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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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96<br />

Conclusion & Recommendations<br />

Inspir<strong>in</strong>g networks, residencies <strong>and</strong> circuits have emerged<br />

<strong>and</strong> been nourished across the region, thanks to the<br />

dedicated work of visionary cultural operators <strong>and</strong> artists.<br />

These <strong>in</strong>itiatives must be supported.<br />

At the same time, this push towards regional East-West<br />

solidarity has not necessarily correlated with <strong>in</strong>creased<br />

mobility towards the South. This report has striven to<br />

document some of the reasons why mobility between<br />

<strong>North</strong> <strong>Africa</strong>n countries <strong>and</strong> other countries across the<br />

cont<strong>in</strong>ent has been weaker than one might expect.<br />

While many of these impediments are tied to long-entrenched<br />

structures <strong>and</strong> trends that may be more difficult<br />

to move, other obstacles are very much <strong>in</strong> flux. The most<br />

prom<strong>in</strong>ent is the <strong>in</strong>creas<strong>in</strong>g closure of Schengen Europe,<br />

which is shap<strong>in</strong>g mobility on the cont<strong>in</strong>ent at the level of<br />

logistics but also, crucially, at the level of the imag<strong>in</strong>ation.<br />

In parallel <strong>and</strong> relatedly, there is an emergent awareness<br />

of the benefits of South-South connection <strong>and</strong> exchange,<br />

<strong>and</strong> <strong>in</strong>itiatives designed to stimulate <strong>and</strong> facilitate such<br />

exchange are gett<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>creas<strong>in</strong>g momentum.<br />

As the cont<strong>in</strong>ent’s first mobility fund <strong>and</strong> the only cont<strong>in</strong>entwide<br />

mobility fund open to all artistic discipl<strong>in</strong>es, AMA is<br />

<strong>in</strong> a unique position to help bolster this momentum. It is<br />

our hope that this research will have contributed to this<br />

vital goal by illum<strong>in</strong>at<strong>in</strong>g the opportunities that exist for<br />

<strong>in</strong>ternational mobility with<strong>in</strong> <strong>North</strong> <strong>Africa</strong> <strong>and</strong> with other<br />

<strong>Africa</strong>n regions; shedd<strong>in</strong>g light on the impediments that<br />

afflict this mobility; <strong>and</strong> articulat<strong>in</strong>g the recommendations<br />

detailed below, all of which are drawn from feedback<br />

from respondents <strong>and</strong> are geared at various stakeholders<br />

(funders, cultural operators, artists, etc.).<br />

—<br />

QUOTE:<br />

« If there’s any way to change th<strong>in</strong>gs,<br />

it’s to travel with<strong>in</strong> our country <strong>and</strong><br />

to travel on the cont<strong>in</strong>ent. This is the k<strong>in</strong>d<br />

of mobility that is go<strong>in</strong>g to change th<strong>in</strong>gs.<br />

When I went to Tangiers, I talked to<br />

some artists; those conversations<br />

gave me so much. When I went to Tunis,<br />

I found myself <strong>in</strong> a bar/café with all the<br />

Tunisian youth. It was sublime. I went<br />

back to Algiers feel<strong>in</strong>g euphoric.<br />

I came back with so much energy. It<br />

did me so much good. We need these<br />

experiences! »<br />

Mehdi Djelil<br />

Visual artist,<br />

Algiers*<br />

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