ACT is a collaboration between studios supporting artists in exile in the UK, Istanbul and Irbid working with the Fanak Fund based in Paris, facilitating collaboration between the artists from the Arab speaking world and Europe.
By the end of 2022 over 108 million people globally were displaced from their homes as a result of persecution, conflict, violence and human rights violations with a noted increase in those displaced as a result of the climate crisis.
Here in Cyprus, the island has existed as as a crossroads for intercultural and interfaith exchange for millennia. With the first known settlements in around 10,000BC, Cyprus’ strategic position in the Eastern Mediterranean has attracted traders, seafarers, armies, and empires. From the Phoenicians to the Lusignians, the Venetians to the Turks and to the British, nations have occupied and ruled the country.
Today, as a crossroads into the EU, Cyprus now has the bloc’s highest percentage, per-population, of asylum seekers. As of 2021, Cyprus saw 14,799 applications for asylum per million Cypriot nationals. The next highest, Austria, received 72% fewer, at 4,111.
Over the two years ACT engages artists in exile whose practice has been disrupted it considers:
Ethical engagement: How are ethical structures of collaboration developed that holistically consider the real challenges impacting artists in exile? Who else do we need to work with to strengthen what we do and how we do it?
Artists at the front and centre of their professional development: How are artistic programmes of work and opportunities equitably developed with artists in exile at the centre?
Getting the conditions right: How can we ensure the protection and fair engagement of artists when they have no legal status or access to funds and resources? How do we adapt our working methods to ensure we provide creative and cultural spaces of care for artists in exile? What do we need to advocate for at an international level and how can this drive what we do at a local level?
ACT gathers in Cyprus in March 2024 with the support of the Goethe Institute to host international conversations on working with artists in exile and to show work produced for a virtual exhibition following a global call in 2023.