Local Role Models

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With  partners in Egypt, Morocco and Syria, Vision Forum research historical and contemporary role models in the communities where the partners operate. The role models are chosen so that women can use their ideas, narratives and life stories to abandon negative thinking patterns and engage in positive action.

In times when freedom is continuously shrinking, it is easy for the population to fall into apathy and cynicism. Over time, the people gradually believe that the oppressors are right and it becomes increasingly difficult to imagine a future for oneself. This negative outlook on oneself, one’s life and reality makes it easier for oppressive powers to quench movements that wants to inspire democracy, freedom of speech and human rights. It makes it harder for women to find leverage, to stand up against men who want to control them. What is needed is hope (P. Levi, 1984). “Local Role Models” inspire women in three MENA countries to seek new motivation based on positive examples from their own culture and communities – to turn around negative thinking patterns without losing criticality.

In “Local Role Models” performances and workshops will become catalysts to spread positive ideas, stories and unique life journeys from the region. The collective work methods ensure that local narratives survive and thrive. The artists’ creative interpretations of the narratives further strengthen their individual potential and spreads them in the local communities where they originate.

The workshops will be organised in Cairo and Stockholm . In them, a select group of artists (from visual art, music and dance) from Sweden, Syria, Egypt and Morocco will work together to address the project’s issues. Artistically and practically, we focus on performance rather than exhibitions. Performance, with its immediacy, can generate important public impact with small means. Performances also enable artists to use digital technology and information resources in creative ways which is more difficult in exhibitions, where the technology needs to be present for the duration of the exhibition.


Participating artists and creators: Muhammad Ali, Abir Boukhari, Elham Khattab, Per Hüttner, Carima Neusser, Mohamed Abla, Abdelaziz Taleb, Walk Like an Egyptian, Aya El Fallah, Ahmed Nagy, Abu El Sid,  Khaled Hafez and Moutaz Nasr

The project is supported by Creative Force and Helge Ax:son Johnsons stiftelse.