PhD student within the Art History Department and the multidisciplinary research program Engaging Vulnerability.
Meryem Saadi is an art curator and researcher from Morocco based in Sweden.
Before relocating to Sweden in 2017 to pursue a Master’s in Art Curating at Stockholm University and then a post-course in Decolonizing Architecture at the Royal Institute of Art, she worked at the National Foundation of Moroccan Museums (Fondation Nationale des Musées du Maroc). She also has a background as a cultural journalist and regularly wrote articles for various Moroccan publications for over ten years.
Negotiating vulnerability: Small artist-run initiatives in rural Sweden
In the last decade, several small art organizations emerged in rural Sweden. Most of them have been founded by artists and art workers in areas where there were previously no galleries or museums displaying contemporary art. Inspired by decolonial, feminist and activist practices, most of these new initiatives are self-organized, non-hierarchical and work in collective, sustainable and cross-disciplinary ways that are not common among museums and other art state-funded institutions in Sweden.
Despite their limited resources and the lack of pre-established audiences and art infrastructures in their localities, most of these artist-run organizations managed to develop interesting strategies, tools, and forms of working with contemporary art and artists. Taking place most of the time outside “the white cube” that dominates in urban art institutions and commercial galleries, their experimental practices do not place the artwork at the centre of the artistic enquiry but focus instead on long-term, collective projects that are research-based, site-specific and open-ended. Through their work, they often blur the lines between contemporary art and the everyday, art and activism or between art and the social.
Meryem Saadi's research project will investigate what these organizations have learned from their state of vulnerability. How did they use or reach beyond it to produce experimental artistic and curatorial methodologies and practices? How can this knowledge be formulated in order to be shared with others, both inside and outside the art world?
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