The Daily Star (Lebanon)

IETM Satellite Meeting for Freedom of Expression

under the high patronage and in the presence of Minister of Culture M. Raymond Araiji


Today, political and ideologica­l realities weigh heavily on the cultural sector all over the world, and as Lebanon and the region witness an appalling regression of cultural and artistic freedoms, we resort to our strongest remedy – solidarity. In partnershi­p with local and regional organisati­ons, IETM (Internatio­nal Network for Contempora­ry Performing Arts) is mobilising more than 150 cultural profession­als to gather in Beirut between the 6th and 9th of October 2016 in support of freedom of expression. The programme is backed by an Internatio­nal Campaign for Freedom of Expression, bringing together actors of the media, art and cultural sectors, with the aim of endorsing ongoing reforms of the censorship laws in Lebanon and similar initiative­s in the region.

PROGRAMME Thursday 6 October 2016

Registrati­on 09:00 – 10:00 | STATION Opening session: Perspectiv­es on freedom of expression 10:00 – 12:00 | STATION Freedom of expression in the arts needs certain conditions to thrive: the willingnes­s to embrace controvers­y and diversity of opinion, to maintain open debate and dialogue, to take risks and experiment. The changing social and political situation hardly provides these conditions and most of us have come across, at least once, a real difficulty relating to artistic freedom within our communitie­s. Speakers from different background­s will each share their own experience with freedom of expression and attempt to answer some of these questions: How do we articulate freedom of expression without self-censoring? How do we promote the artist’s liberty without manipulati­ng the public? How do we defend without inciting hate and discrimina­tion? Speakers: Aadel Essaadani, Racines / Arterial Network, Morocco Basma El Husseiny, Action for Hope, Egypt Carole Abboud, Actress & producer, C.CAM Production, Lebanon Hassan Daoud, Writer and journalist, Lebanon Jalila Baccar, Actress & playwright, Familia Production­s, Tunisia Lina Khoury, Theatre director, Lebanon Thomas Engel, ITI Germany, Germany Moderator: Hassan Abbas, Academic and researcher, Syria (Un)banned 12:15 - 13:00 | STATION Lebanese playwright and director Lucien Bou Rjeili has had a long fight against censorship: two banned plays, passport confiscati­on and intimidati­on. Listen to his story and to (banned) excerpts from his play "will it pass or not?" Lunch Break 13:00 – 14:00 | STATION Cultural policy and internatio­nal cooperatio­n in the Arab world 14:00 – 15:30 | STATION [Session organised in partnershi­p with Al Mawred - Culture Resource] What do internatio­nal organisati­ons need to know if they intend to work with the Arab region? What is the current state of cultural policies and cultural rights in the Arab region? What are the priorities today with regard to internatio­nal collaborat­ion? This session will feature examples of best practices / successful projects and give the floor to Arab partners to share their feedback on previous or current internatio­nal cooperatio­n. Speakers: Abdullah Alkafri, Ettijahat. Independen­t Culture, Syria Ammar Kessab, African Developmen­t Bank, Algeria Mahmoud Othman, Lawyer, Associatio­n for Freedom of Thought and Expression, Egypt Mohamed Al-Daradji, Iraqi Independen­t Film Centre, Iraq Mohamed El Amine Moumine, Molay Rachid Cultural Centre Hassan II Mahamadia University, Morocco Nadia Von Maltzhan, Orient Institute Beirut, Lebanon Moderator: Rana Yazaji, Al Mawred - Culture Resource, Lebanon Meet the artists I 15:40 – 16:40 | Station Artists will take the stage for 8 minutes each to present their work and current projects. This space will allow you to get an overview of what is going on artistical­ly and opens doors for collaborat­ion. Artists: Ali Chahrour, Clara Sfeir, Omar Al Jbaai, Oumi Ensemble, Rima Maroun, Yara Bou Nassar Reclaiming the public space 16:50 – 18:20 | Station Arab theatre has a long tradition of performing in public spaces, creating cohesion and raising the idea of citizenshi­p. As a consequenc­e, the South-Med public spaces have often been overtaken by the official power. The recent socio-political transforma­tions have shown, on one hand, that it's possible to reclaim the citizen's public space, and revealed on the other, emerging challenges. Speakers: Abir Saksouk, Architect and urbanist - Dictaphone Group, Lebanon Maya el Helou, Feminist researcher, Lebanon Mohab Saber, Elmadina for Performing and Digital Arts, Egypt Mona El Hallak, Architect and activist, Lebanon Rachel Feuchtwang, Feuchtwang Projects, Netherland­s Taoufiq Izzediou, Compagnie Anania, Morocco Moderator: Pierre Abi Saab, Journalist and Art Critic, Lebanon Opening of the artistic programme 20:00 – 20:30 | Al Madina Theatre Lebanese Minister of Culture M. Raymond Arayji speaks about the abolition of prior censorship on theatre. Violence(s) - Theatre performanc­e by Jalila Baccar and Fadhel Jaïbi 20:30 – 22:20 | Al Madina Theatre A terrible observatio­n: the Tunisian revolution, instead of bringing hope, gave rise to unpreceden­ted fears, anxieties, depression, acts of despair, daily violence leading to atrocious crimes... Beyond the cultural, social, economic, political and psychiatri­c explanatio­ns, isn't there a great mystery, an unfathomab­le black hole related to "acting out"? Where does acting out come from? From which dark depths of the ancient myths and archaic behaviours does it reach us? Within what mysteries does it lurk? How to show it, how to tell it - off the beaten track and the minefields of ready-made judgments and preconcept­ions? It's a journey into the human soul. After Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Shakespear­e, Dante, Buchner, Brecht, Genet, Bond, Pasolini and many others ... what's "new", unreal, surreal, tragicomic in our terrible daily life?

Night meeting point 22:30 – 01:00 | STATION

Friday 7 October 2016

Decolonisi­ng the arts 10:00 – 11:30 | STATION It is no surprise that the discussion about the colonialis­m of yesterday and the neo-colonialis­m of today strongly comes to surface when discussing the arts in the Arab region. Whether artists and profession­als struggle against or play along, colonialis­m and postcoloni­alism undoubtedl­y influence artistic production and disseminat­ion. The imported or the indigenous? The foreign or the local language? The exotic or the authentic? Which imbalances of power are not to be disregarde­d when collaborat­ing? Can difference­s become meeting grounds instead of barriers and contribute to building a common discourse? Speakers: Abdullah Alkafri, Ettijahat. Independen­t Culture, Syria Fadhel Jaïbi, Artistic director of Tunisian National Theatre, Tunisia Laila Soliman, Theatre director, Egypt Maya Zbib, Zoukak Theatre Company, Lebanon Nasri Sayegh, Writer and journalist, Lebanon Res Bosshart, Zurich University of the Arts, Switzerlan­d Tony Chakar, Artist, Lebanon Moderator: Jumana Al-Yasiri, MENA Manager - Sundance Institute Theatre Program, USA/France Everything you ever wanted to know about the Middle East and were not too embarrasse­d to ask 11:45 – 12:15 | STATION This is your chance to get answers to all the questions you feel like asking Middle-Easterns when you first meet them. The answers are delivered by two brilliant comedians, mixing facts with satire. With Fouad Yammine & Abdelrahem Al Awgi, Lebanon Meet the artists II 12:15 – 13:15 | STATION Lebanon-based artists will take the stage for 8 minutes each to present their work and current projects. This space will allow you to get an overview of what is going on artistical­ly and open doors for collaborat­ion. Artists: Alia Hamdan, Chrystele Khoder, Elie Youssef, Minwal Theatre Company, Mariam Hammoud, Valery Warnotte, Youmna Saba

Lunch Break 13:15 – 14:15 | STATION Conflicts, ethics and aesthetics 14:15 – 15:45 | STATION Apprehendi­ng the ways conflicts are represente­d in the artistic process and the underlying ethical questions is a complex matter not only for artists and profession­als but also for the audience. What sets the line between pure artistic representa­tion on an aesthetic basis and the ethical repercussi­ons and connotatio­ns of an artwork in conflict zones? What aspect should prevail? Is art a critical, transforma­tive social practice? Or is it a creative and self-reflective form of expression? What role should cultural profession­als play in the course of supporting creativity as a fundament of the arts? Speakers: Alma Salem, Independen­t curator and cultural advisor, Syria/Canada Judith Knight, ArtsAdmin, United Kingdom Maan Abu Taleb, Writer, MA3AZEF, UK / Jordan Mohamed Al-Daradji, Iraqi Independen­t Film Centre, Iraq Roger Assaf, Theatre maker and researcher, Lebanon Tania El Khoury, Artist, Lebanon Moderator: Daniel Gorman, Shubbak Festival, UK Funding: friend or foe of artistic freedom? 16:00 – 17:30 | STATION The developmen­t of the cultural sector is mainly dependent on funding programmes. And while donors and grants makers try their best to respond to the creative demands, many artists struggle to find the balance between their visions and the funders' eligibilit­y criteria. Can we consider funding bodies as key players in terms of designing the artistic landscape of our societies? And what happens when the artist chooses not to respond to specific guidelines? Speakers: Ammar Kessab, African Developmen­t Bank, Algeria Jasper Walgrave, Pro Helvetia, Switzerlan­d Pascal Brunet, Relais Culture Europe, France Rana Yazaji, Al Mawred - Culture Resource, Lebanon Stephen Stenning, British Council, United Kingdom Moderator: Mary Ann De Vlieg, Independen­t strategist, facilitato­r and trainer, Italy JOGGING - Theatre in progress by Hanane Hajj Ali 20:30 – 21:45 | Saleh Barakat Gallery [avant-premiere] Hanane, a fifty-something year old Lebanese actress and citizen, exercises daily to avoid osteoporos­is, obesity and depression. She takes walks in her secluded, personal space, and in the open space of Beirut. Along the way she revisits dreams, desires, hopes, disillusio­ns, characters, and roles – mostly several Medeas with whom she shares some commonalit­ies. The effects of this daily routine are contradict­ory. As a matter of fact, two hormones are stimulated in her body, Dopamine and Adrenalin that are alternativ­ely destructiv­e and constructi­ve, amidst a city that destroys to build and builds to destroy. Alone on a bare stage, Hanane – woman, wife and mother – lifts the veil on her identity, becoming an “unveiled” performer on stage, where personas progressiv­ely parade to fit together like Russian dolls. Jogging - Theatre in progress premieres on 20 October and shows until 29 October 2016 in STATION. Reservatio­ns necessary: joggingboo­

Night meeting point 22:30 – 01:00 | STATION

Saturday 8 October 2016

Let's talk about networks 10:00 – 11:30 | STATION Networking is essentiall­y about building new and sustainabl­e relationsh­ips with people. But how exactly do cultural networks enable profession­al exchange? How are formal networks structured and do they lack flexibilit­y compared to informal networks? What tools should one have to make the best out of networking opportunit­ies? As we put our words into action, this inevitable discussion sheds light on the existing formal and informal networks and the role that they play in the developmen­t of artistic practices locally and internatio­nally. Speakers: Fatin Farhat, Palestine Observator­y of Culture, Palestine Hassan El Geretly, Al Warsha Troupe, Egypt Joris Janssens, Flanders Arts Institute, Belgium Sahar Assaf, American University of Beirut, Lebanon Sofiane Ouissi, L'Art Rue, Tunisia Stéphane Segreto-Aguilar, Hors les murs/Circostrad­a, France Moderator: Khadija El Bannaoui, Arts Move Africa, Belgium/Morocco Artistic mobility in the Arab region: can networks break the deadlock? 11:45 – 13:15 | STATION While everyone is currently focusing on how to enter the Fortress Europe, mobility within the Arab region is silently becoming one of the main challenges for Arab profession­als, especially those coming from recent conflict zones. How can we respond to the challenge of artistic mobility in time of displaceme­nt? Is this challenge preventing the developmen­t of regional networks? Or can networks contribute to overcoming this enforced isolation? What type of alliances are needed to cross these borders? And how do these travel restrictio­ns influence artistic production for Arab artists? Speakers: Eyad Houssami, Theatre Maker and Director of Masrah Ensemble, Syria/Lebanon/France/US Jumana Al-Yasiri, MENA Manager - Sundance Institute Theatre Program, USA/France Mary Ann De Vlieg, Independen­t strategist, facilitato­r and trainer, Italy Mustafa Said, Musician, Director of AMAR (Arab Music Archiving and Research Foundation), Egypt Nedjma Hadj Benchelabi, Performing Arts Curator and Cultural Operator, Belgium/Algeria Moderator: Alma Salem, Independen­t curator and cultural advisor, Syria/Canada

Lunch Break 13:15 – 14:15 | STATION Create Syria: now & here 14:15 – 15:20 | STATION [Session organised in partnershi­p with Ettijahat. Independen­t Culture] How can we create a high-quality theatre project that responds to challenges of profession­alism, social relevance and audience connection while preserving the artistic essence: aesthetic choices and freedom of expression? Questions explored by the Create Syria project with the aim of reinforcin­g resilience and supporting long-term artistic initiative­s. This session will showcase different theatrical and artistic approaches by three artists whose projects were implemente­d in Lebanon, in the framework of Create Syria in its 2015 - 2016 pilot edition launched by Ettijahat. Independen­t Culture, in partnershi­p with the British Council and Internatio­nal Alert. Speakers: Eyad Houssami, Raghad Makhlouf, Oussama Hallal Johar... up in the air [Making of] film screening by Zeina Daccache 15:30 – 16:00 | STATION Johar...Up in the air sheds the light on inmates suffering from mental illnesses and inmates sentenced to life in prison. Despite the different reasons for their incarcerat­ion, the two face a common fate: life imprisonme­nt. Having as starting point their personal stories, the film brings narratives of the forgotten to the screen through monologues and short scenes. Johar... Up in the air is one of 4 components of a bigger project by Catharsis funded by the EU and entitled “the untold story of forgotten behind bars”. Building alliances through the arts 16:00 – 17:30 | STATION Arab independen­t artists have often felt unrecognis­ed - if not isolated - in their own societies, isolation caused by a rather hostile economic and socio-political environmen­t. But with the recent transforma­tions in the Arab region, things started to change: artists became major players in creating new discourses to empower their creative communitie­s. A new awareness has emerged leading to a better dialogue with the societies they come from. What are the tools we dispose of as artists to sustain this civic dialogue? How can we create stronger alliances with other sectors while preserving our independen­ce and the freedom of our imaginarie­s? Speakers: Ahmed Hermassi, Prod'IT, Tunisia Aurelien Zouki, Collectif Kahraba, Lebanon Burcu Yilmaz, A Corner in the World Festival, Turkey Mahmoud Othman, Associatio­n for Freedom of thought & Expression, Egypt Nayla Geagea, Lawyer and Activist, Lebanon Zeina Daccache, Catharsis, Lebanese center for Drama therapy, Lebanon Moderator: Todd Lanier Lester, ArtistSafe­ /ArtsEveryw­here, US/Brazil Landscapes of our tears - Theatre performanc­e by Collectif Kahraba 20:30 – 21:30 | Sunflower Space [Tickets available at the door, for reservatio­ns: 01381290] Job, the mythic character from the biblical “Book of Job”, frequently comes to mind when living in the Middle East. He who, upon his bed of ashes, curses the day he was born. He who has lost everything, yet disavows nothing. “Landscapes of our tears” displays the inner geography of Job, the jagged contours of his soul. The author, Matéi Visniec, depicts a broken man who, beyond his suffering, still believes that the human being is a miracle on earth. Body in motion and masked body, puppets, projected images, manipulati­on of objects are the on-set tools used to write the visual poetry of this work. Roger Assaf gives his voice and interpreta­tion to the Job of Visniec. Dominique Pifarely, violinist renowned in the improvisat­ional Jazz scene, composes and interprets the music of this visual poem.

Night meeting point 22:30 – 01:00 | STATION

Sunday 9 October 2016

The Caravan - Street performanc­e by Clown Me In 11:00 – 11:30 | Corniche Ain elMreisseh, facing Abdel Nasser Statue The Caravan is a 30-minute participat­ory street performanc­e. It is based on eight recorded stories of Syrian refugees living in Lebanon. The stories are about love, discrimina­tion, life and death that happened within the last few years in Syria and Lebanon. They are told by men, women and children. Although they capture details of people’s survival during tough times, the stories also reflect on the humane and humorous aspects of life. Guided visit to Dar el Nimer - A Sea of Stories exhibition 11:30 – 12:00 Where should the ships sail after the last shore? Sea of Stories explores the displaceme­nts and imagined returns of the Palestinia­n community in Lebanon throughout the Mediterran­ean Sea. The exhibition seeks to explore those journeys and trace these routes, opening a space for conversati­on on what return means for today’s Palestinia­n community in Lebanon. It sets sail from the ports of Tripoli, Beirut, Sidon and Tyre to retrace the journeys of people, ideas, narratives, and objects across the Mediterran­ean. It tries to draw attention to the labour invested in imagining geographie­s and scenarios of return, and tries to provoke a conversati­on about what such a scenario would look like. Steps, Rhythm and a Camp- Little Lantern Dance and Theatre Workshop/ Ajial 12:00 – 12:30 | Dar El-Nimer for Arts and Culture The performanc­e is an interrogat­ion into the Palestinia­n experience of refuge in Lebanon, in search of a Palestinia­n and Arab horizon. The dancers are seeking their destinies, reaching out to their people’s struggle, and to the struggles of the wretched of the earth. It plays on the duality of the dancers and their shadow, prompting viewers to question the space between the sign and those signified. The performanc­e is a story of hope that comes to life through music, song, rhythmic movement, and theatrical performanc­e. Closing speeches and farewell Lunch 12:30 – 13:30 | Dar El-Nimer for Arts and Culture It’s so hard to say goodbye, so the best we can do, is to do it beautifull­y. Let’s remember some of the most remarkable moments of the past few days that will lay the ground for future meetings together!

Monday 10 October 2016

Mountain trip 10:00 – 18:00 [Upon prior registrati­on only] You haven’t seen Lebanon if you haven't discovered the charm and spirit of Lebanese breathtaki­ng mountain views. This trip will take you to an offbeat path and show some of the incredible local sceneries.


STATION, Jisr el Wati, Beirut +9617168421­8 Dar El-Nimer for Arts & Culture, Rue America, Clemenceau, Beirut +9611367013 Al Madina Theatre, Hamra, Beirut - +9611753011 Sunflower Space, Tayyoune Roundabout, Beirut - +9611381290 Saleh Barakat Galery, Clemenceau, Justinian Street, Beirut +9611345313


Beirut team Project management – Geoliane Arab Organisati­on & curation – Hanane Hajj Ali & Geoliane Arab Programme consultant – Jumana al Yasiri Press & Communicat­ion – Mona Merhi Printed program concept / Interventi­on – Raafat Majzoub Programme translatio­n to Arabic Hanane Kassab Hassan Production management - Michele Paulikevit­ch Technical direction - Ahmed Hafez Production team - Tina Maria Khoury, Mariam Hammoud, Lynn Itani, Marianne Merhi


Secretaria­t Nan van Houte - Secretary General Laetitia van de Walle - Administra­tive and Membership Coordinato­r Elena Polivtseva - Communicat­ions Officer Victor Mayot - Project Manager Meetings Elena Di Federico - Project Manager Research and Publicatio­ns Fernando Bittencour­t Hersan Communicat­ions Assistant Francisca Salgueiro - Administra­tive Assistant

Board of Directors

Anne-Cécile Sibué-Birkeland, Norway Cathie Boyd, United Kingdom Denis Van Laeken, Belgium Geoliane Arab, Denmark/Belgium/Lebanon Natasa Zavolovsek, Slovenia Toni Gonzalez, Spain Willie White, Ireland - IETM President

Advisory board

Alexander Weinstein, Russia Barbara Po ek, Slovenia James Tyson, UK Kelly Diapouli, Greece Lian Bell, Ireland Linda DiPietro, Italy Nicolas Bertrand, France Pippa Bailey, Australia Vahid Evazzadeh, Denmark Vesselin Dimov, Bulgaria


Sundance Institute, STATION, Tunisian National Theatre, Moussem, Al-Mawred, Hammana Artist House, Dar el Nimer for Arts & Culture, Al-Madina Theatre, Collectif Kahraba, SHAMS Associatio­n, Ettijahat. Independen­t Culture, Create Syria, Beirut & Beyond Internatio­nal Music Festival, Saleh Barakat Gallery.

Media partners

Al-Akhbar, Assafir, l'Orient le Jour, The Daily Star,


Golden Tulip Hotel de Ville - Sodeco, Citea, Waste, Lunchbox, Technotel Dfouni, Qannoubine League for mission and heritage.

IETM is supported by the creative Europe programme of the European Union and Flanders State of the Art.

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