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Our book is out !

Creativity in a divided city - 2018

Table of contents
(click to enlarge)
Creativity in a divided city - 2018 - Table
Book available on the publisher website :
https://www.aspeditions.be/fr-be/book/cultural-creative-industries-in-brussels/16470.htm

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PowerPoint presentations – Symposium @ La Cambre Horta (ULB Flagey)

Here are the power-point of the presentations made during our Symposium “The diversity of work in the creative and cultural industries“.
(click on the images to access the document)

  • Jef Vlegels (VUB & UGent):Casting a long shadow: a quantitative overview of creative and cultural work in Brussels”

Capture d'écran 2018-12-11 11.42.47

  • Eva Swyngedouw (VUB): “Struggling with the creative labour market. An exploration of career barriers among urban cultural workers”

Capture d'écran 2018-12-11 11.43.25

  • François Rinschbergh (ULB & USL-B): “La ville créative d’en bas. Débrouille et émancipation des acteurs culturels émergents à Bruxelles”

Capture d'écran 2018-12-11 11.43.39

  • Sophie Alexandre (KFDA) and Leen De Spiegelaere (Met-X) (former representatives of the Réseau des Arts à Bruxelles/Brussels Kunstenoverleg (RAB/BKO) :Fragmentation of policies and impact on the functioning of cultural institutions and organizations

Capture d'écran 2018-12-11 11.43.10

And a special thanks too all the round table participants :
Round Table 4-12-18.jpgYassin Mrabtifi (chorégraphe et danseur, Ultima Vez / coach à Art2Work) ; Kristin Rogghe (cinéaste, vidéaste et dramaturge urbaine au KVS) ; Salim Haouach (comédien, metteur en scène et animateur, asbl Ras el Hanout) ; Dirk Seghers (coordination et programmation au Recyclart) ; Geert Cochez (deputy CEO de visit.brussels).


The research team : 

Jean-Louis Genard (ULB), Judith le Maire (ULB), François Rinschbergh (USL-B & ULB), Christine Schaut (USL-B), Eva Swyngedouw (VUB), Karel Vanhaesebrouck (ULB), Bas van Heur (VUB), Jef Vlegels (VUB & UGent) and Walter Ysebaert (VUB).

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Final research day @ La Cambre Horta (ULB Flagey), December 4, 2018

Invitation Symposium: “The diversity of work in the creative and cultural industries”

(voir plus bas pour la version française)

DiversityCCIilluContraste

We are happy to invite you on Tuesday the 4th of December 2018 to the Closing Symposium of the research project ‘The diversity of work in the creative and cultural industries’ funded by the Anticipate-program of Innoviris.

For nearly 4 years, an interdisciplinary team of researchers affiliated to six different research centers of the ULB, VUB and USL-B has been conducting research on the diversity of Brussels’ cultural and creative worlds. The aim of this collective research is to contribute to a better understanding of this broad field of study, to investigate the practices of its various actors (within different sectors) and to question the (mis)match between their needs and the responses provided by the (multiple) cultural policies that operate in the Brussels Region.

The closing symposium of our Innoviris project will be the perfect opportunity to present the main results of our research and to launch our edited volume on “creativity in the divided city of Brussels” (Urban Notebooks series of VUBPress, 2018). Affiliated with our Innoviris project, researchers funded through a Brussels Centre for Urban Studies Civil Society Fellowship will present the results of their research on cultural policy practices in Brussels. Finally, a round table discussion with representatives from the creative field – policymakers, cultural institutions, and artists – will close the event.

When:

Tuesday, the 4th of December 2018, from 13:30 until 18:00.

Where:

Auditoire Victor Bourgeois, ULB Faculté d’Architecture La Cambre Horta – Flagey 19

Registration:

Free, but registration is obligatory, before the 30th of November 2018 by using the registration form

Detailed schedule:

  • 13:30-13:45: Arrival and registration of participants
  • 13:45-14:00: Introductory word (in English) by Bas van Heur (VUB)
  • 14:00-15:30: Presentation (in English and French) of research findings by:
    • Jef Vlegels (VUB & UGent): “Casting a long shadow: a quantitative overview of creative and cultural work in Brussels”
    • Eva Swyngedouw (VUB): “Struggling with the creative labour market. An exploration of career barriers among urban cultural workers”
    • François Rinschbergh (ULB & USL-B): “La ville créative d’en bas. Débrouille et émancipation des acteurs culturels émergents à Bruxelles”
  • 15:30-16:00: Coffee Break
  • 16:00-16:30: Presentation of research results in the framework of the Brussels Centre for Urban Studies Civil Society Fellowship by:
    • Sophie Alexandre (KFDA) and Leen De Spiegelaere (Met-X) (former representatives of the Réseau des Arts à Bruxelles/Brussels Kunstenoverleg (RAB/BKO) : “Fragmentation of policies and impact on the functioning of cultural institutions and organizations
  • 16:30-17:30: Round table discussion moderated by Karel Vanhaesebrouck (ULB) and with invitees from the cultural and creative sector:
    • Geert Cochez (deputy CEO de visit.brussels)
    • Christelle Cornez (directrice de ILES asbl et du Centre
      d’entreprises la Lustrerie)
    • Rita De Graeve (adviseur Cultuur & Economie, Departement Cultuur, Jeugd en Media,  Vlaamse overheid)
    • Salim Haouach (comédien, metteur en scène et animateur, asbl Ras el Hanout)
    • Yassin Mrabtifi (chorégraphe et danseur, Ultima Vez / coach à Art2Work)
    • Kristin Rogghe (cinéaste, vidéaste et dramaturge urbaine au KVS)
    • Dirk Seghers (coordination et programmation au Recyclart)
  • 17:30-17:45: Concluding word (in French) by Jean-Louis Genard (ULB)
  • 17:45…: Reception

For more information about the main objectives of our project: https://workccsbrussel.wordpress.com

We hope that we have stimulated your interest for this afternoon of presentations and exchanges and would be pleased to meet you on this occasion.

Sincerely,

Researchers and research supervisors:

Jean-Louis Genard (ULB), Judith le Maire (ULB), François Rinschbergh (USL-B & ULB), Christine Schaut (USL-B), Eva Swyngedouw (VUB), Karel Vanhaesebrouck (ULB), Bas van Heur (VUB), Jef Vlegels (VUB & UGent) and Walter Ysebaert (VUB).

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Version française :

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Invitation au colloque de clôture de la recherche Innoviris : « The diversity of work in the creative ­­­­and cultural industries »

C’est avec grand plaisir que nous vous invitons le mardi 4 décembre 2018 au colloque de clôture de notre recherche sur la culture et la créativité intitulée « The Diversity of Work in the Creative and Cultural Industries » et financée par le programme Anticipate de l’organisme bruxellois de promotion de la recherche Innoviris.

Pendant près de 4 ans, une équipe interdisciplinaire de chercheur.e.s issu.e.s de l’ULB, l’USL-B et la VUB s’est intéressée de près à la diversité des univers culturels et créatifs de Bruxelles. L’ambition de cette recherche collective a été de contribuer à une meilleure connaissance de ce large domaine, d’enquêter sur les pratiques de ses divers acteurs (au sein de différents secteurs) ainsi que de questionner l’adéquation entre leurs besoins et les réponses apportées par les (multiples) politiques culturelles qui s’appliquent sur le territoire de la Région bruxelloise.

Le colloque de clôture de notre projet Innoviris sera l’occasion de présenter les principaux résultats de nos enquêtes et d’annoncer la publication d’un ouvrage coordonné par notre équipe et portant sur « la créativité » dans cette « ville divisée » qu’est Bruxelles (Cahiers Urbains de la VUBPress, 2018). Affiliés à notre projet Innoviris, des chercheures financées par une bourse (Civil Society Fellowship) du Brussels Centre for Urban Studies présenteront les résultats de leurs enquêtes sur les pratiques en matière de politiques culturelles à Bruxelles. Enfin, une table ronde rassemblant des représentants du domaine de la création bruxelloise – décideurs politiques, institutions culturelles et artistes – viendra clôturer l’événement.

Quand:

Mardi 4 décembre 2018, de 13h30 à 18h.

:

Auditoire Victor Bourgeois, Faculté d’Architecture La Cambre Horta, ULB – Flagey 19

Inscription:

Entrée libre, mais inscription obligatoire, avant le 30 novembre 2018, sur le formulaire d’inscription

Programme détaillé:

  • 13:30-13:45: Accueil et inscription des participants
  • 13:45-14:00: Mot d’introduction (en anglais) par Bas van Heur (VUB)
  • 14:00-15:30: Présentation (en anglais et français) des résultats de la recherche par
    • Jef Vlegels (VUB & UGent): “Casting a long shadow: a quantitative overview of creative and cultural work in Brussels”
    • Eva Swyngedouw (VUB): “Struggling with the creative labour market. An exploration of career barriers among urban cultural workers”
    • François Rinschbergh (ULB & USL-B): “La ville créative d’en bas. Débrouille et émancipation des acteurs culturels émergents à Bruxelles”
  • 15:30-16:00: Pause café
  • 16:00-16:30: Présentation des résultats de la recherche menée dans le cadre de la bourse Civil Society Fellowship du Brussels Centre for Urban Studies par
    • Sophie Alexandre (KFDA) et Leen De Spiegelaere (Met-X) (ex-représentantes du Réseau des Arts à Bruxelles/Brussels Kunstenoverleg (RAB/BKO)) : « Fragmentation des politiques et impact sur le fonctionnement des institutions et organisations culturelles »
  • 16:30-17:30: Table ronde animée par Karel Vanhaesebrouck (ULB) et en présence de
    • Geert Cochez (deputy CEO de visit.brussels)
    • Christelle Cornez (directrice de ILES asbl et du Centre
      d’entreprises la Lustrerie)
    • Rita De Graeve (adviseur Cultuur & Economie, Departement Cultuur, Jeugd en Media,  Vlaamse overheid)
    • Salim Haouach (comédien, metteur en scène et animateur, asbl Ras el Hanout)
    • Yassin Mrabtifi (chorégraphe et danseur, Ultima Vez / coach à Art2Work)
    • Kristin Rogghe (cinéaste, vidéaste et dramaturge urbaine au KVS)
    • Dirk Seghers (coordination et programmation au Recyclart)
  • 17:30-17:45: Mot de conclusion (en français) par Jean-Louis Genard (ULB)
  • 17:45…: Réception

Pour plus de détails à propos des objectifs de notre projet de recherche : https://workccsbrussel.wordpress.com.

Nous espérons vivement avoir suscité votre intérêt pour cet après-midi de présentations et d’échanges et serions heureux de vous rencontrer à cette occasion.

Cordialement,

Les chercheur.e.s et promoteur.e.s de la recherche :

Jean-Louis Genard (ULB), Judith le Maire (ULB), François Rinschbergh (USL-B & ULB), Christine Schaut (USL-B), Eva Swyngedouw (VUB), Karel Vanhaesebrouck (ULB), Bas van Heur (VUB), Jef Vlegels (VUB & UGent) et Walter Ysebaert (VUB).

ulbvubusl-b

rab-bkoperpective

innoviris

 

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Publication report on The Cultural and Creative Economy of Brussels

As part of a research project commissioned by the Brussels-Capital region, the research unit Data and Policy recently has now completed a report on the Cultural and Creative (CC) Economy of Brussels.

The economic value of the CC economy in Brussels has remained largely unexplored until now. Previous studies of the creative economies of Flanders and Wallonia have included Brussels to different extents, but did not aim to specifically describe the situation in our capital. This new VUB study describes the CC economy in the BCR using macro-economic indicators, and compares Brussels to the other regions in Belgium using these indicators.

We focus on the number of companies, turnover, value added and employment. Furthermore, we explore the development of these indicators over time, the CC economy’s decomposition into sectors, as well as its geographical distribution. The study contributes to the understanding of the regional Cultural and Creative economy. It is meant to become a strategic tool for local and regional authorities and a benchmark for Brussels’s Cultural and Creative community.

We hope that some of the results might be interesting for you as a researcher, or as a person professionally involved in the CCIs of Brussels.

For more information, suggestions, or if you’d like a printed version of the report don’t hesitate to contact us!

Brief history of our activities & future agenda

Our project on the cultural and creative sector of Brussels is still running according to plan! We have started two and a half years ago and are getting a better understanding of this rich and diverse universe of cultural work on an everyday base. Here is a brief overview of our activities of last year and some information about our next steps.

Between our stimulating team meetings and the collective activities we organized – like our participation in the Anticipate Symposium organized by Innoviris (you can see our posters here), or the workshop we organized last December) – each of the researcher have been involved in related activities as well:

Eva Swyngedouw pursues her qualitative study of the working conditions and careers of the cultural and creative workers within the performance arts sector and the sector of architecture.
She is currently organizing a panel on “creative cities and inequality” (with Kobe De Keere (University of Amsterdam)) at “de dag van de sociologie” on the 8th of June 2017 at the VUB. Connected to this event, she is also co-editing a special issue of sociologies with Kobe De Keere entitled “Creatieve steden en ongelijkheid. Het gebruik van cultuur in de stedelijke ontwikkeling van Brussel en Amsterdam.”
In August, Eva will present her paper “researching the ‘backstage’ of the creative industries. The socio-economic polarization within the performance arts of Brussels” at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Montreal.

Jef Vlegels, continues to work on his quantitative analysis, mapping the diversity of work in the cultural and creative industries. In the first phase of the project, he has been collecting data from secondary official datasets, as well as conducting our own quantitative survey in three subsectors of the CCS in Brussels. At the moment, Jef finished, together with his colleague Caterina Mauri, a first report on these secondary datasets focusing on the economic impact of the sector in Brussels (more on this in the next update on our website). Furthermore, he’s been working on a book chapter on describing the cultural and creative workforce of Brussels, an article on the creative trident and an article on the cultural and creative policy of Brussels. He has presented his work recently at the Dag van de Sociologie 2017, and has disseminated our results and conclusions so far at several occasions, i.e. during his activities as a founding member of the Creative and Cultural Think Tank.

François Rinschbergh follows up on his qualitative study of the emerging and informal cultural and creative activities focused on the historically working class and immigrant districts of Brussels and he made different presentations of his research at the University Saint-Louis-Brussels and ULB :
A year ago, he talked about the beginning of his field research and had stimulating discussions at the seminar of the Centre d’Etudes Sociologiques (CES).
As part of the study days organized by IRIB (Institut de Recherches Interdisciplinaires sur Bruxelles) in may 2016, he organized a field visit in Molenbeek to meet an original cultural project run by a company of young theatre comedians. Recently (in may 2017), he presented and discussed his fieldwork with J. Mazzocchetti, an anthropologist from the UCL, at the Midi de l’lRIB organized at the University Saint-Louis.
At ULB, he presented his work to the seminar of his other research centre sASHa. He also has been involved in a project organized in collaboration between ULB and the newspaper “Le Soir” and titled “Carnets d’identités”. You can read online the result of his interview : “Entre-soi: la réponse du secteur culturel”. A few weeks ago, François participated to the study days “Bruxelles en recherches” organized by the LIEU (Laboratoire de Recherche interdisciplinaire en Etudes urbaines), the MSH (Maison des Sciences humaines) and the BSI (Brussels Studies Institute) at the ULB faculty of Architecture La Cambre Horta.

Future plans: Our book on the Creative and Cultural sector in Brussels

After the workshop we organized in December 2016, we plan to publish a book (Urban Notebooks, VUB Press). Our ambition is to bring together the results of different ongoing and finished research projects on the Brussels cultural and creative world. Contributions will tackle different issues like the precarious working conditions in the creative industry, the cultural diversity of Brussels, the contemporary art scene in Brussels, the circulation of the idea of “creativity” in town planning, and the link between culture, social cohesion and urban development. The book publication is planned for the end of 2017/early 2018.

Workshop: Understanding Culture and Creativity in Brussels: Is Brussels the New Berlin?

PROGRAM: Thursday December 8th, 2016

9:00–9:30 Research Day welcome coffee
9:30–9:40 Introduction
 

 

9:40–11:10

 

 

The Diversity of Work in the Creative and Cultural Industries: Making it Work for Brussels.”

François Rinschbergh, CES, USL-B; CLARA, ULB; Eva Swyngedouw, Cosmopolis, VUB; ULB; Jef Vlegels, Research Unit Data and Policy, VUB

“The media industry and its regional dynamics in the Brussels Region.”

Marlen Komorowski, Iminds-SMIT, VUB; Victor Wiard, ReSic, ULB; Sylvain Plazy, PReCoM, USL-B

11:10-11:30 Coffee Break
11:30-12:30 “L’urbanisme ludique: susciter la créativité par le jeu.”

Sophie Hubaut, CLARA, ULB.

“Ressorts institutionnels du milieu artistique subsaharien à Bruxelles.”

Véronique Clette-Gakuba, METICES, ULB.

12:30-13:15 Lunch
13:15-14:45 Artistic Labor and Precarity: Lessons from the Brussels Contemporary Dance Scene.

Annelies Van Assche; S:PAM, Ghent University; CeSo, KULeuven

“Bruxelles «à la mode», Bruxelles et la mode: Capital symbolique surexposé, travail précaire invisibilisé.”

Giulia Mensitieri, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales

“Du méli-mélo à la créativité : Comment, dans la pratique, les opérateurs culturels bruxellois intègrent-ils la complexité institutionelle et la diversité de la societé?”

Sophie Alexandre RAB/BKO; Leen De Spiegelaere, RAB/BKO

14:45-15:10 Coffee Break
15:10-16:40 “Evolution de la relation entre un équipement culturel et son territoire. Le cas du Centre d’art contemporain WIELS, à Forest (Bruxelles).”

Simon Debersaques, IGEAT, Metrolab, ULB.

“Bruxelles, le nouveau Berlin ? Confrontation de la métropole culturelle bruxelloise au « modèle berlinois »”

Tatiana Debroux, IGEAT, ULB & ENS Paris; Boris Grésillon, Centre Marc Bloch; Humboldt Univ. Berlin

“Le dialogue entre les opérateurs de l’art contemporain à Bruxelles: perceptions et perspectives.”

Emilie Garcia Guillen, Gestion Culturelle, ULB; Anne-Sophie Radermecker, Gestion Culturelle, ULB

16:40-17:30 Reception

LOCATION

Royal Sky Room 1, Royal library of Belgium, Mont des Arts, 1000 Brussels

REGISTRATION

Register before December 1st 2016 by filling out this form:

https://goo.gl/forms/NT01KZgWnZRwnc0u2

 

ORGANIZING COMITEE

Prof. Jean-Louis Genard, ULB; Prof. Judith le Maire, ULB; François Rinschbergh, USL-B & ULB; Prof. Christine Schaut, USL-B; Dr. Eva Swyngedouw, VUB & ULB; Prof. Karel Vanhaesebrouck, ULB; Prof. Bas Van Heur, VUB; Dr. Jef Vlegels, VUB; Prof. Walter Ysebaert, VUB

WORKSHOP: ‘UNDERSTANDING CULTURE AND CREATIVITY IN BRUSSELS: IS BRUSSELS THE NEW BERLIN?’

1.     Call

In the last decade, the cultural and creative sector[1] has been a central topic on the agenda of researchers and policy makers alike. Undoubtedly, this sector has undergone significant changes under the influence of new economic realities, globalization and technological (r)evolutions. The creative workforce has changed with it and has arguably become more hybrid, flexible and easily adaptable to the current economic conditions. The evaluation of the outcomes of these changes, however, are much more debated. Some argue that the sector has responded exceptionally well to the opportunities and challenges of recent changes in our society, resulting in a growing creative workforce, in the development of innovative start-ups and in the creation of cultural and artistic infrastructures that facilitate urban regeneration, increase the attractiveness of cities and improves the social mobility of its residents. Others take a more critical position and point to the precarious working conditions, to the growing inequalities in terms of ethnicity, gender and class, to gentrification issues that such a development model might generate and to other potential harmful social, economic and political consequences of the ongoing process of neoliberalization.

Brussels is a particularly interesting case study in this regard because the city seems to have become an attraction pole for international artists and ‘creative’ people. The New York Times recently stated that “there’s a huge drive to make Brussels the new Berlin” and numerous cultural and creative projects emerge on a daily basis in different neighborhoods around the city. Also, the divided institutional structure of the Brussels-Capital Region makes that municipalities, communities, regions and the federal government all have some sort of competence relevant for the cultural and creative sector. This creates a complex landscape of cultural policy actors that is almost impossible to navigate. Nevertheless, local policy makers do not hesitate to announce publicly the importance of a blooming cultural and creative sector for Brussels.

In this workshop, we want to bring together academics and other professionals that do research on the cultural and/or creative sector of Brussels and who use a variety of quantitative (survey, secondary data analysis, network analysis, …) and qualitative (ethnography, archival research, (biographical) interviewing, …) methods. Broadly speaking, we are interested in state of the art research that covers culture and/or creativity. The empirical data should at least partly deal with Brussels.  The main goal of this workshop is to give the opportunity to researchers in a wide range of scientific disciplines to present their research on the cultural and creative sector of the Brussels-Capital Region and to give them the opportunity to interact with colleagues involved in similar research projects in Brussels.

We are particularly interested in research that focuses on:

  • The economic and/or social impact of the cultural and creative sector
  • Creative careers, work conditions and artistic work practices
  • Diversity – in terms of ethnicity, gender, class – within the creative sector
  • Multilevel governance and cultural policy
  • The role of the cultural and creative sector in urban development
  • The territorial and infrastructural dimensions of the creative sector in Brussels

But other topics can be addressed as well.

2.     submission guidelines

Abstract (500 words)

Interested researchers are invited to submit an abstract before the 7th of October, 20:00h to jef.vlegels@vub.ac.be and eva.swyngedouw@vub.ac.be. When submitting your abstract, please limit yourself to 500 words. Abstracts should preferably contain an introduction, a research question, and a methods and results section. It can be submitted in French, Dutch or English. We will invite speakers to give a 20-minute presentation. The invitations will be based on an evaluation of their abstract and will be send by the 20th of October.

Short paper (3000 words)

In addition to this short abstract, researchers who are invited to attend the workshop are expected to hand in a short paper limited to 3000 words by the 18th of November. This text will complement their presentation and will be used to select chapters for the edited volume.

Edited volume

We will invite a selection of researchers to contribute a chapter to a volume we are co-editing and which we are planning to publish as a peer-reviewed book. Authors to be invited for publication will be chosen based on a review of their extended abstract and their workshop presentation.
The edited volume is intended to act as a compendium of state of the art research on the cultural and/or creative sector within the Brussels-Capital Region. We want to bring together contributions from an interdisciplinary team of researchers to gain a better understanding of the cultural and creative sector in Brussels.

3.     Important dates

 

  • Seminar: 8 December 2016
  • Deadline abstract submission: 7/10/2016
  • Decision on abstract submission: 20/10/2016
  • Deadline short paper: 18/11/2016

4.     Scientific committee and organizers

This workshop is organized by the research team of an Innoviris Anticipate research project entitled ‘The diversity of work in the cultural and creative industries: making it work for Brussels’. For more information on the project, please visit https://workccsbrussel.wordpress.com and subscribe to the newsletter to stay informed.

The research team involves researchers from the three different universities in Brussels (ULB, USL-B and VUB):

Prof. Jean-Louis Genard, jgenard@ulb.ac.be, ULB
Prof. Judith le Maire, judith.le.maire@ulb.ac.be, ULB
François Rinschbergh, francois.rinschbergh@usaintlouis.be, USL-B & ULB
Prof. Christine Schaut, christine.schaut@usaintlouis.be, USL-B
Dr. Eva Swyngedouw, eva.swyngedouw@vub.ac.be, VUB & ULB
Prof. Karel Vanhaesebrouck, kavhaese@ulb.ac.be, ULB
Prof. Bas Van Heur, bvheur@vub.ac.be, VUB
Dr. Jef Vlegels, jef.vlegels@vub.ac.be, VUB
Prof. Walter Ysebaert, walter.ysebaert@vub.ac.be, VUB
 

[1] This sector mainly covers the activities of the cultural sector (visual arts, performing arts and heritage), cultural industries (media, audiovisual, video games, music, publishing), creative industries and activities (design, architecture and advertising).

Ethnographic field note. Attending the research day ‘Mind the Gap’ on Diversity and Education.

On a Friday in May, I attended the Mind the gap research day on diversity and education at a Dutch-speaking Brussels school of art. The day started with a performance of Ben Benaouisse, a performance artist. The end of his performance drew my attention the most: When Ben started to read his curriculum vitae to the audience of mainly white women, some white men, a couple of Moroccan-Belgian men and a handful of mixed-race alumni of the school. He summed up his many accomplishments during his life, but he ended with “I am not a stranger, but a stranger-in-the-making. I hope to once become a stranger.”

With his performance the artist demonstrates to the audience that he is so much more than the unidimensional ethnic label the audience often places on him. By naming his accomplishments as an artist, he shows that he is an artist first and foremost and that his career is what he wants to be accounted for in the first place. He does not feel like a stranger himself; other people are the ones who make him aware of his otherness.

Next, the director of Moussem, Mohammed Ikoubaan, takes the parole. He starts with joking that he and Ben Benaouisse have something in common: “we both learned Dutch in Ghent.” Again, Mohammed who is born in Morocco does not mention their shared Moroccan heritage, but instead he alludes to the languages they have in common. The main thing I took away from Mohammed’s talk is that he thinks that the reason that migrants do not end up in art schools is mainly a result of the social class in which they grow up. Many migrants come from a working-class background and are predominantly encouraged to become lawyer or engineer instead of an artist. As long as the social conditions do not change, nothing will change he seems to suggest.

Furthermore, he is not a proponent of integrating urban arts into the official arts circuit because the urban artists would lose all credibility with their audience. “The public then becomes white and middle class. This is not the way to go forward”, he argues, “there are other ways.” One of the solutions he believes in is to inject ‘other’ stories with different contents (other canons) in the art world and to broaden the communal arts patrimony. Furthermore, he thinks it is time that “Moroccan artists should be able to play Shakespeare.” He states that today it is still not possible to do that for any Moroccan artist. The plays that Moroccan artists are asked for “always have to deal with Jihad or something like that.”

Finally, a couple of mixed-race alumni are asked to the front of the room to talk about their experiences as a person of color in their school career. In general, none of them have experienced any problems and hindrances regarding their color. Samira goes as far to say that “this is the first time I ever got confronted with my otherness.” Samisha, who recently published a comic book, tells us she thinks that gender issues are far more prominent in the comic book world than issues of ‘diversity’. But she adds that she dislikes it when people label her comic book as exotic. When her comic book got published, she explicitly did not want to partake in the discourse on “it is a book from black people for black people.” So, sometimes the students are confronted with their otherness even though they themselves never think of their otherness. When Veronique, for instance, was told her art work looked very African, she became angry. Although she does not realize it, the venues and events she tells us she got asked to perform could be considered as part of the world music or the development circuit: The Sfinks festival, Couleur café, a campaign for 11.11.11 and ‘Broederlijk Delen’. Whether they want it or not, artists of color often seem to end up in this circuit. Sammy is upset he got asked in the first place to participate in a research day on diversity. Instead of being asked as an artist, he is asked as the guy from a “different ethnic background”. “I find it very sad that I was not asked to talk about my work.” He asks the organizers “what am I doing here? Tell me why I am sitting here? Everybody does have an ethnic background, no?” The organizer, the diversity coordinator, tells him they are interested to hear people from a ‘diverse background.’ “Diversity”, Sammy replies ironic, “My work is diverse: I use diverse media and I have done diverse jobs.”

In general, the alumni agree that they are not the ones that should have been invited. They have never experienced any hindrances in their school careers and thereafter. Veronique thinks of herself as “a bad example” because she has never felt any racial barriers in her career. The people who should have been asked to present at the research day are the people who did not make it to art school in the first place. These are the people that need the researcher’s and the larger society’s attention.

Veronique also points to another interesting insight into artists’ careers. She explains that the people of her cohort who graduated successfully were the ones who were already studying at Luca school of arts in high school where “they learned to push through and learned to handle the freedom of the education”. This demonstrates that it is important for artists to learn the artistic codes and behavioral rules of a cultural institution early on in order to be successful.