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Art Moves Africa – Retracing Roots and Tracing New Routes: Mobility and Touring in North Africa

A study by Lara Bourdin for Art Moves Africa, October 2019

A study by Lara Bourdin for Art Moves Africa, October 2019

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43<br />

Summary of Outcomes<br />

—<br />

8.<br />

SECURITY CONCERNS<br />

—<br />

Libya is the country most affected by security<br />

concerns, with militias present across<br />

the country <strong>and</strong> namely controll<strong>in</strong>g airports.<br />

Recent conflict <strong>in</strong> the country has isolated<br />

cultural actors liv<strong>in</strong>g there (namely through<br />

border closures <strong>and</strong> closure of embassies)<br />

<strong>and</strong> discourages <strong>in</strong>ternational actors from<br />

pursu<strong>in</strong>g projects there.<br />

Security concerns also affect potential travellers<br />

to Egypt, especially from marg<strong>in</strong>alized<br />

identities, who are aware of <strong>in</strong>creas<strong>in</strong>g limitations<br />

on freedom of expression, arbitrary<br />

<strong>in</strong>carceration, etc.<br />

—<br />

9.<br />

RESTRICTIONS ON FREEDOM<br />

OF MOVEMENT AS CENSORSHIP<br />

—<br />

In Egypt, restrictions on freedom of movement<br />

are part of a broader mechanism designed to<br />

limit freedom of expression <strong>and</strong> association.<br />

Restrictions on freedom of movement have<br />

also been noted <strong>in</strong> Morocco, Algeria <strong>and</strong><br />

Tunisia.<br />

—<br />

10.<br />

POSTCOLONIAL AND<br />

POST-REVOLUTION DISPENSATION<br />

—<br />

Some respondents noted that weak mobility<br />

<strong>in</strong> the region can be attributed to the idea that<br />

the region is “search<strong>in</strong>g for itself,” <strong>in</strong> the wake<br />

of conflicts, revolutions <strong>and</strong> ongo<strong>in</strong>g profound<br />

transformations at the social, economic, <strong>and</strong><br />

political levels. One impact is that some artists<br />

are focused on develop<strong>in</strong>g their careers <strong>and</strong><br />

scenes at a local level, address<strong>in</strong>g issues <strong>and</strong><br />

concerns rooted <strong>in</strong> their surround<strong>in</strong>gs, <strong>and</strong> do<br />

not prioritize <strong>in</strong>ternational travel. However, it also<br />

flows from this dispensation that the pursuit of<br />

<strong>in</strong>ternational opportunities can be underm<strong>in</strong>ed<br />

by a difficulty position<strong>in</strong>g oneself <strong>and</strong> relat<strong>in</strong>g to<br />

others <strong>in</strong> a constantly chang<strong>in</strong>g climate.<br />

—<br />

11.<br />

DISILLUSIONMENT WITH MOBILITY<br />

AND TRAVEL CONDITIONS<br />

—<br />

A number of respondents questioned the usefulness<br />

of pursu<strong>in</strong>g mobility projects today, given<br />

the above-described limitations.<br />

a) Respondents noted that mobility often seems<br />

to have been dra<strong>in</strong>ed of its human <strong>and</strong> creative<br />

aspects <strong>and</strong> reduced to a purely quantitative<br />

<strong>in</strong>dicator, often <strong>in</strong> development <strong>and</strong><br />

cooperation schemes. Feel<strong>in</strong>g the impact<br />

of budgetary constra<strong>in</strong>ts <strong>and</strong> visa duration<br />

restrictions, they note that attendance at<br />

festivals <strong>and</strong> other events often feels more<br />

dra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g than it is nourish<strong>in</strong>g or <strong>in</strong>spir<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

b) Three respondents named the framework<br />

of <strong>in</strong>ternational cooperation as an impediment<br />

to mean<strong>in</strong>gful cultural exchange. The<br />

terms of exchange be<strong>in</strong>g dictated by foreign<br />

<strong>–</strong> usually European <strong>–</strong> <strong>in</strong>stitutions, artists<br />

f<strong>in</strong>d their liberty of creation <strong>and</strong> move-ment<br />

constra<strong>in</strong>ed by foreign agendas <strong>and</strong> budgets,<br />

sometimes f<strong>in</strong>d<strong>in</strong>g themselves held<br />

up as ambassadors of successful cultural<br />

diplomacy rather than as creators <strong>in</strong> their<br />

own right.

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