Voices from Beirut: artists and art professionals on the arts scene in the MENA-region

Beirut IETM Satellite (c) Jens Bjerregaard

Parallel to the festival ‘Moussem Cities: Beirut’, Flanders Arts Institute publishes contributions by writer Michael Bijnens, curator Mieke Mels, curator Tom Viaene, dancer Bára Sigfúsdóttir and dancer-choreographer Andros Zins-Browne on the past IETM network meeting and the lively arts scene in the Lebanese capital.

Beirut was the location of the Satellite Meeting IETM organised from 6 until 9 October 2016. A Satellite Meeting allows a deeper analysis of a specific topic and/or closer contact to a region/country in focus. The main theme of this meeting was ‘Freedom of Expression’. A number of crucial topics were explored in depth: mobility, cultural policies, funding, gender equality in the cultural sector and decentralisation of culture.

By means of an open call, arts professionals could apply for participation. From the submitted applications, five participants were selected. They wrote down their impressions in a travel report: choreographer Andros Zins-Browne, curator Mieke Mels, critic-curator Tom Viaene, choreographer-dancer Bára Sigfúsdottir and writer Michael Bijnens. Flanders Arts Institute staff member Joris Janssens examines the policies, the cultural infrastructure and possible collaborations with players in the MENA region.

Moussem Cities: Beirut, organised by Moussem Nomadic Arts Centre and its partners, runs from 2 until 18 February on various locations in Brussels. The festival offers a broad multidisciplinary programme with performances, concerts, exhibitions, installations and debate. Artists, thinkers, and cultural operators are invited to tell the story of their city through their work.

About Artistic collaboration with Middle East & North Africa

In the years to come, Flanders Arts Institute will focus on the Middle East and North Africa – or MENA. This Beirut series is a first episode of our focus on the MENA region, for which artists, arts professionals and researchers write about the arts landscape in this region and possible common ground with Flanders and Brussels.


Flanders Arts Institute