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Mor Cohen - Things that Grow From Below: Art Collectives in Israel

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Geoffrey Manton Building

Rosamond Street West

Manchester

M15 6EB

United Kingdom

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Politics and International Relations Seminar Series

Date: Wednesday 6th February 2018

Time: 1.30pm – 3pm

Location: GM302, Geoffrey Manton

Tickets: Free

In the last two decades, there has been a wide emergence of art collectives in Israel. They often work in mixed cities, such as Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv, which are inhabited by Israeli-Jews from different ethnic and religious backgrounds, as well as Israeli-Palestinians, migrant workers and asylum-seekers. The appearance of these art collectives, alongside new forms of urban and socially engaged art, are part of an interesting turning point both in the way art is made and perceived in Israel, and both in the way citizens respond to social and political matters.

Following the current social and political developments in Israel, with emphasis on the 2011 Israeli protests for social justice, I will examine the ways art collectives respond to issues such as the high cost of living, inequality, and socio-economic divisions. Some of the collectives’ activities include organising gardening workshops, offering temporary solutions to social problems, such as a free public kitchen and libraries, and organising alternative tours and festivals in neighbourhoods.

Leaving the mainstream institutions for producing and depicting art, such as museums and galleries, and working with under-represented communities suggest alternative ways for forming collectives identities and narratives which challenge the socio-political climate in Israel. However, these types of collaboration also posit the art collectives in challenging sceneries where they need to navigate between the artistic and the communal, the social and the political. I will present some of these challenges using the case of the art collective Muslala who works in Jerusalem and aim to produce art events that connect the different groups living in the city.


Biography

Mor Cohen is a PhD candidate in the Postgraduate Arts and Humanities Center at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her research examines contemporary art collectives working in mixed cities in Israel, the production of third spaces through socially engaged art practices, and intersections of art and politics in Israel.​


Image credit:

A conversation with Anwar Ben-Badis on the historical meanings for the word ‘Basta’ (a market stall in Arabic), as part of the Between Green and Red – a Meeting Point event, 2012, Jerusalem. Photograph by Hamutal Wachtel.


Part of the Politics, International Relations and Public Services Research Seminar Series at Manchester Met

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Geoffrey Manton Building

Rosamond Street West

Manchester

M15 6EB

United Kingdom

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