24 February 2017

Plural Cultures – Plural Spaces

ULIP is delighted to announce the launch of a new collaborative project with the Institut des Cultures d’Islam (ICI) in Paris. The project, “Plural Cultures – Plural Spaces”, is funded by the British Academy and will bring together researchers and practitioners working in and on questions of cultural programming and the politics of culture from both sides of the Channel.

Taking the Institut des Cultures d’Islam as the object of its study, “Plural Cultures – Plural Spaces”, will explore Franco-British comparative perspectives on this Institute as part of a wider reflection on contemporary cultural spaces and their role in both modern retellings of national history and the stimulation of cultural variety to create new forms of openness of the mind and of space.

The project begins with a two-day workshop later this month (Thursday 18 and Friday 19 May), the second day of which will be open to all and free of charge.

To read more about the themes and speakers and to reserve your place, please see our event page.

Interest in the “reshaping” of national history – the different perspectives from which historical events are remembered and relayed - has been the focus of much recent academic work in cultural history and lies behind many urban regeneration projects in the form of cultural centres and museums in major cities around the world. The ICI, with its own role in the retelling of French colonial history and the shaping of the contemporary scene of cultural expression and discourse, represents one such projects, presenting itself as a space of immersion in Islamic cultures that valorizes their plurality all over the world, as well as their historical heritage in Paris and elsewhere.

Directly funded by the Paris municipal authorities, the ICI constitutes a major work of urban regeneration across two sites in the socially challenged area of northern Paris, traditionally and currently a locus of immigration from North and West Africa, the Middle East, and beyond. The plurality of the ICI’s secular functions, which includes educational and cultural programming for users of all backgrounds, and its multiple spaces, in partial cohabitation with a space of prayer, as well as with the diversity of Islamic cultures that it encompasses, means that it offers an important example of the hybrid solutions in cultural and municipal administration sought by public institutions facing a rapidly diversifying population.

This project will explore everything from the evolution of the original conception of the ICI, its architecture, activities, relationships with the local community, and to its financing and management, aiming to document its workings for future reference in the establishment of new cultural institutions and the development of cultural policy and plurality.

The project will continue with a further series of workshops taking place in Spring and Autumn 2017 in London.

For further information about the project, please see our web pages.

If you’d like to receive further updates about the project or to be involved, please contact Dr Anna-Louise Milne.