Art in EU-Middle East cultural relations

150828 MN workshop 1

Lebanese artist Tania El Khoury presenting her work Gardens Speak.

Yesterday, the Centre for Cultural Relations (CCR) took part in a workshop to explore a new approach to how EU countries can collaborate with each other to develop a channel of artistic exchange with countries in the Middle East. The approach was developed by Arts Cabinet, a small, independent arts organisation from Edinburgh, whose Artistic Director, Svetlana Sequeira Costa, has built what all present saw as a completely new form of partnership, involving artists, art organisations, higher education institutions and EU National Institutes of Culture.

The workshop involved Edinburgh College of Art, Goldsmiths College and Kings College, London (UK); the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and Danish Cultural Institute (Denmark); the University of Agder (Norway); Res Artis (Netherlands); the Scottish Government; artists and curators from Iraq, Tunisia and Lebanon, and academic colleagues from across the University of Edinburgh.
The collaboration will act as a pilot to develop evidence for what works in cultural relations activities, from how to establish an exchange based on genuine parity and mutual benefit, to how to develop a new digital platform with new tools for knowledge exchange across the vast geography of the project.
From the point of view of the CCR, this workshop addressed the intersection of theory and practice in a way which involved both state and non-state actors. This offer the potential to reach people and establish connections, dialogue and relationships where the strength of each partner contributes in a different way.
The CCR looks forward with huge interest to the future development of this collaboration.

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