L'Arabe de Service / Do Your Arab Thing cover
Click here to download the digital publication of the Do Your Arab Thing Colloquium that took place in Brussels on 14.10.2013.

The project 2012-13 starts as a coordinator an intercultural dialogue on a European scale with the Flemish nomadic art centre Moussem (BE), and with co-organisers as the Centre Choréographique National de Caen/Basse-Normandie/Compagnie Fattoumi-Lamoureux (FR), the Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival (GB), Re :Orient (SE) and the Association Kulturanova (RS) and the Bluecoat Liverpool as additional associated partner. 2012-13 seeks to expand trans-national mobility of art(ists) and intercultural dialogue by developing a common identity without frontiers focusing on new and old migratory flows. The enlargement of the European Union, coupled with increasing mobility linked to the common market, new and old migratory flows, the new trade ties with the rest of the world, the education, leisure and globalisation in general, have led to increased contacts between cultures, religions, ethnic groups and languages. Within this framework, the development of intercultural skills and the expansion of intercultural dialogue are essential. Since Member States deal with migration and cultural diversity in various ways, the capabilities of the partners will differ.

In this case a European project is needed for a critical reflection on the European canon from the perspective of the presence of European artists with an Arabic background. For this purpose emphasises on sharing the good practices and experiences to enlarge the intercultural dialogue. First by the development of an artistic practice with European artists with Arabic background who reflect critically today's and yesterday's canons to jointly enlarge the contemporary canon. Second by discussion and preliminary research to promote the introduction, selection and  participation of artists with extra-European backgrounds to the regular European art institutions. And this all to empower the different partners and artists in their contemporary European intercultural ambitions.

A first project 2011-2012 finished last year. The formula Moussem applied in Belgium to integrate not only artistic productions but also artists and audiences with a non-European (mostly North-African or Arabic) background, inspired the co-organisers to extend this intensive method in the European space. The formula of Moussem is to include its activities within regular art houses and cultural institutions. The character remains therefore deliberately nomadic. 2012-13 launches with 4 artistic exchanging productions by artists with Arabic roots, working in the common European space. The productions are proposed by the different partners in different fields of the arts:

Masculines: an international dance production directed by Héla Fattoumi (FR) and Eric Lamoureux (FR), directors of the CCNC/BN, about Orientalism an international dance production
Waiting: a research project curated by Mokhallad Rasem (BE)
Arabic-European Literary saloon: a literary production of Re:Orient (SE) and Moussem (BE)
I exist (in some way): a visual art production of LAAF and the bluecoat Liverpool (GB) and Moussem (BE) in partnership with Look 13, Liverpool’s international photography festival

All productions have to be seen also as a contemporary reflection on the European canon by artists with an extra-European (in this case North-African or Arabic) roots, living and/or working in the common European space. The target groups of are the cultural professionals, the general public and a new audience from communities with an extra-European background in Europe. These five productions will be disseminated in different European countries. Launching bridges between cultures, will add European art houses to establish a network for art(ists) with Arabic roots. Therefore we elaborate the platform for needs of European artists with Arabic background in their dialogue with the regular European art scene.

The reflection on the traditional Western canon makes, will offer the professionals an opportunity to build a more contemporary European identity, also taking account of new and old migratory flows. Working on a broader independent network with the productions, the sharing platform and the discussions on the selection of artists with extra-European cultural backgrounds to regular art institutions, the participation of these artists should increase significantly. The project also offers the general audience the same opportunity. In order to attract a new audience, the partners will work with community organisations like the Federation of Moroccan Associations in BE and the Liverpool Arabic Centre in GB.

For the trans-national artists 2012-13 is working with, the European space is daily live reality, even if some don’t have access to regular cultural institutions and art in general. Therefore will also establish a sharing platform for needs of European artists with Arabic background and for prospecting experiences in the Arabic world besides the research on  introducing artists from all different cultural backgrounds to the regular European Arts scene will be the longer-term result of this project of cultural cooperation.
The concluding conference will also be a first introduction for new members of a growing network that has as main objectives to widen and enforce trans-national mobility of art(ists) and intercultural dialogue creating identity and togetherness without frontiers in the European space, taking account of new and old migratory flows, by stimulating the participation of artists from different cultural background focussing on artists with Arabic roots in the arts. The reflection of these artists will also contribute to build an common identity of all European citizens. The project will build a constructive dialogue with partner organisations on the globalisation, internationalisation and interculturalisation of our society. For this we will try to establish a broader network to introduce a new (multi-annual) project in 2013.

Traduit de l'arabe
In 2011 the Nomadic arts centre Moussem (BE) launched the project with De Nieuw Amsterdam (NL), Compagnie Nacera Belaza (FR) and the Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival (GB) with the support of the European Commission. enables artists of Arabic origin to create with international perspective. Now there is the book and the film 'TRADUIT DE L'ARABE'.  Several of the finest and internationally best reputed authors and opinion makers delivered a contribution for this book. The multilingual book contains articles, essays, poems of Ahdaf Soueif, Abdelkader Benali, Gérard Mayen, Professor Gema Martin-Muñoz, Taha Adnan and Ramsey Nasr with an introduction of Mohamed Ikoubaân and closing remarks by Pascal Nicolas.  The film (30’) portrays Nacera Belaza, Sabri Saad El Hamus, the LAAF and Strange Fruit. 
Watch the movie 'Traduit de l'arabe' here.
The book 'Traduit de l'arabe' is also available online.