Immigration Appeals Board

The artist Elin Tanding Sørensen has transformed the waiting room at the Immigration Appeals Board (UNE) with careful attention to the situation of people waiting there.

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About the project

About the project

Immigration Appeals Board

About the project

The Immigration Appeals Board is located on the 5th floor of the Oslo City shopping centre. The Board is the appellate body for immigration cases and citizenship applications that have been rejected by the Directorate of Immigration. The particularly vulnerable position of people in the waiting room was the starting point for artist Elin Tanding Sørensen’s immersive installation All the World’s Rivers.

At the start of the project, the artist spent several long periods in the waiting room, where she initiated conversations with appellants and their companions, interpreters, and lawyers – the stakes here are very high. Sørensen chose a river landscape as the basic motif, as she wanted the work to communicate independently of language and refer to shared experiences. A river can be a metaphor for travel and borders, purification and change, and the design of the installation is inspired by personal descriptions of river landscapes provided by people in the waiting room and employees at the appeals board.

One man told her: “When I received a rejection from the Directorate of Immigration, I was really upset and had difficulty controlling myself. I went to the river, sat down there and wept. I felt better next to the river. The water takes everything away – purifies one’s thoughts and feelings.”

The stories about rivers are illustrated in three peepshow cabinets installed on the wall, where various motifs are combined to form poetic tableaux. One story became the starting point for a rock garden – in the form of a dry river bed – on the ledge outside the row of windows.

Working closely with designer Mads Pålsrud and furniture designer Henning Linaker, Sørensen has transformed the rather impersonal and sterile environment of the waiting room into a calm, cosy place with an interior featuring colours inspired by spices, tactile surfaces, and natural materials such as coconut, wood, and wool. All the furnishings have been custom-made for the room. The design is informed by a concern for the visitors’ well-being and a holistic environmental approach that involved the use of high-quality materials that otherwise would have been thrown away.

The woollen textiles were donated by Gudbrandsdalens Uldvarefabrik and the wood for new items of furniture came from the old Rasmus Solberg furniture factory. The work River/Bench (2009) by Erle Stenberg and Elin T. Sørensen is on long-term loan from Kulturbyrået Mesén. It is made from oak sourced from the Norwegian National Opera & Ballet. The coconut matting came from an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, along with various other materials from other sections of the National Museum.

The project is one of 11 art projects realized as part of the ninth funding round for the Art Programme for Government Agencies in Leased Private Facilities and for Older Government Buildings (LES). 




Stenersgata 1, 0050 Oslo

Date completed


Project manager

Elisabeth Tetens Jahn

Expert Committee

Sverre Gullesen
Thomas Hestvold
Siv Hofsvang

Building owner/developer

DNB Eiendom




Tilgjengelig for publikum


Art scheme for rented properties and older buildings owned by the government (LES)



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