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Artschool palestine
UK and Palestine Collaboration
Today’s art schools are usually expected to provide teaching and technical facilities, studio and workshop spaces, access to materials and a structure for critical analysis of students’ work. For artists in Palestine there exist however real physical limitations - exhibition openings, artist exchanges and debates are rare and localised as most artists are not able to travel far from their home or place of work. As such, it is difficult for Palestinian artists to engage with the international art community, so a new approach has been taken to open up the dialogue: ArtSchool Palestine, a virtual forum that allows these networks and critical discussions to develop alongside showing new art from the region. All practices - a workshop for young people in Gaza, a cultural debate at university level, an exhibition among Palestinian communities in Israel or elsewhere - are represented within ArtSchool Palestine.

In August 2004, representatives from London made an intensive study visit to Palestine, meeting artists, academics and cultural contacts in Ramallah, Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Gaza to engage them in a dialogue and stimulate a sense of shared ownership for the project. With the site launch in January 2005, all are invited to take part in its development. Content includes a library containing resource and archive material, listings, photographs and reviews of exhibitions and events, and links to academic institutions providing theoretical and historical art courses. An editorial team divided between the UK and Palestine is commissioning and repurposing international features in English and Arabic highlighting current debates in art and Palestine. Maps are an important part of the site and real exchanges between Palestinian and artists from other countries will be organised and documented, alongside residency and mentoring programmes. Although never intending to be a physical academy of any sort, the site carries with it a naïve but nonetheless classical sense of hope. It provides a formal framework for practical help and a platform for critical debates. It is a conceptual space in which everything can be reflected and projected.

ArtSchool Palestine is an initiative founded by like-minded individuals from the UK and Palestine, with support from Visiting Arts, Charles Asprey and Sacha Craddock, the Qattan Foundation, the British Council and the Arts Council.

Further information please visit www.artschoolpalestine.com

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