DIY 2020/21: MOU7I6 presents – Circular University جامعة الدوائر

MOU7I6 Collective is hosting workshop sessions for SWANA (south west Asian and North African) young people to find out more about creative careers, and exchange knowledge with not only each other, but boss industry professionals smashing it in their fields. The focus of this first iteration of Circular University is on film programming and performance making.

This DIY is run in partnership with the Arab British Centre, with support from the Live Art Development Agency (LADA) as part of Library of Performing Rights and the British Library.

About the DIY and Facilitators

“Join us in the inauguration of our new “university”! We can’t wait to physically welcome you through our doors at the Arab British Centre in December, so we can develop on the foundations of our knowledges, experiences, and practices together. Our university is one of a kind. It is inspired by an intersectional understanding of the Eastern Mediterranean and North African region – providing a series of workshops within the creative arts sector that allows for a cycle of information and knowledge exchange to be created. 

You can forget the standard setting of a university where the pillars of knowledge are hierarchically embedded into a practice that, for the most part, makes us feel like Orientalised subjects rather than students. Rather, our practitioners (who are all at different stages of their career and from different artistic backgrounds) are here to support you in exploring the possibilities of developing collaborative futures with like-minded individuals across your desired industries – all within a specific structure of talks that entail open, flexible discussion and knowledge/skill exchanges. Our first workshop on 12 December will focus on film programming and performance making with two practitioners with years of experience in these fields guiding the discussion.

You may be asking us, why are we initiating this? Well, we are creating our own environments rather than waiting or allowing others to do so for us, and similarly removing ourselves from the hegemonies of colonialism and knowledge-production that are regularly used as mechanisms of power against us in society. We are creating a space where we can explore, rather than explain. Deconstruct, rather than defend. Understand, rather than undermine. Wouldn’t you like to be a part of helping us do this? 

Unlike virtually all other universities located in England, we are 100% free for our students. No student loans with shocking interest rates. No hidden fees or obligations. We only ask that you fulfil the below entry requirements to apply for our first workshop, and we look forward to welcoming you very, very soon!”

-MOU7I6 Collective

Elhum Shakerifar

Elhum Shakerifar is a BAFTA nominated producer and curator, producing and distributing documentaries through her company Hakawati with the core ethos that a good story is all in the telling. Recent credits include winner of the BIFA for Best Documentary winning Almost Heaven (Carol Salter, 2017), BFI/Sundance funded Even When I Fall (Sky Neal and Kate McLarnon, 2017) and Arts Council funded ISLAND (Steven Eastwood, 2017). In 2015, her BIFA, BAFTA and EFA nominated production A Syrian Love Story (Sean McAllister, 2015) won a Cinema for Peace Justice Award, screened in UK and European parliaments and in over 70 countries. It was self-distributed in the UK to such high visibility that it was named #3 Best Film of 2015 by the Guardian and was nominated for Film Campaign of the year at the Screen Awards 2016. Her work has been broadcast internationally and screened at festivals including Berlinale, IDFA and Rotterdam. Elhum is a programme advisor for London Film Festival for films from MENA and Iran, and Film Curator for Shubbak, festival of contemporary Arab culture. Elhum was a 2016 recipient of the BFI Vision Award. In 2017, she was nominated for the Arab British Centre’s Award for Culture and was awarded the Women in Film and TV Factual Award 2017. Elhum was one of Screen International’s 2018 #Brit50 Producers on the Rise.

www.hakawati.co.uk

Youcef Hadjazi

Predominantly based in London, Youcef is a North African visual artist and producer whose practice spans across performance and image-based media. His work tends to un-do societal dynamics and structures through the propelment of peripheral discourses. With an interest social behaviour, the post-colonial body and the ‘performative’ subconscious, Youcef psychoanalytically redefines the notion and lived experience ‘identity’ as a product of its history, within a context characterised by hegemonic conflict and colonialism.

Recently, Youcef led a public workshop with Liverpool Arab Arts Festival exploring the continuum of colonial trauma in North African societies. Prior to that, he choreographed ‘Museum of Leila’ at the V&A in London. Prior to which, he collaborated with SomoS Art House in Berlin on a photographic performance project that captured performative narratives of lived experiences among non-cis individuals. Alongside Youcef’s artistic practice, he has also held a number of professional roles within the creative producing industry including, formerly, with Shubbak Festival (London) and, currently, with Crafts Council (London).

Youcef’s involvement in MOU7I6 cohesively corresponds to the aims of his practice, which is a process of detangling the factors leading to the under/mis-interpretation of SWANA voices, particularly North African voices through a decolonial and psychoanalytic approach.

www.youcef.co

About the Organisers

MOU7I6 is a new, grassroots collective practicing with a distinctly intersectional and decolonial approach to centring artistic & cultural productions from the Eastern Mediterranean and North African region in the United Kingdom today. Rejecting the competition implicit in the monetisation of ‘minority’ identity politics, MOU7I6 gravitates fundamentally around the notions of support, care and solidarity in achieving self- and collective representation. We value collaboration over competition, and work to create accessible professional networks within the UK arts & culture sectors in which artists from the Eastern Mediterranean and North African region are able to comfortably thrive, rather than existentially survive. 

In its conceptual form, MOU7I6 consists of several active and symbolic members, including the founders Erkan Affan (UK/DE), Sarah Hamed(UK/EGY), Jessica El-Mal (UK/MA), and Youcef Hadjazi (UK/DZ) – with generous visual support from Tewa Barnosa (NL/LB). All individuals involved in the collective are young working professionals and artistic practitioners.

This iteration of Circular University has been organised by Erkan Affan and Youcef Hadjazi, who is also facilitating one of the workshop sessions.

Erkan Affan

Erkan is a curator & researcher born in London and currently based between London & Berlin. They hold a BA in Middle Eastern Studies from SOAS (University of London) and an MSc in Migration from UCL (University of London). In 2018, Erkan completed a research project for UCL’s Migration Research Unit on artistic worldmaking among west Asian migrant communities in Berlin, before beginning a curatorial residency funded by the European Commission and British Library in the German capital. Since then, Erkan has collaborated with various programmes & venues on public exhibitions and events in both the UK and Germany (such as the Institute of Contemporary Art in London and Die Kunste Werke in Berlin), has co-founded a queer Arab performance and nightlife collective (Queer Arab Barty), and most recently has acted as lead commissioner of an interactive digital and physical exhibition at the Berlin city-administered museum Bärenzwinger for a season. Currently, they are conducting research at the British Library on methodologies of contemporary archiving, whilst launching a radio show titled “Qaseeda” with support from NTS & Cashmere Radio that centres electronic music producers and artists from the Eastern Mediterranean and North African regions. 

Erkan is devoting their time to working with the newly formed MOU7I6 collective to tackle the rampant under- and mis-representation of non-European identities in the UK’s various arts and culture sectors. As an individual of generational Turkish and Arabic heritage, this is as much a personal endeavour as a professional one. 

 

Dates and other info

Session 1 – Sunday 12th December, 2021; 10:30 – 17:00

All sessions will be held at the Arab British Centre’s headquarters in central London. Sessions will be held in English.

Please note that this is the pilot session of a series of workshops commissioned by LADA and supported by the Arab British Centre on behalf of MOU7I6. For this first session, we encourage all accepted participants to provide active feedback both throughout and after the completion of the sessions to help the organisers in better developing future editions.

 

How to Apply

Applications are accepted through an online form. Applications are reviewed by solely by the lead artists Erkan and Youcef.

To take part in this programme, please feel in this google form by Wednesday 28th November, 2021 at 23:59 (don’t worry if your application is a few hours late!). 

Application Process

Along with contact and monitoring info, the form asks you:

  • To say a little bit about yourself (150-200 words)
  • What do you envisage getting out of these workshops? (150-200 words)
  • These workshops are particularly aimed at SWANA individuals. In your own words, how do you feel you belong to this background? (50-100 words)
Apply

Eligibility

Circular University is for those who:

  • identify as from the Eastern Mediterranean & North African region or its diaspora, with particular priority to those of a displaced experience. 
  • are under 30, and have a demonstrative interest in one or both of the following fields: film programming and artistic curation.  

Banner image credit:

Circular University, designed by Tewa Barnos

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