OCTOBER 12 – NOVEMBER 13, 2020

A virtual transnational meeting of artists, organizations, and activists, exploring resilience and thriving strategies in the (post)-pandemic world

ArtsLink Assembly advocates for our core mission, the vital importance of transnational cultural mobility. This year, we focus on the current need to re-imagine how we connect with and support our fellow citizens across neighborhoods, countries, and continents. The upheavals of the pandemic have brought this need into a sharp focus. How can artists help us to think and act beyond walls and borders? What actions can we take individually and collectively, nationally and transnationally to welcome and support each other? What can radical hospitality look like and how do we practice and promote it?


ArtsLink Assembly Ideas and Proposals Summary

“If we start looking at every problem we face as containing its solution… I trust that’s what all of you, we, have been doing to survive and to dream.” – Faustin Linyekula, Congo, at the ArtsLink Assembly

ArtsLink Assembly 2020: Summary is a compendium of the issues, ideas, and practices shared during the ArtsLink Assembly, with proposals to guide us all forward. Now available to download here (pdf)Please share with us the ideas, opportunities, or questions that arise at

week 1: art Prospect

OCTober 15 - 18
Art Prospect Festival 2020: Treasure Hunt

Online / on location transnational public art festival

CEC ArtsLink’s 7th Art Prospect Festival commissions new work for public spaces from 50 artists in 20 cities around the world from St. Petersburg to Minneapolis to Melbourne to Tashkent. 

Livestreamed with english audio translation on October 15
Inside Out: Art Prospect 2020
How social distancing, Covid, and digital technology are changing our concept of public space

A conversation with Kendal Henry, Director of Percent for Art, New York, and Art Prospect artists Anne Albagli, USA; Olesya Ilyenok, Russia; Nadya Sayapina, Belarus; Nastya Babitskaya, Russia; and Lera Lerner, Russia.

Livestreamed with english audio translation on October 16
A Miracle or Misunderstanding

Viktor Misiano, curator and art theoretician, discusses social practice with Data Chigholashvili, Georgia; Anna Chistoserdova, Belarus; Ruthie Jenrbekova, Kazakhstan; Eva Khachatryan, Armenia; and Maria Vilkovisky, Kazakhstan.

“Socially engaged art in the former Soviet countries is either a miracle or a misunderstanding, for there are too many reasons why it should not exist,” writes Misiano in an introduction to A Miracle or Misunderstanding. In this online collection of essays and field reports published by CEC ArtsLink, artists, thinkers, and practitioners share their experience, knowledge, and research about social practice art in their countries.

Download A Miracle or Misunderstanding, a collection of essays on social practice art in the Art Prospect Network countries

week 2: beirut, the city that is not

The devastating explosion in Beirut on August 4, 2020 killed over 200 people and rendered over 300,000 inhabitants homeless. This catastrophic event compounded the already immense economic, governmental and public health challenges faced by Lebanon. The cultural sector is struggling to re-build and re-imagine their civic and creative lives.

Photo: Myriam Boulos for Time
Livestreamed on October 22
What is Live after the explosion?

Omar Rajeh (choreographer, organizer, Beirut) in conversation with Lebanese performance artists Mia Habis and Alexandre Paulikevitch, and visual artist Hatem Imam.

Livestreamed on October 23
Reconstruct and build-upon: immediate needs and long term safeguarding of the cultural sector

Panel moderated by Amanda Abi Khalil, independent curator from Lebanon, with Helena Nassif, Director of Culture Resource, Lebanon; Haig Aivazian, Co-Director of Beirut Art Center, Lebanon; and Omar Mismar, visual artist based in Beirut. With live Q&A.

week 3: Letters from the continent

The film, Letters from the Continent, produced by Studios Kabako and co-produced by CEC ArtsLink, was written and shot in May-June 2020. It weaves together 21 video letters, self-portraits evoking the new generation of dancers, choreographers, performers, and actors across 16 countries in Africa, who juggle their daily lives to invent, create and share stories of a continent in full mutation. Streamed on October 24 – November 14. 

Livestreamed on October 29
"Whatever's coming our way today, we'll embrace it and make it ours"

Faustin Linyekula, choreographer and organizer, Congo, in conversation with young artists featured in the film Letters from the Continent: Dorine Mokha*, Congo; Qondiswa James, South Africa; Samwel Japhet, Tanzania, and Ambrose Idemudia Joshua, Nigeria.

*With immense sadness, we announce that Dorine Mokha (1989-2021), choreographer, dancer, author, passed away on January 8, 2021 in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo, following a short illness.

Livestreamed on October 30
"The passport of the artist is to cross social lines, interdisciplinary lines - to cross lines"

Faustin Linyekula, choreographer/organizer, Congo, in conversation with Peter Sellars, theater and opera director, USA, on the future of cultural practice.

WEEK 4: No borders / post-nationalism

What would it mean to abolish all borders, and move towards a globally connected world that is not framed by nation states or geography? How can we construct a world that recognizes that all people, together with animals and the natural world are increasingly subject to change, motion, and forced migration, driven by economic, climate or political reasons? What steps are already being taken to implement such a project? In USA Presidential week we explore the radical hospitality project that citizens, artists, activists and philosophers are evolving around the notions and ideas of a post-national world.


JR: Migrants, Mayra, Picnic across the border, Tecate, Mexico - U.S.A., 2017
Livestreamed on november 5
No Borders

Nandita Sharma, Professor of Sociology, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, in conversation with Thomas Nail, philosopher at the University of Denver, curator of the No Borders / Post-Nationalism program. With live Q&A.

Artist and activist Tania Bruguera could not participate as planned due to internet restrictions in Cuba.

Livestreamed on november 5
Post Nationalism

Thomas Nail, philosopher at the University of Denver, Nandita Sharma, and Alex Sager, Professor of Philosophy at the Portland State University discuss the ‘No Borders’ principle and the ethics of migration. With live Q&A.

WEEK 5: radical hospitality

CEC ArtsLink supports transnational cultural mobility and collaboration, empowering artists and arts leaders to engage communities in dialogue and creative projects that contribute to a more equitable, compassionate, and sustainable world.  Artists and arts leaders already play a vital role in nurturing civil societies. As nations increasingly retreat behind their borders and a global health crisis further isolates us, how can we all better support the work of artists to catalyze communities in mitigating conflict and prejudice locally and nationally? How can we all better share our resources, our practices, and our networks to benefit civil society?


Livestreamed on november 12
Pioneering Virtual Residencies: ArtsLink International Fellows 2020

ArtsLink International Fellows 2020 from Egypt, Estonia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Montenegro, Palestine, Poland, Slovenia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and their US host organizations in Austin, Chicago, Lawrence, New Orleans, New York, Portland, Santa Ana, and Santa Fe, discuss their recent experience of virtual networking and online transnational cultural exchange.

Livestreamed on november 13
Networking the Networks: Supporting independent artists in a (post) pandemic world

Artist-led networks explore what radical hospitality means as we re-imagine a (post) pandemic world and the vital necessity of transnational cultural exchange in building a sustainable, creative and compassionate future for us all. Panelists include Selma Banich, artist and activist, Croatia; Nova Benway, Executive Director of Triangle Arts Association, New York City; Virginie Dupray, author and producer, Portugal / Democratic Republic of Congo; Gulnara Kasmalieva and Muratbek Djumaliev, artists, Kyrgyzstan; Susan Katz, Program Director at CEC ArtsLink; Jenny Marketou, artist and activist, USA / Greece; Noura Murad, Founder and Artistic Director, Leish Troupe, Syria; and Elena Tupyseva, Director of the theatre Ballet Moscow, Russia. With live Q&A.


Week 1: Art Prospect

Publication A Miracle or Misunderstanding

Download in English

Download in Russian

“Socially engaged art in the former Soviet countries is either a miracle or a misunderstanding, for there are too many reasons why it should not exist,” writes Misiano in an introduction to A Miracle or Misunderstanding. In this online collection of essays and field reports published by CEC ArtsLink, artists, thinkers, and practitioners share their experience, knowledge, and research about social practice art in their countries.

Website Art Prospect Festival 2020: Treasure Hunt

New work for public spaces from 50 artists in 20 cities around the world from St. Petersburg to Minneapolis to Melbourne to Tashkent.


Week 2: Beirut, the city that is not
Support Beirut art community

Support Amanda Abi Khalil’s Temporary Art Platform
We (still) believe in the potential of social art practice to contribute to progressive societies. Help us take care of our community of artists! Reach out to for donations.

AFAC / Mawred are raising funds to support arts and culture in Lebanon

Reading and Resources 

Curated by Amanda Abi Khalil

Kaelen Wilson-Goldie on Beirut after the blast (Artforum)

Losing Beirut: On Life in a Shattered City
Rima Rantisi Mourns for What May Never Be Recovered (Literary Hub)

Writing in Crisis: A Conversation Between Beirut and New York
Lina Mounzer and Mirene Arsanios on What It Is to Bear Witness (Literary Hub)

Letter From Beirut: After Grief, There is Rage. “I know I will not forgive.”
By Farah Aridi for the Literary Hub

We Lebanese Thought We Could Survive Anything. We Were Wrong.
The myth of their resilience helped the Lebanese function despite a miserably corrupt and inept state. No longer.
By Lina Mounzer for The New York Times

Time for a full clearout. Why we will not forgive the men who did this to Beirut.
By Lina Mounzer for The Guardian

By Sarah Mourad for Rusted Dishes, Beirut Literary and Art Journal

‘This Is Our Last Chance.’ A Photographer Captures the Energy for Change in Beirut After the Explosion.
By Karl Vick with| photographs by Myriam Boulos for Time

Podcasts recommended as context for the panel discussion on October 23

Conversation with Zeina Arida, Director of the Sursock Museum 

Discussion on the museum’s history and work, as well as the challenges facing the museum after being hit with the disastrous explosion of August 4th in Beirut Port.

Conversation with Rima Mismar, Executive Director of the Arab Fund for Arts & Culture (AFAC)
Discussion about AFAC’s work to support the Lebanese Culture & Arts sector this year through the Lebanon Solidarity Fund, as well as the extraordinary challenges that many artists and members of the cultural sector are facing after the explosion on August 4th.

Week 3: Letters from the Continent
Streamed on October 24 – November 14: Letters from the Continent

The film, Letters from the Continent produced by Studios Kabako, written and shot in May-June 2020, weaves together 21 video letters, self-portraits evoking the new generation of dancers, choreographers, performers, and actors across 16 countries in Africa, who juggle their daily lives to invent, create and share stories of a continent in full mutation. 

Week 4: No Borders / Post Nationalism

Curated by Thomas Nail


Moving Images: Mediating Migration as Crisis. Edited by: Krista Lynes, Tyler Morgenstern and Ian Alan Paul (transcript | 2020). “Introduction”, Tyler Morgenstern, Krista Lynes and Ian Alan Paul, pp. 27–48

Open Borders: In Defense of Free Movement, edReece Jones
Chapter 1, “Sanctuary, Solidarity, Status!”, by Thomas Nail

Immigration Facts and Myths 

No One is Illegal, Roundtable on Building Sanctuary Cities

“Open Borders, 2050”, New Internationalist, January 29, 2020

“The Only Reasonable Philosophy of Immigration is a Radical Philosophy of Migration”, Radical Philosophy Magazine, July 2, 2018

John WashingtonWhat Would an Open Border World Actually Look Like?  

Anderson, Bridget, Nandita Sharma and Cynthia Wright, 2011, “Editorial: Why No Borders?”, Refuge (Special Issue on “No Borders As a Practical Political Project”), 26:2. (dowload pdf)

Nandita Sharma, “From ‘social distancing’ to planetary solidarity,” Letter from Afar – the blog series about life and research in the time of COVID-19, Migration Mobilities Bristol.


Nandita Sharma / Gaye Chan in conversation



Sleepdealer, Alex Rivera, 2008

Fault Lines – Punishment and Profits: Immigration Detention

Human Flow, Ai Weiwei, 2017, streaming on Amazon Prime

Immigration Nationstreaming on Netflix

Why a Designer Turned the U.S.-Mexico Border into an Art Installation, The New Yorker

“Migration Suite”, by Ray Sandoval, music for woodwinds and jazz ensemble, official single release

A Silkroad Gallery: Musical Postcards from the Freer | Sackler, 2018


Shilpa GuptaUntitled, Venice Biennale, 2019

Mark Justiniani, Island Weather (Arkipelago), Venice Biennale, 2019 

Amar Bakshi, transnational/cross borders project Shared Studios

Tania El KhouryCultural Exchange Rate

JRGiants, Kikito, Tecate, Border Mexico-USA, 2017

Week 5: Radical Hospitality

Segal Talks
Livestreamed on November 4
CEC ArtsLink Executive Director Simon Dove in conversation with the Segal Center Director Frank Hentschker and curator and writer Megha Ralapati, Residency and Special Projects Manager at Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, IL.



Amanda Abi Khalil is an independent art worker and curator based between Beirut and Rio de Janeiro, founder of Temporary Art Platform (TAP), a curatorial platform focusing on social and public art practices. She works across disciplines and formats. Her projects investigate forms of social engagement and commoning through art and cultural practices in and from the Global South.



Artistic Co-Director of Beirut Art Center, Haig Aivazian is an artist working across a range of media and modes of address. He delves into the ways in which power embeds, affects and moves people, objects, animals, landscape and architecture. Haig has explored apparatuses of sovereignty at work in sports, museums, the office and music.


United States
San Francisco

Annie Albagli’s work explores new ways to witness a landscape and its relationship to human and nonhuman worlds by examining the cultural contexts from which they are born and the layers of manipulation that shape them. Her work has been shown nationally at such venues including the Headlands Center for the Arts, YBCA, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and the Art Museum of the Americas and internationally, at Art Prospect in St. Petersburg, Russia, Trash Festival in Bishkek Kyrgyzstan, and Beita Gallery in Jerusalem. Her videos have been screened as part of the Imagined Biennials Project at the Tate Modern, the Bavarian Film Festival, ZWICKL in Schwandorf, Germany, and Artist Television Access in San Francisco, CA. She has participated in residencies throughout the U.S. and internationally including Djerassi, This Will Take Time, CEC Artslink Back Apartment Residency in St. Petersburg, Russia, Oberpfälzer Künstlerhaus in Schwandorf, Germany, and Art East in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Annie has contributed to various artists’ land projects such as AZ West, Mildred’s Lane, and Salmon Creek Farm. Between 2017-18, Albagli was a YBCA Truth Fellow. She is a co-founder and editor of the publication, WHIZ WORLD, and former Co-Director of the Royal Nonesuch Gallery. She is currently an Affiliate Artist in residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts and a visiting Artist at the Sierra Nevada College MFA-IA program.



Kosciuszko ArtsLink Fellow, musician, performer and folk tale narrator Yoanna Ayers collects and performs stories and songs of the peoples of Poland and the Caucasus. Her practice investigates how working with the human voice can contribute to the well-being of communities. Immersing into the connection between voice, body and emotions, Yoanna addresses post-trauma issues with an emphasis on women who have experienced war. She employs voice healing techniques, body movement and imagination as vehicles to overcome traumas in the world’s conflict zones.

For her ArtsLink International Fellowship 2020 (virtual and in-person residencies), Yoanna explored voice-healing methodologies and their connection to body and emotions. Yoanna and her US host organization Found Sound Nation launched collaborations with a wide span of creative professionals in music, documentary, installation art, oral history, and somatic healing methodologies using Georgian and Polish songs and oral histories collected during the last decade in the Republic of Georgia. This collaboration explored ways of arranging and performing this music by incorporating visual and oral storytelling from Georgia.


St. Petersburg

Nastia Babitskaya’s artistic practice deals with the themes of vulnerability and fragility at the intersection of private and public spaces. The anxiety that arises as the artist searches for and delineates her identity, often serves to jump start her process.



Live performance and culinary artist Mirna Bamieh is the creator and director of the Palestine Hosting Society. This live art project explores traditional food cultures in Palestine especially those on the verge of disappearing. It brings vanishing dishes back to life over dinner tables, walks, and various interventions. Food creates a significantly different atmosphere for encounters. Sharing food puts on the table aspects of hospitality, distribution, exchange, familiarity and pleasure. A shared meal can become a space of reflection on socio-political realities, attitudes, fashions, and even the suppressed elements of history.

During her ArtsLink International Fellowship 2020 (virtual and in-person residencies), Mirna continued exploring the bacterial and fungi kingdom of fermentation. A staple link in the gastronomic traditions in the East, fermented food entered American cuisine quite recently, and with a degree of hesitation. Creating her own ceramic vessels in Deborah, Iowa as future plating for fermented foods, Mirna’s food interacts with these sculptural objects. Through performance and storytelling, in collaboration with her US host The Invisible Dog Art Center, the artist invited the audience to a dinner based on traditional food practices in Palestine and the Middle East and fermentation cultures throughout the world.


Performance Art

selma banich (1979, Yugoslavia) is an artist, activist and community organizer. Her socially engaged art practice is grounded in explorative, processual, and activist work, and is politically inspired by anarchism and feminism. selma has worked independently and in collaboration with other artists, curators, groups, and initiatives in the Balkans, Europe, and the US. She has participated in numerous dance, theater, and opera productions as a choreographer, and has also performed on film. She participates in local and transnational solidarity initiatives related to the ongoing feminist, anti-fascist, migrant, and workers’ struggles. Currently, those initiatives are Zagreb Solidarity City, Transbalkan Solidarity and For BREAD.

The Future Fellow Podcast


United States
New York
New York

Nova is Executive Director of Triangle Arts Association, an artist residency founded in New York in 1982 which hosts year-round residencies for local and international artists and curators, and has expanded to a worldwide network of more than forty members. She was previously a curator at The Drawing Center in New York City, where she co-directed Open Sessions, a two-year residency/exhibition hybrid program organized with local, national, and international artists, supporting drawing practices in relation to film, architecture, sculpture, music, and other fields. An alumna of the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, she also holds a B.A. from McGill University, Montreal.



Urban environmentalist and labor rights activist Bermet Borubaeva uses trash as a medium in her work. Bermet is interested in the intersection of arts, climate science, and environmental inequality. Her practice is dedicated to the global problem of food waste and growing ecological disruptions caused by excessive urbanization. Bermet is a co-founder of Bishkek School of Contemporary Art.

Bermet draws our attention to industrial overproduction of processed food and the carelessness with which humans waste almost half of these products rather than bake their own bread or cook dinners. Global food mass production contributes to the destruction of the planet’s ecological systems, causing massive deforestation, the pollution of oceans and scarcity of freshwater. Her work on environmental inequality helps us understand that the developed world’s privileged indulgence in haute cuisine leads to the production of food waste on an enormous scale. At the same time, the food insecurity for hundreds of millions in developing countries is rapidly increasing due to the inequities brought into stark focus by the COVID-19 pandemic. The artist’s most recent intervention highlighted this issue when she lived exclusively on leftover food while working as a cook in a café.

During her ArtsLink International Fellowship 2020 (virtual and in-person residencies), Bermet and her US host organization Hyde Park Art Center, in collaboration with Chicago-based Urban Growers Collective, present a research-focused inter-city, international platform and public program which began with activities in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in spring 2020. The overarching project titled Trash culminates in a series of workshops and open conversations among artists and practitioners, and a public program with both in-person and virtual components to open the project to as wide an audience as possible.


Cuba / United States
Performance art

Tania Bruguera was born in 1968 in Havana, Cuba. As a politically motivated performance artist, she explores the relationship between art, activism, and social change in works that examine the social effects of political and economic power. By creating proposals and aesthetic models for others to use and adapt, she often collaborates with multiple institutions as well as many individuals. She expands the definition and range of performance art in both solo and participatory performances that build on her own observations, experiences, and interpretations of the politics of repression and control.

Tania has explored both the promise and failings of the Cuban Revolution in performances that provoke viewers to consider the political realities masked by government propaganda and mass-media interpretation. Advancing the concept of arte útil, she proposes solutions to sociopolitical problems through the implementation of art, and has developed long-term projects that include a community center and a political party for immigrants, and a school for behavior art. She attended art schools in Havana, including the Instituto Superior de Arte (1987-92), and received an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2001).

Tania received a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship (1998), and has been awarded many successive residencies in numerous counties around the world. She lives and works in Queens, New York.



Dante Buu is an artist, storyteller and performer who intertwines the autobiographical with the lives of others. Dante’s artistic practice, fluid and playful across mediums, is intimately rooted in the untold stories of love and resistance.

Buu represented Montenegro at the 59th Venice Biennale Arte (2022). His works have been shown at numerous international exhibitions and festivals, including: Young & Restful, MeetFactory, Prague (2022); and you—do you die happy?, Berlin Art Week, Good To Talk, Hallen #2, Wilhelm Hallen, Berlin (2021); “thigh high”, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (2021); Montenegrin Art Salon 13th November, Montenegrin Art Gallery “Miodrag Dado Đurić”, Cetinje (2019); Weekend Lovers II, Art Weekend Belgrade, Dim, Belgrade (2019); NEXUS 1, TBA Festival, PICA, Portland (2019); Careful with that axe, Eugene, AKT Art Space, Kyiv (2019); I do not want my Lover to go to Work, CC Tobacco 001, Ljubljana (2018–2019); Universal Hospitality 2, FUTURA Center for Contemporary Art, Prague (2017); This is not my history!, Steirischer Herbst, < rotor > center for contemporary art, Graz (2015); 3. Biennial of Contemporary Art, Tito’s Bunker, Konjic (2015); Mama I am OK in the Neon Green, Gallery Duplex100m2, Sarajevo (2013–2014).

Dante’s work has received numerous awards and recognition, including the Milčik YVAA (2021) and Salon 13th November (2019), and is represented in various private collections, including agnès b. Currently participating in the ArtsLink International Fellowship residency in New Orleans, Buu’s previous residencies include: Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (2021–2022), Ankara Queer Art Program, Ankara (2020–2021), CC Tobacco 001, Ljubljana (2018–2019), KulturKontakt Austria, Vienna (2017), Q21, MuseumsQuartier, Vienna (2017), and the West Balkan Calling residency with < rotor > center for contemporary art and CCN, Graz (2016).

Dante Buu lives and works between Rožaje, Montenegro, and Berlin, Germany.



Data (David) Chigholashvili’s work in social anthropology and contemporary art explores connections between the two fields through theoretical research and socially engaged art projects. He is mainly interested in topics of visual and urban anthropology, ethnography, socially engaged art practices, public space, migration, foodways, and memory, which are often interconnected in his collaborative work.

In 2012, Data joined GeoAIR. Since 2018, he has been working as a curator of international programs at the State Silk Museum in Tbilisi, Georgia. Data’s works are strongly related to the specificity of their contexts. Through direct commentary or through subtle forms, he aims to present and question issues of the surroundings, while simultaneously exploring connections between various disciplines and means of expression in order to challenge conventional definitions and forms.


Belarus / Germany

Anna Chistoserdova is a Belarusian cultural producer and curator. She re-located to Berlin, Germany, after the brutal crackdown on opposition to the Lukashenka regime. Her practice focuses on socially oriented art, cultural cooperation, cultural policy, cultural management, and non-academic education in culture and arts.

Anna’s current initiatives include co-founding and managing the International Coalition of Culture Workers in Solidarity with Ukraine and managing the perspAKTIV residency program for Belarusian culture workers in Germany and Poland. She is a co-founder and manager of Ambasada Kultury, the initiative of Belarusian culture workers and activists to support and develop connections within and outside the Belarusian cultural community, in Belarus and diaspora.

Anna’s career highlights include co-founding and managing the influential Podzemka Gallery in Minsk in 2004 to 2009. She was a co-owner, artistic director, manager, and curator of international culture projects at the “Ў” gallery of contemporary art in Minsk from 2009 to 2020.

As a member of the European Culture Parliament, Natasa – Eastern Partnership Civil Society Platform for Culture, Oracle Cultural Network, and TEH, Anna actively promotes international cultural cooperation and networking. Anna served on the Advisory Committee Board of the Eastern Partnership Culture Programme from 2011 to 2014 and received the European Diploma on Cultural Project Management and Cultural Policy in 2014.


Musician, poet and performing artist Ashot Danielyan advocates art as an instrument for social change, a new and unfamiliar concept in Uzbekistan. The repressive political regime in Uzbekistan over the past three decades has resulted in isolation in artistic and social life leading to severe stasis. The dominance of the academic art school inherited from the Soviet past ensures that the local art community follows conformist self-censorship and aggressively rejects new ideas or socially engaged art practices.

During his ArtsLink International Fellowship 2020 (virtual and in-person residencies), Ashot met professional and civic communities and explored cross-cultural experiences and socially engaged art practices which emerge from poetry, alternative music and theater. Sharing interest and practice in Japanese history, language, culture, experimental poetry, performance, and book-making, Ashot and his US collaborator Mami Takahashi of PICA, launch a series of poetry readings, artist talks and conversations. The multi-city cultural exchange resulted from Ashot’s and Mami’s virtual residency in 2020 and takes place at PICA and other cultural and educational institutions in Portland, Seattle, San Francisco and Chicago in 2021.


Portugal / Democratic Republic of Congo

Dupray is the Executive Director of Studios Kabako, founded by the Congolese choreographer Faustin Linyekula and based in Kisangani DRC, which is a platform to research and create dance and visual theatre. It fosters the debuts of young Congolese artists working in dance, theatre, music and film. Since 2013, Studios Kabako have worked in the Lubunga district in Kisangani, developing programmes with communities, with a focus on young adults and children, around issues including drinking water, urban sustainability and environmental issues.

Virginie also directed amoja, a unique Pan-African 3-year residency and coproduction program for performing artists, in partnership with Association 1er Temps in Dakar, Senegal and CulturArte in Maputo, Mozambique as well as Dessine-moi une forêt!, a programme focused on issues of  deforestation. She has recently created with Faustin Linyekula Letters from the Continent, a feature film signed by 21 performance artists from the continent and shot in May-June 2020 during lock-down.

Previously, Virginie worked at the French Institute in London as Head of Communication and Public Relations and at the Centre National de la Danse in Paris as head of Marketing and Communication. She graduated from the French business school HEC in 1994. She is a regular contributor to arts magazines and catalogues.



Mia Habis began to dance at the early age of three. She has studied classical ballet for twenty-eight years, in addition to martial arts, acting and singing, and had divided her time between Lebanon and France. She studied French literature, marketing and advertising and was a dancer and teacher for Maqamat in 2008 when she started leading artistic conceptualisations for the company’s projects, increasing public awareness and engaging in multiple long-term collaborations with local and international institutions.

Since 2015, Mia has served as the Artistic Director of BIPOD- Beirut International Platform of dance and Moultaqa Leymoun, a platform created by Omar Rajeh to provide the space and opportunity for young and established Arab artists to showcase and develop their work. She is currently based in France, and she continues to tour internationally as a dancer with Omar Rajeh | Maqamat. Most recently, Mia became the co-founder of the digital cultural platform


United States
New York
New York

Kendal Henry is an Assistant Commissioner, Public Art, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs. As an artist and curator, he has specialized in the field of public art for over 30 years. Kendal practice illustrates that public art can be used as a tool for social engagement, civic pride and economic development through the projects and programs he’s initiated in the US and internationally. He believes that the most successful public artworks start with the question, “What is the artwork to achieve?” and takes into account both the audience and surrounding environment in the creation of that artwork.

Kendal served as the Director of NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Percent for Art Program. He is an adjunct professor at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development as well as a guest lecturer at various universities and educational institutions, including the Rhode Island School of Design Senior Studio and Pratt Institute’s Arts and Cultural Management Program.

Previously, as the Director of Culture and Economic Development for the City of Newburgh, NY Kendal created the region’s first Percent for Art Program. Prior to that post, he was Manager of Arts Programs at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Arts for Transit for eleven years. During this time, he oversaw the commissioning, fabrication and installation of MTA’s permanent art projects, served as a member of the MTA’s in-house design team, and produced temporary exhibitions at Grand Central Terminal. He was also the Curator-at-large at the Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Art (MoCADA) in Brooklyn, NY and was elected to serve two 3-year terms on the Americans for the Arts Public Art Network Council.



Ambrose Idemudia is one of the founding members of the Westsyde Lifestyle collective in Lagos, Nigeria. Deeply anchored in Lagos street and urban culture and featured in major blogs and lifestyle magazines, Westsyde Lifestyle is producing performances and videos, collaborating with afrobeat artists including Olamide, Burna Boy, Davido, Yemi Alade, but also music stars such as Major Lazer and Beyoncé. Closely working with Qudus Onikeku, they were awarded in 2018 the first Prize of the Nigerian dance award. In 2020, dancer Love Divine, one the group’s pillars, suddenly died. But Westsyde are going on – as they say, they are ‘survivors’.

The Future Fellow Podcast



Olesya Ilyenok is an interdisciplinary artist whose work explores the urban environment using analog and digital tools. Her practice encompases generative graphics and sound, dynamic light, clay sculpture, photography, collage, stencil graffiti, and video. Her intervention He Said, “We’re There!” was nominated for the Sergey Kuryokhin Award for Best Public Art Project, and her video art project AF:CFFiIV won the Art of Neuroscience 2019 competetion in the Netherlands.

Olesya’s work has been shown at the 5th Ural Biennial of Contemporary Art as well as in group shows at the National Center for Contemporary Arts, the Ural Branch, the Electromuseum, the Zarya Center for Contemporary Art, and Artservatory. In 2020, she received her master’s in Digital Art from the Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok.



Hatem Imam is a visual artist and graphic designer. He holds a BFA in Graphic design from the American University of Beirut (AUB), and an MA in Fine Arts from the University of Creative Arts in Canterbury, UK. He is the co-founder and creative director of Studio Safar, co-founder of the design and visual culture magazine Journal Safar, a co-founder of Samandal comics, and the artistic director of Annihaya record label. He has been teaching at the department of Architecture and Graphic Design at AUB since 2007.



The ArtsLink Assembly 2020 was organized by CEC ArtsLink and supported by the Trust for Mutual Understanding, the Kirby Family Foundation, and generous individuals.

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