In Palestine, cultural production is currently undergoing two crises. The first crisis is the result of the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic and the closure of public spaces, the restrictions imposed on visual performances, the shutting down of cultural institutions, and the accompanying decline in financial support for such activities. The second crisis is political and is related to the setbacks of the Palestinian national project, diminishing Arab solidarity with Palestine during the periods of the Arab civil wars, and the repercussions the Deal of the Century and the process of cultural normalization between Israel and some Arab countries. The only glimmer of hope on this scene emerged during the Jerusalem uprising last May.
The questions that arise at this turning point are: What are the main features of the current Palestinian cultural landscape, and what changes has it witnessed recently? What are the challenges that face cultural production? What role can intellectuals and cultural institutions play?
In this context, the Institute for Palestine Studies (IPS) proposes the topic of “The Current Cultural Scene in Palestine” as the theme of its annual conference, to be held in late October 2021. IPS aims at addressing the current cultural crisis by addressing the following themes:
First theme: Changes in cultural forms of literary and artistic expression and their development during the past two decades. This theme addresses issues related to novels, poetry, short stories, cinema, theatre, architecture, visual arts, sculpture, photography, music, graffiti, and new arts: rap music, multimedia arts, and others.
Second theme: The impact of Covid-19 on cultural production, institutions, and initiatives. Has the pandemic generated new literary and artistic expressions? What is the impact of the pandemic on institutional cultural activities? Has cultural activity undergone permanent change, towards virtual space?
Third theme: Issues of quotidian challenges of current Palestinian cultural production, and how the crisis of the national project has impacted cultural production. What are the features of critical cultural discourse in Palestine? Cultural production as a tool of resistance; dilemmas of cultural production within the framework of globalization; cultural production, social media, and virtual space.
Fourth theme: How have intellectuals and artists confronted the challenges that face cultural institutions, including funding, freedom of expression, autonomy, and partisan agendas?
Roundtable Discussion: Prospects and opportunities for ending the crisis in the cultural sphere.
Proposals for contributions (300-500 words) should be submitted with a brief C.V. by 12 September 2021, to the following e-mail address:
IPS will review all proposals and will only contact applicants whose proposals have been accepted.
The languages of the conference are both Arabic and English. Simultaneous interpretation will be available.