Speakers' Corner, Hyde Park, London
With Susan Hefuna and Bahbak Hashemi-Nezhad, Tammy Arjona-Wheeler, Gill Clarke, Mina Noshy, Westminster Academy
The Serpentine Gallery presents a free two-day public event of debate and exchange at this historic London location. The Learning Camp brings people together to share ideas about self expression and protest from two cities, London and Cairo, which have seen great changes in recent months.
The Camp, led by internationally acclaimed artist Susan Hefuna is open to everyone and includes programmed and spontaneous seminars, sound and video installations, dance performances, live talks and debates relating to personal experiences from Tahrir Square to the recent demonstrations in London. People of all ages are invited to exchange ideas about political speech in formats that challenge traditional relationships between teachers and students: those who speak and those who listen.
The activities will be hosted in seven specially commissioned tents, designed by Hefuna, and made by traditional tentmakers in Egypt. They are inscribed with messages of hope, experiences from the recent revolution and personal statements from the people of Cairo.
Since 2009 Hefuna has facilitated exchanges between London and Cairo as part of the Serpentine Gallery’s Edgware Road Project. For the Learning camp she will be joined by London-based designer Bahbak Hashemi-Nezhad, choreographer Gill Clarke, and staff and students from Westminster Academy, who have collaborated over the past year. Guests, including Mina Noshy, from SAWA workshops and William Wells, Director of Townhouse Gallery, (Cairo), will relay project participants’ first hand experiences of the events leading to the departure of Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.
Visitors will participate in workshops facilitated by students at Westminster Academy who collaborated with designer Bahbak Hashemi-Nezhad to create experiences that question the stereotyping of young people, the privatisation of public space, power relations in schools and other key issues facing students today.
Dance performances choreographed by Gill Clarke, Tammy Arjona Wheeler with teachers and students from Westminster Academy explore the dynamic between the group and the individual in costumes designed for each student by Hefuna and will take place in the Park throughout the day.
Other events include:
- Local youth collective Freqout! will run a media tent engaging people in video-based activities
- Berlin-based designers Ben Wittner and Sascha Thoma of eps51 will messages on banners and posters
- Open Assembly will allow any individual or group to propose a workshop or discussion topic
- Greetings from Cairo, a Raffle with gifts from Egypt
This event is dedicated by the artist to the Egyptian people and connects recent events in Egypt to Speakers’ Corner, a historical place for public meetings and demonstrations in London. Produced in collaboration with the Townhouse Gallery in Cairo and Westminster Academy.
Presented in collaboration with
Tents produced as part of a workshop at the Townhouse Gallery, Cairo
Photograph: Graham Waite
Westminster Academy students rehearse in Hyde park for Learning Camp with artists Susan Hefuna, Tammy Arjone-Wheeler and Gill Clarke. Photograph: Mark Blower