The heritage of the Mediterranean city, remains insufficiently explored and understood. By facilitating the mobility of artists interested in comparatively interpreting the current urban fabric in European cities and Alexandria, while questioning existing perception through a scientific and historical awareness-raising approach, the project intends to give a voice to innovative reflections on the relationships established between creation, culture, heritage, and the development of the modern Mediterranean and European metropolis.
Organised with the support of the European Union's Creative Europe programme, the project 'Alexandria: (Re)activating Common Urban Imaginaries' (ALEX) aims to take a fresh look at the relation between arts, heritage and urban life in the Mediterranean and in Europe, through the prism of the antic and modern cities of Alexandria, their creativity and cosmopolitanism.
To do so, it relies on several tools shedding new lights on both Ptolemaic Alexandria and contemporary creativity: the setting up of nomadic artistic residencies between Egypt and Europe, the co-production of exhibitions in the cities of Marseille and Brussels, and Europe-wide forums and showcases staging contemporary creations in both northern and southern shores of the Mediterranean.
Based on these experiences, the project will also be an opportunity for partners, cultural sector stakeholders, researchers and public decision-makers, to try and build a collective knowledge aiming at enriching the state of the art of heritage and cultural practices and policies in Europe and Mediterranean cities.
Conceived as an enabler for European and Mediterranean cooperation, ALEX will run from 1 November 2020 to 31 December 2023.
The project draws on the resources of eight main partners:
- the Museum of the Civilisations of Europe and the Mediterranean 'Mucem' (France)
- the University of Leiden (the Netherlands)
- Kunsthal Aarhus (Denmark)
- the Undo Point Contemporary Art centre (Cyprus)
- the Royal Museum of Mariemont (Belgium)
- Bozar - Centre for Fine Arts Brussels (Belgium)
- Onassis Stegi (Greece)
- the Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto (Italy)
In addition, the project benefits from the support of associated partners contributing to its success elsewhere in Europe and in Egypt:
- Theatrum Mundi (France - United Kingdom)
- the French Institute of Alexandria (Egypt)
- CLUSTER (Egypt)
Make sure to follow the account to get the latest news about the residency: @alexandria_urban_imaginaries
A look back on the School for Sonic Memory residency program
Discover the three stays that the six nomadic residents of the School for Sonic Memory made in Athens, Alexandria and Marseille to explore sound, memory and trans-Mediterranean resonances. This residency program was produced by Onassis Stegi and Theatrum Mundi. Read here
Our colleagues from Cittadellarte are currently following the residents and taking over the project’s Instagram account to document the week. Make sure to follow the account to get the latest news about the residency: Alexandria Urban Imaginaries (@alexandria_urban_imaginaries)
Following their first stop in Athens in November 2021, the nomadic residents of the School for Sonic Memory residency have the chance to further explore the themes of circulation, migration, water, and shared Mediterranean resonances and mythologies in Alexandria.
Our colleagues from Onassis Stegi are currently following the residents and taking over the project’s Instagram account to document the week. Make sure to follow the account to get the latest news about the residency: Alexandria Urban Imaginaries (@alexandria_urban_imaginaries)
On January 20-21 the symposium ‘The global cosmopolis. Past, present and future of the city of Alexandria‘ was organized in the old observatory of Leiden University and online.
Around 60 people came together each day to listen to the latest insights concerning the history and archaeology of the city of Alexandria, presented by the leading scholars in this domain.
Day 1 focused on Hellenistic and Roman Alexandria and included a lecture by Professor Nenna, the director of one of our partners, the CEAlex, presenting important recent archaeological work and discoveries.
Day 2 bridged the period between Antiquity and the present; while also discussing the issue of imagination—the myth of Alexandria and its continuing impact until today. It ended with a presentation of the exhibition prepared by our team; that was enthusiastically welcomed by the audience.
Many thanks to all the speakers for their important contributions!
This public symposium was organised by the Faculty of Archeology of Leiden University as part of the Alexandria project, which is co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.
Starting 20th of January : Public symposium: ‘The global cosmopolis. Past, present and future of the city of Alexandria’
This public symposium presents a (selective) overview of the development of the city in these cosmopolitan terms. The first day will focus on the period of Antiquity; the second on the era after Antiquity and Alexandria’s future.
This symposium is meant to present, for a general audience, some of the results of the Leiden VICI project ‘Innovating objects’ that was carried out in close cooperation with the Centre d’Études Alexandrines (https://www.cealex.org/). It also ties in with the Europe Creative project ‘Alexandria: (Re)activating Common Urban Imaginaries’ that explores the relations between art, heritage and urban life for the city and aims at using Alexandria’s cosmopolitan past to build a better (urban) future.
You do not want to miss it
Leiden – Old Observatory (https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/old-observatory) room B 104
and online (how to connect)
Thursday, January 20 2022 – 9:00 till 13:00
Friday, January 21 2022 – 9:00 till 12:30
School for Sonic Memory – week in Alexandria
6th and 13th of February 2022
Following the successful residency week in Athens, the nomadic residents will have the chance to further explore the themes of circulation, migration, water, and shared Mediterranean resonances and mythologies in Alexandria, the second stop of the itinerant residency. From listening sessions that explore community radios and iskandarani folk rhythms to an in-depth presentation of the hydraulic system in Alexandria, the artists will get to delve deeper into some of the lesser-known aspects of these Mediterranean routes.
The School for Sonic Memory residency is a pluri-disciplinary nomadic program exploring sound, memory and trans-Mediterranean resonances, produced by our partners Onassis Stegi and Theatrum Mundi. The first week of the residency took place in Athens in November 2021.
Upcoming symposium in Leiden: ‘The global cosmopolis. Past, present and future of the city of Alexandria’
Public symposium, January 20-21, 2022
Leiden – Old Observatory, (https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/old-observatory) room B 104 and online
Thursday January 20 2022
Alexandria in Hellenistic and Roman Egypt: urban image and cultural identity
Friday January 21 2022
Alexandria after Antiquity: urban image and cultural identity
Alexandria now: Global heritage, art and development
The first newsletter of the project, prepared and edited with care by the project partners, is now available on our website :
Come and discover some exclusive content, including an interview of the exhibition ‘Alexandria: Past Future’ curators, offering a first glimpse of the future exhibition to be held in Bozar and Mucem in 2022 and 2023!
Exhibitions, showcases, residencies and workshops, we keep you posted.
The School for Sonic Memory residency programme – a nomadic Mediterranean residency programme for sound and urban heritage
Having received more than 250 applications from musicians, sound artists, architects, visual artists, activists, urbanists, collectives, researchers, performance and filmmakers and other practitioners, the School for Sonic Memory residency programme will be co-shaped by 6 selected participants in collaboration with a group of local artists in three Mediterranean cities: Athens, Alexandria & Marseille.
Together, and in collaboration with local artists, urbanists and researchers, the 6 participants will form a ‘school’ for sonic memory, investigating the ways that three cities across the Mediterranean resonate with one another, how elements of a connected and conflictual past are made audible within them.
The selected artists will join a 6-month production process, based around 3 one-week creative research residencies:
– Athens, November 2021
– Alexandria, February 2022
– Marseille, March 2022
A public event/ public assembly will also be organised in Athens in summer 2022 to publicly present the results of the residency programme and the artistic & research methodology.
A final week-long event will be organised in Biella, Italy in July 2022 to share insights and the results of the residency.
Onyeka Igwe (UK/Nigeria)
Asmaa Jama (Denmark)
Maria Sideri (Greece)
Youmna Saba (Lebanon)
Hatem Hegab (Egypt)
Monai de Paula Antunes (Brazil/Germany).
Caravan: Thinking with Alexandria
The caravan residency programme aims to survey the European cities of Athens, Brussels, Marseille and Nicosia, through the lens of Alexandria and its contested urban imaginaries.
Having received more than 600 applications from artists, activists, collectives, researchers, performance and filmmakers and other practitioners, the Caravan residency programme will be co-shaped by 16 selected participants in collaboration with 5 local social entrepreneurs who will guide the artists in relating to and understanding urban, infrastructural and social processes and formations in the cities of Athens, Brussels, Marseille, Nicosia and Alexandria.
Sixteen participants are selected to partake in a field, discursive and practice-based programme in conversation with the residency curators, social entrepreneurs and a range of tutors and presenters working across diverse disciplines and contexts, to be tailored to the group.
The residency is outcome based, and participants are expected to develop a final project as part of the programme’s conclusion which will be then showcased as part of the Forums: Contemporary Alexandria in Athens Biella, Marseille, Alexandria and Aarhus.
Islam Shabana (Egypt)
Neja Tomsic (Slovenia)
Zeynep Kaserci (resident in UK, Turkey)
Chiara Cartuccia (resident in UK, Italy)
Tahir Onur Çimen (Turkey)
Sara Fakhry Ismail (Egypt)
Post Disaster (Italy)
Christopher French (UK)
Ludovica Guarnieri (resident in UK, Italy)
Georgios Moraitis (Greece)
Mark Lotfy (Egypt)
Mahmoud El Safadi (Lebanon)
Stella Ioannidou (Greece)
Omnia Sabry (Egypt)
Latent Community (Sotiris Tsiganos and Jonian Bisai (Greece))
Eva Frapiccini (Italy)
To be announced soon