Decolonising the Mind, Provincialising the West

Sanja Iveković, Invisible Women of the Erste Campus, 2016, video still.
Sanja Iveković, Invisible Women of the Erste Campus, 2016, video still.

pannel discussion and video screening by Sanja Iveković

Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London, 30. 11. 2017, 6:30 pm | Cinema 1 | £5.00 to £8.00

This event explores the possibilities of a critical art geography, examining 'decolonial options' such as those described by Rolando Vázquez and Walther Mignolo. The panel discussion also looks at the structural possibilities of building what Piotr Piotrowski called 'horizontal histories' as structural interventions into the art canon. This notion of a horizontal art history begins as the deconstruction of the Western-centric and the universal. Instead, it proposes art history as polyphonic: supporting locally specific art histories and placing them in a global perspective. 

The speakers are investigating interrelations instead of oppositions, and aim to undo the hierarchies between centers and margins/peripheries, as well as among (global) margins/peripheries.

Speakers include Fouad Asfour (writer and editor, Johannesburg/Vienna), Lina Džuverović (curator, lecturer, University of Reading), Urška Jurman (curator and editor, Director of the Igor Zabel Foundation, Ljubljana), and Klara Kemp Welch (lecturer, researcher, Courtauld Institute, London). 

Following the panel discussion, artist Sanja Iveković will screen and discuss her latest work entitled Invisible Women of the Erste Campus, a site-specific installation commisisoned for the Erste Bank Campus in Vienna. For the project Ivekovic created a filmic portrait of the 'invisible' women working on the premises, workers who clean the offices in the early morning and evening and staff the cafeterias and kitchens.

This event accompanies the publication of Extending the Dialogue, a collection of essays by curators, art historians and art theorists whose work deepens our knowledge of visual art in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. 

The panel discussion and screening is preceded by a closed discussion around the topic of decolonisation, to critically examine the matrices of power in art writing, art history and art education, questioning  the narratives of the centre and periphery.
The event invites cultural workers actively involved in processes of unschooling, disrupting, decolonising and upsetting hegemonic, patriarchal, isolationist and exclusionary narratives, in favour of enabling multiplicity of voices, to share their current work. It also includes a screening of works by BA students from University of Reading. For more information about this closed session, email

Organized by: ICA, Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory, ERSTE Foundation, and the University of Reading. The event is also part of Crossings: Stories of Migration, an ICA-led UK-wide film and events programme supported by the BFI using National Lottery funding and in partnership with the Goethe-Institut.