Claire Malika Zerhouni
I am a Cultural Manager of French and Algerian descent, based in Istanbul-Turkey, Co-Director of A Corner in the World, an independent platform focusing on performing arts. I also collaborate as a freelancer with international institutions as the Sundance Institute, and volunteers with Addar, a space supporting refugees settling down in Istanbul. I publish articles – recently in Curiosity Magasine.
Previously I lived in Damascus where I worked as a project coordinator at the French Cultural Center and learnt Arabic. I was then the Executive Director of Siwa Plateforme, initiative based in France and Tunisia focusing on contemporary artistic research and experimentation in the Arab Worlds. I have been working in North Africa and the broad Middle East for more than 10 years. Working in these singular contexts is not easy: the political, social and economic turmoils make our work obviously challenging.
However, I have been surrounded by enthousiastic, dynamic and tremendously creative artists and professionals. Working in Tunisia, Iraq, Syria and now Turkey, with performing artists whose gestures have always a strong political resonance taught me two things: first, the wonderful power of arts and artistic creation and its ability to connect people; second the importance of bringing these gestures and voices to the light, because of their capacity in shifting views and starting conversations.
Especially in this changing and uncertain world of ours, I really believe that we – art professionals - have to strengthen our ties, develop our local and international networks, widen our perspectives, reflect together on new collaborative models, to continue being inspired and making our initiatives grow. Being in contact with other international people working in the same field and reflecting on possible new models, questioning our practices and trying to define new innovative models for the arts is in that sense, and at this moment of my professional life, fundamental.