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What do we need to know about the MENA region today?

Tina Sherwell
1 June 2011

One of the important developments required in the region is the expansion of a critical discourse on local artistic practices. It is crucial to gain an in-depth understanding of the various generations of art practitioners, through detailed studies of their work in relation to the relevant contexts and debates. Research grants and publication opportunities would benefit this field, in which work is currently being done but which requires greater support structures.

Supporting research would provide an academic understanding of local art production outside the art market, which currently dominates the way art is made and understood in the region. MENA would also greatly benefit from an increased number of research grants for artists which would support the production of their work, as well as the development of their practices – and these grants need to be available to artists from all generations and at whatever stage of their careers.

Tina Sherwell

Dr Tina Sherwell lives in Jerusalem. She graduated from Goldsmiths' College, London in Textiles and Critical Theory and received her Ph.D. from the University of Kent at Canterbury in Image Studies. She is currently the Director of Academic Programmes at The International Academy of Art Palestine. Previously Dr Sherwell was Programme Leader of Fine Art at Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton. and was also Executive Director of the Virtual Gallery at Birzeit University. She is also the author of various texts on Palestinian art published in catalogues, journals and books, including a monograph on Sliman Mansour for which she was also the curator of the retrospective Exhibition: Terrains of Belonging in 2011.

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A platform is a space for speaking in public. It is an opportunity to express ideas and thoughts. It also suggests the formal declaration of a stance or position on any given subject.

Unique to Ibraaz is a 'platform', a question put to writers, thinkers and artists about an issue relevant to the MENA region. This platform is sent to respondents both within and beyond the MENA region and contributions will be archived every 12 months.