Who Are We? was a free 6-day cross-platform event, designed to facilitate the co-creation, co-production, and exchange of knowledges among artists, academics, activists, and diverse publics around the multiple crises of identity and belonging in Europe and the UK. The week of activity has been specifically designed for Tate Exchange reflecting on identity, belonging, migration and citizenship through arts and audience participation.
“In the nightmare of the dark
All the dogs of Europe bark,
And the living nations wait,
Each sequestered in its hate”
— W.H. Auden ‘In Memory of W.B. Yeats’ (1940)
Auden’s homage to Yeats conjures an uncannily resonant image of contemporary Europe, a Europe increasingly divided, fending and fastening its borders against real and imagined ‘others’. Guided by Auden’s quote and inspired by the open dialogue of the Tate Exchange initiative looking at art and its importance to society, Who Are We? explored what it means to be civic, creating a space for encounters between people and communities often kept apart by binaries: artists versus audiences, academics versus artists, migrants versus ‘natives’, and activists versus publics.
Artists and practitioners from England, Scotland, Poland, Finland, Iraq, Italy, Germany, Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo, Slovenia, Romania, Greece, Spain, Israel, USA and South Africa contributed to activities, installations and events to which the public were invited to engage and participate.
· What is becoming of Europe and the UK?
· What are we forgetting, and with what consequences?
· How does our colonial past connect to today’s migratory movements?
· Can the creative uses of media, technologies, logistics, visual art and performance show us a glimpse of another Europe, another ‘We’?
The programming team comprised Counterpoints Arts, Open University, Loughborough University, and Warwick University with contributions from Goldsmiths University of London, the Stuart Hall Foundation, Universal Design Studio, Graphic Thought Facility and with support from the Swedish Embassy London.
Counterpoints Arts curate, produce and promote the arts by and about migrants and refugees; and have led on curation and production on Who Are We?