create change for the benefit of all, not only a few.


We are eager to initiate a neighbourhood community space for debate and action to develop a collective consciousness towards social justice and equality. We aim to create a meeting place for everyone interested to work together, producing an alternative to the rapid gentrification and developing non-conventional methods with synergetic effect from the situation involving individuals and local institutions into our process.
Through the Njokobok Community Association, Roundtable Cooking action and Språkkafe we already got many protagonists eager to engage in hands-on activities that lead to new ideas and open future horizons, not falling back into the old ones trap of the closed academic environments.

Apolonija Sustersic

NABO_Lab is a project by Apolonija Šušteršič (artist/architect) with Torunn Liven (art historian/writer/project manager), Youssou Diop, cook (NJOKOBOK).

Apolonija Šušteršič, an artist/architect: her practice has been research-based for the last twenty years. She has a PhD from Lund University, Visual and Performing Arts, Malmö Art Academy (2013); Dissertation title: Hustadt, Inshallah: Learning from a participatory art project in a trans-local neighbourhood (Links).

Torunn Liven is an art historian, educated at Humboldt-Universität Zu Berlin and the University of Oslo. She currently runs the Tom Sandberg Foundation. (CV attached)

Youssou Diop / NJOKOBOK, a cook with an immigrant background, founder of the NJOKOBOK project and representing the Njokobok Community Association, a non-profit organisation with an aim to bring the local community together through activities and events to create a stronger foothold in the local community.

Cross-disciplinary practice