On 27 August 2015 the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art hosted an international workshop entitled ‘New frameworks for cultural and artistic exchange' with the Middle-East and North Africa.
The meeting commenced with introductory remarks by Edward Hollis, Director of Research, Edinburgh College of Art, Else Christensen-Redzepovic, Director, Danish Cultural Institute, Brussels and Svetlana Sequeira Costa, Artistic Director, Arts Cabinet. This was followed by keynote presentations from artists Tania El Khoury, Hydar Dewachi and Hiwa K and art historian and curator Rachida Triki. Breakout sessions subsequently provided an opportunity for participants to comprehensively discuss relevant topics for the project, namely, ‘artistic research, documentation and dissemination’ and ‘evaluation, wider research, cultural relations’.
The workshop not only provided a stimulating environment to bring together existing partners but also to foster debate and to raise further questions about the nature of artistic exchange, the politics of the region and the politics of location.
Thoughts and Questions from the Debates:
What do we mean by North and South? What are the politics involved? How might artistic enquiry and art residencies delve into and problematise these questions of geography and place?
What would help artists on a residency? What sort of support is needed? How do we foster artist-led exchanges? Working with academics and practitioners in different fields, for example in Psychology, Politics, and Geography?
This project provides an opportunity to question the norms, concepts and rhetoric often involved in cultural policy and initiatives. How do we challenge institutional spaces and modes of presentation?
How will the digital platform reflect the ethos and aims of the project, i.e. collaborative, multi-lingual and spaces of exchange?
How to we keep the local contexts and histories from which meanings emerge at the forefront of the project?
Image: courtesy of Stuart Macdonald, 2015