‘Outside the Box: Public Art in Qatar,’ will be a two-day public forum by British Council in partnership with Qatar Museums and Qatar Foundation.

Organised under the patronage of HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums, the forum will aim to initiate conversation that explores the history and present state of public art in Qatar whilst sharing common ground for future collaborations and interventions in the public realm. Curated with the UK arts organisation FutureEverything, the forum will include panel discussions, artists’ presentations, conversations, debates and participatory activities all exploring the meaning and role of art in ‘non-art’ domains. The aim of the forum is to help re-define and re-think art in the public realm, its audiences and role in mediating dialogue and changing perceptions of place. It will also share insights and best practice in inspiring future events and cross-sector collaboration.

Mrs Sam Ayton, Director British Council Qatar states, “Our work in the arts aims to mutually strengthen creative sectors and ensure better connections with the UK. Over the last 5 years we have been collaborating in the area of Art in the Public Realm in Qatar, particularly focusing on interactive and inclusive practices and how public art encourages participation and connection between communities and creates vibrant, creative cities: benefiting trade, investment and tourism. This year we are thrilled to be joining forces with Qatar Museum and Qatar Foundation to consider how we can extend this, innovate, reach new audiences, develop skills, and support livelihoods in this field.”

“Public Art is a platform for civic dialogue, it engages citizens in conversation and presents a new way to experience the city,” said Abdulrahman Al Ishaq, Head of Public Art at Qatar Museums. “Through our Public Art programme, Qatar Museums strives to create opportunities for people in the country to access art and culture, as they go about their daily lives. The programme also aims to inspire local talent and establish an organic connection between art and the local community. We are pleased to partner with the British Council and Qatar Foundation for this conference and look forward to exchanging ideas, expertise and aspirations for the future of arts and culture in Qatar.”

Hisham E. Nourin Executive Director of Strategy, Administration and Projects, Qatar Foundation, said: “Art is universal – it is all around us, in many forms and on many platforms, and it has the power to touch and enrich people’s lives. Engagement with art opens up new perspectives, sparks creativity, fosters cross-cultural understanding, and encourages us to explore its message and what it means to our lives and the world we live in today. As an organization dedicated to making art accessible to all and supporting Qatar in becoming hub of culture and the arts, Qatar Foundation is delighted to be partnering with the British Council and Qatar Museums for a forum that will examine what public art means, what it is and what it can be, and why it matters.”

The forum will bring together some of the most eminent thinkers and leading practitioners in the field to share ideas and practice, with a particular focus on case studies in Qatar, the wider MENA Region, the UK and Europe. Invited speakers will present and share a wide range of practices, from socially engaged work and activism, public art in the digital realm to developing and commissioning art for the public realm and social responsibility.

Participating speakers include: Abdulrahman Al Ishaq, Head of Public Art, Qatar Museums; Layla Ibrahim Bacha, Senior Art Specialist, Qatar Foundation, Nadim Karam, Artist, Ghada Al-Kater, Artist, Taghrid Choucair Vizoso, Producer, Shubbak Festival; Hiwa K, Artist; Aseel Al-Yaqoub, Artist; Charles Quick, Artist and Curator, University of Central Lancashire; Anita McKeown, SMARTlab Inclusive Design Research Centre, University College Dublin; Leon Palmer from Heinrich&Palmer, Artists; Sarah Collicott, Artscape Management Ltd; and many more.

In addition to the programme of talks, debates and presentations, the forum will include participatory sessions and workshops as well as opportunities for developing new networks and forging future collaborations. The forum will take place over two days with the day one hosted in the auditorium of the National Museum of Qatar and day two being located Qatar National Library. The forum is aimed at artists, architects, developers, policy makers, museum and cultural organisations, academics and commissioners and will have both English and Arabic translation services available.

Outside the Box: Public Art in Qatar has been generously supported by UCL, Qatar.

For full programme details please visit the British Council Qatar website at: https://www.britishcouncil.qa/en/public-art-forum-2020-outside-box

If you would like to attend, please register at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/outside-the-box-public-art-in-qatar-tickets-89587136537
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