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Title: Who I am, where I come from, and where I am going : a critical study of Arab diaspora as creative space
Author: Deebi, Aissa
ISNI:       0000 0004 2731 0607
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2012
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This dissertation develops a critical examination of the Arab Diaspora culture as creative space in the field of the visual arts. Specifically, it examines the concept of diaspora as applied to the Arab experience, particularly its potential application as a creative space for Arab artists who live and work outside their countries of origin in Europe or America. It explores questions about the type of space for creation that is provided to an Arab immigrant artist within actual existing diaspora communities and the relation of that space to theoretical formulations of the diaspora position that postcolonial theorists developed in the 1990s. It also asks what the uses and limitations of these different models of diaspora might be for my own practice. To answer these questions, the dissertation takes a qualitative analytical approach meant to bring elements of cultural theory and criticism into interaction with my reflective practice as an artistic practitioner. It deploys a number of research methods including reviews of the existing literature, the use of interviews and questionnaires,a "study case" method, and the use of action research in the studio. As a result, the specificities of the history of Arab migration are highlighted. The sixty years of modern history in the Arab world and its Diaspora have produced a complex structure of Arab communities existing outside their place of origin. Two study cases of artists Hamdi Attia and Al Fadhil are used to represent “extreme cases” in which the Arab Diaspora position as a creative space is rejected outright. An analysis of the position and strategies of these artists demonstrates the conflicts inherent to conceptions of Diaspora culture as a model for individual artwork. Finally, the dissertation discusses specific artistic projects that I the researcher developed around the phenomenon of migration, and reflection upon their success and shortcomings as commentary on the reality of cultural displacement. All together, these cases suggest that Diaspora as a position (rather than a theory) does not provide a viable space for creative production for migrant artists.
Supervisor: Makhoul, Bashir Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography