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4Cs: From Conflict to Conviviality through Creativity and Culture

A transnational project exploring how training and education in art and culture can reflect on, and respond to, conflict through audience participation and co-production.

At a glance

  • The consortium consists of eight institutional partners from Denmark, France, Germany, Lithuania, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK.
  • In 2018 the RCA and Delfina hosted Noor Abuarafeh as the UK’s 4Cs Artist-in-Residence.
  • In 2019 the RCA, The Showroom Gallery and Tate Britain partnered to convene a 4Cs creative workshop: This is No longer That Place: a public discussion.
  • In 2021 the RCA, partnering with Gasworks Gallery and Spike Island, will present the UK 4Cs exhibition of the work of Brooklyn-based filmmakers Adam Shingwak Khalil and Bayley Sweitzer.
  • In 2021 the RCA will host a UK film screening curated by the 4C’s film series curator, Azar Mahmoudian.
  • Published outputs include Noor Abuarafeh’s Art Book ‘Rumours Began Some Time Ago’ and the Workshop Handbook ‘This is No Longer That Place’, authored by Michaela Crimmin and Dr Peter Oakley.

4Cs logo

Creative Europe programme

Key details

Gallery

  • Oliver Ressler presenting at the 4Cs Workshop at The Showroom

    Oliver Ressler presenting at the 4Cs Workshop at The Showroom

    Photo: Dr Peter Oakley

  • Panel discussion during the 4Cs Workshop at the The Showroom

    Panel discussion during the 4Cs Workshop at the The Showroom

    Photo: Arturo Bandinelli

  • Richard Martin introducing the 4Cs Workshop evening session at Tate

    Richard Martin introducing the 4Cs Workshop evening session at Tate

    Photo: Dr Peter Oakley

  • Panel debate at the 4Cs Workshop evening session at Tate

    Panel debate at the 4Cs Workshop evening session at Tate

    Photo: Dr Peter Oakley

More information

4Cs partners

The RCA is collaborating with seven diverse academic and creative institutions across Europe: Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Lisbon (coordinator); Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm; SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin; Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona; Museet for Samtidskunst, Roskilde; Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, Paris; and Nida Art Colony, Vilnius Academy of Arts.

The European Commission has acknowledged that tackling the challenges of the refugee crisis, and threats to security and freedom of expression, is a European obligation that requires a comprehensive strategy and a determined effort. It has emphasised the role of culture and the arts in contributing towards building a more cohesive and open society.

4Cs’ core objectives are to:

  • promote an innovative reflection on the role of Europe in emerging forms of conflict
  • build a greater understanding of the value of involving culture and art organisations in the mediation of situations involving conflict
  • foster the exchange of knowledge and locating possible solutions in conflict-related research and activities
  • stimulate capacity building through career and professional development of skills, competences, know-how and good practices to prepare a new generation of cultural agents able to respond to the challenges of 21st century conflicts.

The RCA’s focus is on artists who are concerned with a colonial past which continues to be misunderstood and often misrepresented.

In response to the result of the UK referendum over EU membership, the research is positioned in direct relation to the current febrile divisions over Brexit, rising populism and nationalism, an increasingly hostile immigration system, and the UK’s changing relationship with Europe and the shifting world order.

Studio Visits in Sweden and Lithuania (2018)

The Curonian Spit

Michaela Crimmin, the UK Creative director for 4Cs, undertook two international studio visits. The first was to Tensta Konstall, northwest of Stockholm city centre. The second was to Nida Art Colony, located on the Curonian spit near the Kaliningrad border. During the visits Michaela met with artists working in Sweden or Lithuania whose interests related to the focus of the 4Cs project.

Staff Swop (2019)

Barcelona

The 4Cs programme includes ‘staff swops’, undertaken to facilitate transfer of skills and good practice in cultural management. Michaela Crimmin visited Fundació Antoni Tàpies in Barcelona during Errata, an exhibition and series of related cultural events co-curated by Ariella Aïsha Azoulay and Carles Guerra.

Artist Residency: Noor Abuarafeh (2018)

Noor Abuarafeh at Delfina Foundation, 2018 © Arturo Bandinelli

After an extensive selection process, advised by international artists and curators, Noor Abuarafeh was selected as the UK artist-in-residence and invited to London. A Palestinian artist living and working in Jerusalem, Abuarafeh questions how history is constructed, visualised, perceived, and understood; how all these elements are related to fact and fiction, including imagining the past when there are gaps in documentation. Her research in London focused on the whereabouts of works by Palestinian artists from exhibitions that took place in Europe in the last century, and particularly from an exhibition in 1919 held at the Imperial War Museum. Lost, overlooked, displaced, or hidden, these artworks and the process of finding them have acted as a metaphor for displaced and marginalised people, a constructive reclamation of history as an act of reconciliation, contextualising the present in the past. The Delfina Foundation hosted Noor’s residency. Hilary Roberts, Research Curator of Photography at the Imperial War Museums, and Jack Persekian, director of the Al-Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art in Jerusalem, both supported the residency.

One outcome of the residency was an art book entitled ‘Rumours Began Some Time Ago’, a response to the question ‘how can we document what is absent?’ The book includes an illustrated account of British involvement during the Mandate where civil servants sought to create a museum dedicated to Palestinian art and crafts in Jerusalem. It focuses particularly on the role of the ‘Pro Jerusalem Society’, established in 1917 by Sir Ronald Storrs, the then Military Governor of Jerusalem.

4Cs Workshop: This is No Longer That Place: a public discussion (5, 7 and 9 March 2019)

Professor Gurminder Bhambra at The Showroom, 7 March 2018 © Arturo Bandinelli

The workshop took place in the same month that the UK was due to leave the EU on 31 March 2019. It began with a screening of French-Moroccan artist Bouchra Khalili’s ‘The Tempest Society’, and the launch of her book by the same name, in a partnership between the RCA, The Showroom and Book Works. ‘The Tempest Society’ revisits Al Assifa, a politicised theatre group born out of the struggles of the Mouvement des Travailleurs Arabes (MTA), the situation of Palestine, anti-colonialism, and workers’ and immigrant labour rights.

Curated by Elvira Dyangani Ose (The Showroom), with Michaela Crimmin (RCA), and Richard Martin and Luisa Ulyett (Tate), the following two sessions, a one-day symposium held at The Showroom, and a concluding evening event held at Tate, were titled: 'This is No Longer that Place: a public discussion". Speakers and audience were asked to address the extent to which art can affect change when addressing issues of migration, displacement, and access. What is the capacity of artists and arts institutions to intervene in the current geopolitical climate? Gurminder Bhambra, professor of postcolonial and decolonial studies at the University of Sussex, gave the opening keynote addressing the inter-related subjects of national sovereignty, immigration laws, empire, racism, and dispossession. The artists and curators who followed included Kathrin Böhm, who talked about the artist-run pro-Remain campaign ‘Keep it complex – make it clear!’; Austrian artist Oliver Ressler who described projects which challenge racism and power structures; and Peruvian, Barcelona-based artist Daniela Ortiz, who took issue with the violence of migration and integration politics.

As part of the 4Cs project, the eight partners are each producing handbooks describing and reflecting on the delivery of a key 4Cs event they are managing. These will exist as stand-alone texts and collated into a joint 4Cs volume. The RCA team decided to focus on the Workshop for their contribution. The illustrated Workshop Handbook, This is No Longer That Place, written by Michaela Crimmin and Peter Oakley, was published online in July 2020.

Exhibition at Gasworks (April – June 2021), touring to Spike Island, Bristol (2021)

Adam Khalil and Bayley Sweitzer, Empty Metal, 2018. Film still. Courtesy of the artists and Prone Pictures

Taking place at Gasworks and then touring to Spike Island, Bristol, this will be the first UK solo exhibition by Brooklyn-based filmmakers Adam Shingwak Khalil and Bayley Sweitzer. Acclaimed for their science-fiction political thrillers set against a backdrop of racialised police brutality and mass surveillance, their films combine camcorder footage and pro-shot video, digital animation and drone imaging. Multiple sources and formats are woven together into a kaleidoscopic experience that subverts traditional forms of storytelling by engaging with indigenous worldviews, queer energies and minoritarian politics. Curated by Sabel Gabaldon, Gasworks, in association with Michaela Crimmin, RCA.

A free catalogue will be distributed during the exhibition.

Adam Shingwak Khalil is an artist and filmmaker from the Ojibway tribe born in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan; and Bayley Sweitzer is a filmmaker from Southern Vermont. Recent screenings include the Museum of Modern Art, Anthology Film Archives, e-flux (New York); Walker Arts Center (Minneapolis); LACMA (Los Angeles) and Tate Modern (London). Their works have also featured at the Whitney Biennial, Toronto Biennial and Sundance Film Festival.

Film Programme (2021)

Azar Mahmoudian is guest curating film screenings to take place in Spring 2021. These will be free and open to all.

Online Platform (2017-21)

4Cs online platform UK blog

All partners are contributing to the 4Cs website hosted by FCH|UCP, as well as posts via Instagram and Facebook.

4Cs 2017 conference presentation

4Cs Lisbon

Michaela Crimmin and Nina Power presented papers at Conviviality and the Institutional, a two day 4Cs conference held at the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology and at Universidade Católica Portuguesa in Lisbon, 4-5 December 2017.

4Cs UK Artist’s Residency

Rumours Began

This Is No Longer That Place: A Public Discussion

Held at The Showroom and Tate Britain on 7 and 8 March 2019.

This Is No Longer That Place, Workshop Handbook

4Cs RCA Workshop Handbook

A Handbook describing the development and delivery of the 4Cs Workshop held at The Showroom and Tate Britain, with reflections on developing and managing the event, authored by Michaela Crimmin and Dr Peter Oakley.

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Oliver Ressler presenting at the 4Cs Workshop at The Showroom

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