The many crises in Turkey, the rise of right-wing Islamic populism and authoritarianism, the unprecedented exodus of intellectuals to Europe, and most recently, the restricted mobility and access to audiences under various governmental responses to the pandemic remind us that the borders of the very ideals of a peace-time, democratic, multicultural Europe are at stake. The silent process of exile from Turkey is still in motion while new artists are arriving from war-affected Ukraine; hence, the urgency to map out and evaluate its influence on institutions, on society, on inter-communitarian conflict, and on the history of consciousness shared by ‘the East’ and ‘the West’.
Taking the double perspective of ‘matter’ and ‘urgency’ as a departure point, we would like to bring issues of exilic life and theatre production to the table. Dr Pieter Verstraete will first briefly share results of his Marie Curie-project, “Exiled Lives on the Stage: Turkey’s Artists at the Crossroads of New Aesthetic Practices and Political Subjectivities” (acronym ‘ExiLives’), which he is currently conducting at the Institute of Theatre Studies of the Freie Universität Berlin. He will offer a mapping of supportive institutions, grants and networks, who supported artists at risk from Turkey in Germany, followed by recommendations for a more sustainable cultural policy regarding incoming artists from unsafe regions.
Then the floor will be opened to a comparative panel discussion with three theatre artists from Turkey, Mîrza Metîn, Memet Ali Alabora and Kawa Nemir, who due to personal risk are currently residing in Germany, U.K. and the Netherlands, respectively. We will discuss the response-ability of artists who had to flee from their country, their works vs the ‘exilic performative’, the urgency of being ‘uprooted’, and the relevance of artist residencies and support networks from a comparative perspective between Germany, Netherlands and the U.K.
Supported by a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Grant (No. 893827) in the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program of the European Union.
Memet Ali Alabora, Turkish film and theatre actor, director, civil rights and environmental activist, based in Cardiff, former president of Turkish Actor/Actress Union, co-founder of garajistanbul, creative director of b a k, co-founder of gather-in and Istanbul Elsewhere, https://www.memetalialabora.com/
Mîrza Metîn, Kurdish actor, director, author, based in Cologne, co-founder of Şermola Performans (Türkiye/Almanya), Kurdish Committee coordinator for Eurodram, founding editor of Dialog theater magazine, https://mirzametin.com/
Kawa Nemir, Kurdish poet, story writer, translator, editor, based in Amsterdam, former editor-in-chief of Kurdish literary-cultural magazines Jiyana Rewşen and Rewşen-Name, founder of publishing house Bajar, https://www.kurdilit.net/?p=2712&lang=en
Pieter Verstraete, Asst. Prof. (Arts, Culture and Media, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen) & Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow (Institut für Theaterwissenschaft, Freie Universität Berlin), managing editor (European Journal of Theatre and Performance), contemporary music theatre, sound/listening, protest, postmigrant theatre, and exile studies, email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org, https://pieterverstraete.com/