The project "Alexandria: (re)activating common urban imaginaries" (ALEX) aims to take a fresh look at the many challenges faced by the arts and heritage sectors, through the historic and contemporaneous prisms of the city of Alexandria, Egypt and its influence on urban imaginaries in the Mediterranean region and beyond.

The ALEX project will consist in nomadic artistic residencies between Egypt and Europe; the staging of exhibitions in the cities of Marseille and Brussels; as well as the organisation of professional seminars and public forums taking place across different localities.

By fostering artistic and cultural modes of engagement, the ALEX project aims to examine Alexandria’s contested urban heritage, which remains insufficiently explored. It is also committed to facilitating the mobility of artists and cultural practitioners interested in comparative interpretations of the social and urban processes that have and continue to shape and structure European and Mediterranean cities, as well as creating room for scientific and historical methodologies that allow participants to articulate and shed light on shared narratives and relationalities.  

The ALEX project thus invites artists, cultural practitioners, activists, scientists as well as members of the public to reflect on heritage and cultural production between the north and south of the Mediterranean as it probes broader questions around what constitutes a city and its imaginary today.

The project, supported by the European Union's Creative Europe programme, draws on the resources of eight main partners: the Royal Museum of Mariemont (Morlanwelz, Belgium), the Palais des Beaux-Arts "BOZAR" (Brussels), Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto (Biella, Italy), the Museum of the Civilisations of Europe and the Mediterranean "MUCEM" (Marseille, France), the Onassis Stegi (Athens, Greece), the University of Leiden (the Netherlands), the Kunsthall of Aarhus (Denmark) and the Undo Point Contemporary Art Centre (Nicosia, Cyprus).
In addition, the project benefits from the support of associated partners contributing to its success elsewhere in Europe and in Egypt: the French Institute of Alexandria (Egypt) and Theatrum Mundi (United Kingdom).

The project takes its first steps by organizing two fully-funded residency cycles, which will evolve independently but which will encounter each other at various moments during the project:

  • The Caravan Residency Program: Thinking with Alexandria conceived and realized by UNIDEE residency programs at Cittadellarte - Fondazione Pistoletto in Italy and curated together with Edwin Nasr and in conversation with Sarah Rifky. The Caravan Residency Program will host sixteen residents as part of a yearlong residency taking place in Biella and Alexandria - as well as in Athens, Brussels, Marseille, or Nicosia, depending on participants’ individual choices. The residency approaches Alexandria as many cities throughout time, shaped by the historic tensions of imperial and emancipatory forces. It solicits artistic practices seeking to engage with the colonial legacies that animate contemporary systems of governance, and invites participants that engage with archival research, knowledge production, placemaking, and/or social engagement to exercise and toy with ways and methods of worldmaking.
  • The Politics of Heritage - School for Sonic Memory Residency,  organised by Onassis Stegi and Theatrum Mundi, is a pluri-disciplinary nomadic residency program exploring sound, memory and trans-Mediterranean resonances. The call is aimed at anyone engaged in the study, protection or production of collective urban memory - in the form of built heritage, soundscape, music, stories, social and political practice, with sound as a primary medium of research. Together, and in collaboration with local artists, urbanists and researchers, the participants will form a ‘school’ for sonic memory, investigating the ways that three cities across the mediterranean (Athens, Alexandria & Marseille) resonate with one another, how elements of a connected and conflictual past are made audible within them.


The program covers travel, accommodation and meals. Participants will receive €3,000 fee, payable in accordance to international and local laws. Additionally, each artist will have a budget of up to € 500 to cover the production costs of their final projects.


The deadline to apply to both is May 30, 2021.


Prospective residents can apply for both residencies but will only be accepted to one.

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