Valerio Del Baglivo: Institution building as a curatorial act
Public engagement and experimental pedagogy in self-initiated art institutions in the Middle East and North Africa
The research proposes a critical and historical analysis of the growing phenomenon of self-initiated art institutions in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region. In particular, the research will focus on hybrid spaces that are partly social centres, partly schools and partly laboratories and that appoint curatorial practices as a ground-breaking tool for a meaningful cultural impact on local communities. The research will first investigate their genealogy as well as their development over the past twenty years. A series of specific institutions located in the cities of Beirut, Cairo, Ramallah and Rabat will be identified as cases to be studied.The aim of such study is to understand whether the creative curatorial approaches of these institutions have incorporated two principles: an intrinsic self-analysis focused on the social function of art institutions as supported by New Institutionalism‘s theories; and the methods and techniques of Socially Engaged Art’s practices for encouraging an active involvement of local communities.
In conclusion, through the lens of New Institutionalism and Socially Engaged Art Practice, the research aims to understand whether the Self-Initiated Institutions in the region of MENA can represent a paradigmatic example for a broader analysis on institution building as a curatorial act.