CULTURE KLATCH | Trans Europe Halles grapples with art for social change in Europe and the Arab world

La Friche La Belle de Mai in the heart of the legendary Mediterranean seaport of Marseille

La Friche La Belle de Mai in the heart of the legendary Mediterranean seaport of Marseille

MARSEILLES, FRANCE |  The place to be in November is at La Friche La Belle de Mai in the heart of the legendary Mediterranean seaport of Marseilles in France. Why? That’s where activists and artists from North Africa, the Middle East and Europe will share experiences and start new collaborations as part of “Jalla Jalla! The Power of Culture in Social Change.”

This Trans Europe Halles meeting, which takes place November 28 to December 1, 2013, will take stock of the current situation and examine the transformations at work both in Europe and the Arab world. Some of the questions the meeting will tackle are: What effects are the current political issues having on the place of culture and arts in their societies? What are the current states of artistic independence, inclusion, generational dynamics, mobility and connectivity, new partnership models, and artistic autonomy? What is our role both as individuals and as organisations in the evolving contexts? Can the cultural sector speak with a united voice?

Twenty-five artists and cultural operators from Egypt, Jordan, Iran, Palestine, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey will be guests at Trans Europe Halles Meeting 76. They will offer inspiration and examples of how they work in independent culture under harsh conditions and to share their stories of how culture actions can lead to social change and a more open society.

Some of the guests from the Arab world are the director of the Temple Independent Theatre Company, Ahmed El Attar, from Egypt and Ouafa Belgacem from Tunis, the General secretary of Arterial Network. The event will also be chance to meet with upcoming young artists from the Mediterranean world and discover contemporary performing art based on a collaboration between Arab countries and France, the exciting result of a two year long European project led by La Friche.

Through vivid panel discussions, exclusive one-to-one sessions, focus groups and joint dinners, interested activists and artists will have a unique opportunity to discuss and learn about alternative methods of working and meet potential partners from beyond the borders of Europe. This event is organised by Trans Europe Halles in partnership with the Roberto Cimetta Fund.

I understand there are still places available. Click here to register. Here is a preliminary view of the program.

Trans Europe Halles network is made up of independent art spaces in Europe where local people and artists work and interact. The common characteristic of these art spaces is that they have all been established in a decentralized way and are initiated by citizens.

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