Ashkal Alwan: Home Works V

When 31 Dec 1969

Home Works V: A Forum on Cultural Practices

Press Release:

Home Works Forum is a multidisciplinary platform that takes place in Beirut, Lebanon about every other year. Since its inception in 2002, Home Works has evolved into one of the most vibrant platforms for research and exchange on cultural practices in the region and beyond. Artists, cultural practitioners, writers, and thinkers gather for ten days in order to share their works, which take the form of exhibitions, performances, lectures, videos, artists’ talks, workshops and publications. What links the forum’s participants together is their approach to a common set of urgent, timely questions. Their work endeavors to create methods of critical inquiry and aesthetic form capable of conveying those questions meaningfully and proposing possible solutions. The Home Works Forum is a productive space in which political, social, economic, and cultural realities can be explored, reflected, and made manifest as visual and verbal articulations that occur with some consistency.

First Discussion:

The disputed crisis of art education has been widely scrutinized, especially in Europe, over the last decade. Little debated, arts education in Lebanon needs careful examination and questioning keeping in mind the specificities of the local context. Despite several art degree-granting universities in Lebanon, the gap between what is being taught in academia and what is actually being practiced within the contemporary art scene is widening. However, this terrain hosts a continuous development of informal and experimental learning platforms: the city of Beirut is a sphere in which students, artists and professionals meet and exchange ideas in a constant process of everyday education. Individuals debate and seek new knowledge in relation to one another and within their surroundings. The theme ‘In and Out of Education … What Can We Teach Nowadays’ looks at the possibilities of reinventing and enhancing the specific ‘in and out’ situation of informal arts education in relation to Beirut. This theme also underlies an attempt to set up a new educational programme through Ashkal Alwan for Contemporary Arts – The Home Works Academy – which will use the city of Beirut and its wider context as its campus, its research topic, its platform and again the site from which ideas will sprout.

‘In and Out of Education…’ poses the question of how to develop an experiential approach to arts education, which not only offers a challenging and creative space within society but also responds to the city’s urgent questions and uses its wider context as its main curriculum. As part of this theme Ashkal Alwan will invite artists, thinkers and collectives who have actively engaged with artistic research and education to critically reflect on the question ‘What Can We Teach Nowadays’.

About the Organization:

Ashkal Alwan is a platform for the creation and exchange of artistic practices. As a non-profit, the association is committed to education, production, support and circulation of creative and intellectual endeavors rooted in an engagement with civil society.

The Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts, Ashkal Alwan was founded in 1994 by Christine Tohme (Curator), Marwan Rechmaoui (Artist), Rania Tabbara (Graphic Designer and Interior Designer), Mustapha Yamout (Cultural Events Organizer) and Leila Mroueh (Communications Director). Initially, Ashkal Alwan promoted and introduced the work of artists who have been engaged in critical art practices within the context of post-war Lebanon. The association was duly incorporated in Lebanon in compliance with the Lebanese Associations Law, and registered by the Lebanese Ministry of Interior on June 8th, 2006 under decree no. 249/ad. Ashkal Alwan continues its work through an emphasis on education.

For more information, please visit The Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts, at