PhD student within the Art History Department and the multidisciplinary research program Engaging Vulnerability.
Meryem Saadi is a journalist and curator-producer from Morocco, currently based in Sweden. Her work explores the intersections that exist between contemporary art, architecture, social conflicts and political instability.
Before relocating to Sweden in 2017 to pursue a Master’s in Art Curating at Stockholm University and then a post-course in Decolonizing Architecture at the Royal Institute of Art, she worked at the National Foundation of Moroccan Museums (Fondation Nationale des Musées du Maroc), and collaborated with the Moroccan weekly magazine TelQuel. She is currently a PhD student at Uppsala University within the Art History Department and the multidisciplinary research program Engaging Vulnerability.
Re-thinking vulnerability: What we can learn from small artist-run organizations in rural Sweden
In the last decade, several small art organizations emerged in rural Sweden. Most of them have been founded by artists and art workers in areas where there were previously no galleries or museums displaying contemporary art. Inspired by decolonial, feminist and activist practices, most of these new initiatives are self-organized, non-hierarchical and work in collective, sustainable and cross-disciplinary ways that are not common among museums and other art state-funded institutions in Sweden.
Despite their limited resources and the lack of pre-established audiences and art infrastructures in their localities, most of these artist-run organizations managed to develop interesting strategies, tools, and forms of working with contemporary art and artists. Taking place most of the time outside “the white cube” that dominates in urban art institutions and commercial galleries, their experimental practices do not place the artwork at the center of the artistic enquiry but focus instead on long-term, collective projects that are research-based, site-specific and open-ended. Through their work, they often blur the lines between contemporary art and the everyday, art and activism or between art and the social.
Meryem Saadi's research project will investigate what these organizations have learned from their state of vulnerability. How did they use it, or reach beyond it, to produce experimental artistic and curatorial methodologies and practices? How can this knowledge be formulated in order to be shared with others, both inside and outside the art world?
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