Spring Festival 2016: From Beirut to Tunis
We approach the start of the 7th edition of Culture Resource’s flagship festival, SPRING, which celebrates art, culture, and diversity. This year, the festival expands both geographically and artistically as we welcome new countries on our expanding list of stages and prepare to offer our audiences cultures that range over a wide spectrum of arts. We, excitedly, return to Beirut for the 5th time, collaborating with the Cultural Cooperative Association for Youth in Theater and Cinema (SHAMS) on a program that brings artists from around the world to a diversity of venues and cities, including The Sunflower Theatre, Station, Beirut Art Center, Radio Beirut, Onomatopeia, Yukunkun, Metro al Madina, and Metropolis Empire Sofil in Beirut, and Empire Cinema Empire – The Spot Nabatiyyeh and Al Hamra Theatre (Istanbouli) in Tyre. Always in search of new adventures, we move Spring Festival out of Cairo to Tunis for the first time. Collaborating with our partners at Cinéma Théâtre Le Rio and El Hamra Theatre in Tunisia, our first edition there not only brings the Spring stage to Tunis and Kef, but expands the festival’s model with a new showcase that spotlights the local within the global. Additionally, and for the second time, we eagerly work with Kirkelig Kulturverksted to bring back showcase from their annual festival, REDZONE, to Spring.
Over the years, Culture Resources has worked towards developing Spring Festival into something beyond a festival—it is a platform that links audiences and artists, art and issues, the global stage with local stages, and people beyond the barriers of borders. This edition is especially interesting to and unique for us because as we expand our list of showcases to include two new showcases within the festival’s program that focus the spotlight on the achievements of the artists and organizations that have benefitted from Culture Resource programs over the years.
Building on the foundations set by the previous editions in offering a program that celebrates both accomplishment and diversity, this year’s artist lineup is as innovative as it is inspiring. Our month-long, which opens in Beirut on 28 April 2016 and runs in both Beirut and Tunis until 26 May 2016, features over 100 artists from different countries, including China, Lebanon, Kuwait, India, Mali, Iraq, Palestine, Switzerland, Tunisia, Algeria, Canada, Syria, Jordan and Portugal. The artistic program contains a diversity of arts and art forms, ranging from theatre and installation art to music and dance.
Follow the links below for more information.
We look forward to seeing you at Spring Festival 2016!!
Spring Festival Team
- SHOWCASES: TELLING STORIES THROUGH ART
- 2016 ARTISTS
- ROUNDTABLES AND PUBLIC DISCUSSIONS: ARTISTS AGAINST ALL ODDS
- SPRING IN BEIRUT
- SPRING IN TUNIS
- IN MEMORIUM
- OVERVIEW OF SPRING
SHOWCASES: TELLING STORIES THROUGH ART
Unique to this edition, the Festival introduces two new showcases to its program. The showcases that make up Spring reflect both conceptual and artistic diversity. They are:
////Main Program: Where the global meets the local
This program represents the ‘big event’ of the festival, introducing the creative, the eclectic and the global to Spring Festival audiences. As one of the few regional programs focused on connecting audiences with the global stage, this section of the Spring Festival emphasized the importance of cultural dialogue and collaborations.
Main program artists and info can be found here.
////Tazamon: Showcasing Culture Resource Artists
This is a new component for 2016 and arose from the need to promote artists supported through various Culture Resource programs. Over the past ten years, Culture Resource has worked to develop the regional independent arts scene through its diverse programs and services. As an extension of this development, Tazamon spotlights the exciting work of artists supported through the various grant programs.
Tazamon showcase artists and info can be found here.
/////Abbara: Showcasing Organizations
Taking place exclusively in Tunis, the Abbara showcase extends Spring’s focus to include the organizations that are part of the Culture Resource network. Abbara will feature cultural organizations that have had made outstanding artistic interventions in public spaces or that have produced art aimed at influencing positive social change and public well-being.
Abbara showcase artists and info can be found here.
In collaboration with Norway’s Kirkelig Kulturverksted (KKV), Redzone is a festival that “focuses on freedom of expression through the arts and emphasizes the ability of the arts to dig deeply into the darkness of oblivion and concealment in the history of mankind.” This year’s showcase continues with the theme of freedom of expression, drawing attention to the artists whose art focuses delve into this. Many of the artists in this showcase also highlight the idea of ‘overcoming barriers’ as both a common global theme and one that is especially relevant to the region. An interesting aspect of this showcase is the particular emphasis on the ideas of inclusion and dialogue to conquer the barriers that separate us.
Redzone showcase artists and info can be found here.
Over the years, Spring has become a destination option for international artists wanting regional exposure and interactions; at, the same time, it offers a space for audiences and artists, both, to discover the possibilities for cross-cultural exchanges, connections and collaborations. The artistic programming of SPRING focuses especially on reaching out to those artists who define art and lead change. As the unconventional meets the traditional, SPRING 2016 celebrates accomplishments and diversity as illustrated by the eclectic artist lineups. Covering a wide range of cultures, the art and artists joining Spring Festival 2016 including theatre from Kuwait; music from Turkey, Syria, Tunisia, Algeria, US, Portugal, Palestine, and Jordan; dance from India and China; films from Iraq, and installation art from Lebanon.
ROUNDTABLES AND PUBLIC DISCUSSIONS: ARTISTS AGAINST ALL ODDS
Increasing numbers of artists and culture workers are using art as a form of expression to support human rights and social justice objectives for their communities. In return, often they face physical violence, persecution, imprisonment and, at times, death. It has become crucial that organizations focusing on human rights, freedom of expression and culture collectively work together to ensure the safety of artists and cultural managers at risk, and the continuation of the important work they do for society.
For the first time in the Arab region, Culture Resource, in consultation with Artistsafety.net, is creating a platform within the Spring Festival program to bring together regional and international stakeholders concerned with the safety of artists and cultural professionals for a two-day closed,consultation meeting. Taking place in Beirut, Artists Against All Odds is an initiative that invites a wide range of arts and non-arts actors from Lebanon (as a starting focal point) and the Arab region with international actors, to share perspectives, information and resources necessary to create a local/regional safety net for artists and cultural communicators facing repression, persecution and human rights violations as a result of their work.
In tandem with the closed meetings, two public sessions have been organized to open the conversations to the general audience. The first is a panel discussion, Artists Against All Odds, on the challenges facing artists today and the initiatives available to help ensure their safety. The second event, Sound Syria, is a public talk with Tania el Khoury (LB), Lama Kabbanji (LB) and Sana Yazigi (SY) and which focuses on the telling of stories as a political act. The speakers, whether as artists or activists, use art to challenge the grand narratives imposed on people by oppressive regimes, counterrevolutionary forces and mainstream media.
Details about these events can be found here.
This year, SPRING Festival is dedicated to one of the great influencers in Arab culture and a pioneer of Tunisian theatre, Ezzedine Gannoun, who, sadly, passed away on 29 March 2015. Ganoun’s enduring relationship with theater began upon receiving his doctorate in theatre from the New Sorbonne University in 1980, after which, he formed the troupe, Al Masrah Al Odwaye (Organic Theater). In 1985, Gannoun transformed a collapsing Baroque-style cinema house into a lively hub for theatrical arts. He was the founder of the first Arab-African Theatrical Research and Training Center, which was established in 2001. He has written and directed numerous plays, and appeared in a number of Tunisian movie productions. While Ezzedine has received several awards from both national and international festivals, he is remembered fondly as both one of the founding members of Culture Resource and as a long-standing member of our artistic board.
OVERVIEW OF SPRING
Created in April 2004 to celebrate the launch of Culture Resource’s activities in the Arab region, SPRING has since, grown into a regional event that features a wide spectrum of international contemporary artists in music, theatre, dance, visual arts, cinema, and literature. The Festival represents an important opportunity for Culture Resource to create a meeting point for audiences and artists to engage with each other on important issues, like freedom and borders, and on art.