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Eerste kenniscentrum voor straatcultuur: The Niteshop opent in Rotterdam

15 April 2021

An evening store featuring podcasts, design workshops and exhibitions

In Rotterdam, design and media collective Concrete Blossom opens ‘The Niteshop’: an ode to the super-diverse city, in the form of a night store. Not only does it sell products that are characteristic of all the nationalities that Rotterdam is rich in, The Niteshop is also a place where work is done on the society of the future. From the perspective of the bi-cultural urbanite, the collective organizes podcasts, exhibitions and design workshops about public space. During the Dutch elections it will also be a polling station, to represent the votes of the so-called ‘migrant’ – which is more than half of the Rotterdammers – on a national level as well. And as in most convenience stores, loose cigarettes are also sold under the counter.

The Niteshop is located in Delfshaven: a working-class neighborhood in Rotterdam. Malique Mohamud, artistic director and founder of Concrete Blossom: “In our collective imagination, these kinds of neighborhoods are called ‘disadvantaged neighborhoods’. In reality they are social laboratories where kids remix their roots into a common identity that transcends national borders. In other words: street culture. Young people in London, Paris, but also in Arnhem and Breda increasingly share the same tastes and political views. As Dutch cities become more and more colorful, street culture is also growing and with it the impact it has on our country. In The Niteshop we want to investigate these developments and make them visible. Urban culture has now become so big that it no longer deserves a place at the proverbial table, it has created its own table with its own voice. At this table, from the margins of the city, people are thinking and working on the society of the future.”

Podcast for radicalized immigrants
Big cities are becoming more diverse and that means new questions need to be asked. What is the role of gentrification in this, is it a reinforcement or hindrance? Which way will we go together if the Netherlands becomes more diverse? How does this play out during the elections? The Niteshop publishes weekly podcasts and video content that address these questions, among others. The podcast Life@TheNiteshop with Malique discusses art, culture and politics with rappers, activists, entrepreneurs and academics. “This is the podcast by and for radicalized immigrants. We’re going to share some nice inappropriate sharp thinking with the rest of the country.” said Mohamud. Two podcasts will be made in the context of the elections with journalist and spoken word artist Zaire Krieger and lecturer at the Uva and founder of instagram page Political Youth Nugah Shrestha.

Hood Walks with rappers
Later this year, The Niteshop, together with architect Afaina de Jong and The New Institute, is organizing a program to re-imagine public spaces. Young people are paired with architects to redesign these spaces from the perspective of urban culture. The program also includes musical walks (Hood Walks) with well-known and lesser-known rappers. Led by rapper and theater maker Adison dos Reis, the relationship between oral traditions, memories and the built environment will be examined. ‘With the program we want to bring to light stories and perspectives that usually remain out of the mainstream’s eye,’ Mohamud said.

Voice of the Superdiverse City
During The Lower House elections on March 17, The Niteshop will also be a polling station. Mohamud: “The turnout of young people from big cities is low compared to the rest of the Netherlands during elections. Especially in Rotterdam. It’s important that we don’t just let our voices be heard on the couch at home or on the square, but also in the Lower House. By acting as a polling station we want to show that casting your vote can be an inspiring experience instead of formal and stiff. Society is changing. So also how we vote.

Culture as a driver of change
Call it Urban Culture, Hip Hop or street culture. The style, music and language of black inner cities influences millions of people in the Netherlands alone. The worldview of many people is shaped by popular culture through the internet. Mohamud: “That is the power of culture. It forms a shared world view. A view of society that challenges the old world by its very existence. So it’s high time for a platform that makes this social development visible from the perspective of Urban Culture.”

The Niteshop | Schiedamseweg 114b, Rotterdam Opening hours: Wednesday – Saturday | 16.00 – 22.00 For more information about the program visit The Niteshop – Embassy of the superdiverse city.

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