– Call For Action: Artists Protest the Islamization of Egyptian culture
– Forced to Flee: Rebuilding Lives and Communities through Art
– Todd Lester's Lanchonete featured on BOMBLOG
– Stakeholder Spotlight: Chaw Ei Thein in Sandaya: Burmese Lessons
– 2013-2014 Queer/Art/Mentorship Cycle – Deadline: June 28
– IIE Fellowship for Threatened Scholars – Deadline: July 5

CALL FOR ACTION: Artists Protest the Islamization of Egyptian culture

Dear International Friends and Colleagues:

We, the founding members of the Egyptian Centre of the International Theatre Institute, have been witnessing with increasing alarm the vicious onslaught against the defining foundations of Egyptian culture, with theatre and the performing arts at the forefront.

However variously understood and appraised, these foundations are widely believed to have crystallised with the onset of the modern Egyptian State in the late nineteenth century, but in fact they had always been rooted in the very fabric of this land, an inherently cosmopolitan multi-religious and multi-ethnic culture if there ever was one. As Egyptians, but also as members of the global cultural community, we cannot allow such a glorious tradition to suffer erosion at the hands of those who could not adapt to it, whether at home or in the region.

The Islamists’ declared jihad against the arts is currently spearheaded by none other than the regime’s Ministry of Culture, thanks to the recent appointment at its helm of a certain Alaa Abdel-Aziz, an obscure film lecturer with a paltry academic record and practically no professional or public service credentials save his adoption of the cultural discourse of the Muslim Brotherhood ruling faction (or, more aptly, its anti-arts one). In a typical demonstration of this populist rhetoric, Abdel-Aziz had this to say at a recent press conference “I ask those leading the ferocious campaign against me: What have they ever contributed to Egypt’s culture? What have they ever given to the enlightened Egyptian people? Post-revolution Egypt should not be captive to a group that has not been able to effectively touch Egyptians with creativity over long decades.”

While the problem of a certain disconnect between the intelligentsia and their constituencies is by no means unique to Egypt, we believe it is either moronic or hypocritical (or, more likely, both) to question the contributions of generations of artists in the various fields of the performing and fine arts and their far-reaching role in establishing and popularising these arts not only in Egypt, but all over the Arab world, not to mention world-renowned literary and artistic figures of the stature of Bahaa Taher, Sonallah Ibrahim, Ramzi Yassa, Alaa Al-Aswany, Lenin El-Ramly, Nawal El-Saadawi, Fatheya El-Assal, and Salwa Bakr, all of whom are now calling for the removal of Abdel-Aziz and the parochial, theocratic regime for which he stands.

The International Theatre Institute, an active UNESCO entity with centres and affiliate bodies in the four corners of the world, has an urgent mission to protect the free circulation of culture in one of this world’s most ancient civilizations. We therefore call upon all concerned to mobilise in whatever way they think fit, but we also hope that this call for action will set in motion an ongoing dialogue with our worldwide friends and colleagues so that we may work with one another against the not-so-secret agenda to remake Egypt and its cultural field after the worldview of its ruling cabal.

We await your ideas and initiatives at egyptcentreiti@gmail.com

Interim Founding Board

Forced to Flee: Exiled Voices and Visions for Justice

June 20 marks World Refugee Day, which was sanctioned by the United Nations General Assembly in 2000 as a day to highlight the plight of displaced people. In time for World Refugee Day, on June 11 the Arts & Democracy Project hosted a discussion panel called “Forced to Flee: Exiled Voices and Visions for Justice.” The panel brought together a diverse group of artists, activists, and policymakers who have spent years creating and implementing programs that enable exiled artists to rebuild their lives and create communities through art. The discussion, moderated through a conference call, drew upon the various professional and personal experiences of the group as how art has helped survivors of displacement, torture, rape, and trafficking heal through creativity.

Among the presenters for the discussion were Erika Berg, the founder of Refugee Youth Empowered and curator of “Forced to Flee”; Ova Saopeng, a co-founder of the Los Angeles-based theater group TeAda Productions; Sidd Joag, director of freeDimensional; Art 2 Actions Andrea Assaf; and Chaw ei Thein, a Burmese artist and activist who was once a refugee herself. The conversation was moderated by World Policy Institute Senior Fellow Todd Lester and Kathe deNobriga of the Arts & Democracy Project.

To read the full article visit: http://www.worldpolicy.org/blog/2013/06/17/forced-flee-rebuilding-lives-and-communities-through-art

Text reposted from Worldpolicy.org


fD Founder Todd Lester's Lanchonete project featured on BOMBLOG
Lanchonete is a time and site-specific artist residency project with an underlying focus on alternative economy, modes of exchange and societal witnessing in a neighborhood in the center of Sao Paolo, an area home to economic migrants from across South America and undergoing rapid gentrification.

As Latin American cities go, Sao Paolo is the big tough kid on the block. With over 20 million inhabitants, Sao Paolo a.k.a. Sampa or Cidade da Garoa (City of Drizzle), is perhaps best categorized by its Latin motto Non ducor, duco which translates "I am not led, I lead".

Boiled down, Lanchonete is a constructive critique of the growing/ vague-ing residency sector; a contemplation of gentrification as a way of life (one that is related to other "-ations", e.g. globalisation, brazilianification, commodification); a workplace and station of witness…the panopticon remixed.

To read the full interview with Todd Lester, visit: http://bombsite.com/issues/1000/articles/7236 
Text reposted from Lanchonete.org

Stakeholder Spotlight: Chaw Ei Thein in Sandaya: Burmese Lessons @ Atlas Performing Arts Center – July 11-14 & 18-21

Alliance for New Music-Theatre kicks off their new performance series in July with the Washington, DC premiere of Sandaya: Burmese Lessons.  The collaborative performance explores the culturally rich artistry and complexity of the long troubled and still struggling Myanmar.  Conce
ived by Susan Galbraith and Kit Young with Chaw Ei Thein, the piece features a talented and dynamic roster of artists including Thein, U Yin Htwe, Meghan McCall, Kyay Thee, U Tun Kyi, Erle Taylor aka Ko Than Win, and Myanmar Pyi Kyauk Sein.  This new work sheds light on recent social and political events and brings a heightened awareness to Myanmar and its people.

Sandaya : Burmese Lessons
 traces the journey of a young American pianist as she learns Burmese language and unique piano style (sandaya). Her story captures her relationships with a Burmese performance artist and U Ko Ko, her piano teacher, as all three become caught up in the struggle between artistic expression and tyranny. The multi-media performance also features Burmese dance, drumming, and puppetry, and music by composer Kit Young as it tells a contemporary tale of the resiliency of a culture and its artists.
For more information visit: http://newmusictheatre.org/blog/2012/05/sandaya-burmese-lessons/
Text reposted from Newmusictheatre.org

Applications for the 2013-2014 Queer/Art/Mentorship Cycle are open till June 28!

Queer/Art/Mentorship was founded on the belief that the more vibrant and supported the queer artistic community is, the more porous its boundaries will become, thereby cultivating superior artistry and sustainable creative careers.

Honoring the differences between the generations within the queer artistic community and the diversity of choices, values, esthetics, and opportunities in artists’ lives, the program supports a rich communion, working against a natural segregation between generations and disciplines. Its goal is to build an interconnected web of queer artists of all generations and mediums who know each other and each other's work.
Queer/Art/Mentorship was created to support artists in the process of creating this community.
Application Deadline: Friday, June 28, 2013 at 5pm EST


IIE Fellowship for Threatened Scholars – DEADLINE: July 5

The Institute of International Education's (IIE) Scholar Rescue Fund (SRF) is pleased to announce a call for applications from scholars facing threats to their lives or academic work. Fellowships support temporary academic positions at colleges, universities and other research institutions outside their home countries anywhere in the world.    

Since IIE-SRF's founding in 2002, the program has provided academic fellowships to over 500 scholars from 50 countries, placing them at nearly 300 host partner institutions in 40 countries.       

Who can apply:
Professors, researchers and public intellectuals from any country, field or discipline may apply. Please refer eligible candidates and forward this announcement to any academic colleagues who may be interested. 

  • Qualifying applicants are currently facing or have recently fled from direct and immediate threats.
  • Preference is given to scholars with a Ph.D. or other terminal degree in their field and who have extensive teaching or research experience at a university, college or other institution of higher learning.
  • We strongly encourage applications from female scholars and under-represented groups.

Students or professionals seeking funding to pursue academic studies or training are not eligible.

Information on eligibility and criteria can be found here.

In order to continue providing critical support to culture workers at risk, WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT TODAY!