‘In the nightmare of the dark/All the dogs of Europe bark/And the living nations wait/ Each sequestered in its hate’ – W.H. Auden In Memory of W.B. Yeats (1940)
Who are we? is a free 6-day cross-platform event, spanning the visual arts, film, photography, design, architecture, the spoken and written word and live art which asks Who are we? Guided by Auden’s quote, and inspired by the open dialogue of the Tate Exchange initiative looking at art and its importance to society, Who Are We? reflects on identity, belonging, migration and citizenship through arts and audience participation. The week of activity has been specifically designed for Tate Exchange and focuses around an ethos of collaboration, innovation, conversation, exchange and learning.
Auden’s homage to Yeats conjures an uncannily resonant image of contemporary Europe, a Europe increasingly divided, fending and fastening its borders against real and imagined ‘others’. The populist discourse raging across Europe today betrays fear. Europe seems frightened, asking ‘who are we?’
Artists and practitioners from countries including England, Scotland, Poland, Finland, Iraq, Italy, Germany, Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo, Slovenia, Romania, Greece, Spain, Israel, USA and South Africa contribute to the debate through a week long public programme of activities, installations and events to which the public are invited to engage and participate. The work centres on these questions:
- What is becoming of Europe and the UK?
- What are we forgetting, and with what consequences?
- How does our colonial past connect to today’s migratory movements?
- Can the creative uses of media, technologies, logistics, visual art and performances show us a glimpse of another Europe, another ‘We’?
Free bookable events
Fri 17th March 2 - 4.20pm
In collaboration with the Stuart Hall Foundation and chaired by Gilane Tawadros. The event brings together directors of major contemporary arts museums in Europe to discuss how these institutions shape our sense of identity and belonging at a time of political and social turbulence.
Okwui Enwezor (Director, Haus der Kunst, Munich)
Marta Gilli (Director, Jeu de Paume)
Francesco Manacorda, Director Tate Liverpool
Sat 18th March 5.30 - 7.30pm
Jillian Edelstein in conversation with Liz Jobey. Searching for Great Aunt Minna was inspired by a photograph and a commissioned photo essay for the Sunday Times Magazine about the Sangoma, the traditional healers who are called by their Ancestors to heal. Jillian Edelstein’s story takes in the history of Eastern Europe and the solid immigration drive to Southern Africa from Eastern Europe. Photography, film interviews and diary pieces are used to illustrated her family’s search for stability due to forced removal. In this event Jillian talks to Liz Jobey, associate editor of the FT Weekend Magazine.
Sun 19th March 2 - 4pm
Join us for a conversation between Samantha Schnee, Chair of Words Without Borders and publisher Meike Ziervogel, with writers Olumide Popoola and Annie Holmes to explore the unique commissioning approach of Peirene Press. Ziervogel commissioned the writers to go to Calais in 2015 to produce the collection of short stories; breach. Peirene’s collaborative approach continues with the forthcoming Brexit novel, The Cut with writer Anthony Cartwright.
About the artists
Artists in the programme include: Alia Syed, Alketa Xhafa Mripa, Ania Bas & Season Butler, Antti Tenetz, Behjat Omer Abdulla, Bern O’Donoghue, Dawid Górny, Elena Bukovala, Eva Sajovic, Gil Mualem Doron, JC Niala, Jillian Edelstein, Juan delGado, Laura Malacart, Laura Sorvala, Lucia Scazzocchio, Natasha Davis, Dana Olărescu and Bojana Janković, Richard Dedomenici, Nele Vos, Arithmus Project, and the Citizen Sense project.
About the Associates
Counterpoints Arts support, produce and promote the arts by and about migrants and refugees. Their work is done in collaboration and through co-productions – with artists, arts, cultural and educational organizations and civil society activists working with refugees and migrants. Central to their mission is a belief in the ability of the arts to inspire social change.
Loughborough University is an institution driven by the ambition to deliver impactful world-class research across all disciplines. It contributes a distinctive commitment to both the research of arts and culture and to the training of new generations of artists and designers.
The Open University
The Open University is a pioneer of teaching, learning and research methods contributing specifically through its scholarship on collective digital identities, citizenship and governance.
University of Warwick
The University of Warwick brings a commitment to learning with others through engaged social science research on migration, belonging and activism which contributes to understanding and change in everyday lives.