On the 12th of November 2018, the Gender Equality Programme of the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed) is organizing a round table on the theme "Art and feminism in cities: a vital link for human rights". It will be an opportunity to highlight the link between artists and activism in order to conquer the public space, to denounce the gender inequalities existing in the cultural and creative sector, and to present initiatives that plead to place art in heart of the feminist struggle. This round table is associated with the Xabaca project, led by Jiwar Creació i Societat (Barcelona), NOVACT (Barcelona) and the Al Fanar Foundation (Madrid). The event takes place in the framework of "La Biennal del Pensament" (Biennial for Thought), an initiative of the City of Barcelona (Spain), which intends to analyze the role of cities in facing the challenges of this century (the future of democracy, technological transformations, the validity of current urban models, etc.) through a wide programme of activities starting on the 15th of October.
The Xabaca project focuses on Arab women artists who -despite censorship and political and social reprisals in their home countries- make the voices and points of view of women heard through their creations. Each year, Xabaca invites many of these women artists to make a creative residency in Barcelona. This year’s selected artists are:
- Sondos Shabayek, an Egyptian screenwriter, theater woman and performer who focuses on the discourse against censorship and the social impediments of individual development for Egyptian women. She is famous for her "Tahir monologues" and for the creation of the BUSSY project, a network that fights against gender discrimination in theatre.
- Alaa Satir is a Sudanese illustrator who works on gender issues from an ironic and humorous perspective with a format close to the comic genre.
During the roundtable, the two creators selected this year will explain their experience as women artists and feminists in their respective communities and cities. They will also talk about the oppression and lack of freedom of expression they often suffer, as well as the social impact of their creations in society.
The round table will be moderated by Maria-Àngels Roque, Head of the Department of Mediterranean Cultures and Civil Society of the IEMed, which is a collaborating entity of the Xabaca project. Émilie Vidal, the coordinator of the IEMed’s Gender Equality Programme and of the Euro-Mediterranean Women’s Foundation (FFEM)’s actions will present the photos and stories selected for the contest "Powerful women: Breaking stereotypes in the Euro-Mediterranean region" which will be exhibited at the Francesca Bonnemaison Women’s Cultural Center in Barcelona starting from October 22nd 2018 and the name "Women breaking barriers: Mediterranean cities in motion".
The Biennial for Thought will also host other events organized by the IEMed, such as a debate with the Lebanese writer Joumana Haddad, activist and founder of the review Jasad, on the 18th of October, 2018, or a round table on the theme "Sexuality and social change in the southern Mediterranean", on the 4th of December, 2018.
This platform is part of the Axis 1 "Strengthening the capacities of equality actors" of the Priority Solidarity Fund "Women for the future in the Mediterranean" funded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and led by the European Institute of the Mediterranean, in the framework of the project “Developing Women's Empowerment” labelled by the Union for the Mediterranean.