Manifesta 9 Art Mediation in retrospect

Manifesta 9 Art Mediation in retrospect

On Sunday, 30th of September, 2012, Manifesta 9 closed its doors in Genk, Limburg, Belgium. The team of Manifesta looks back to a successful 9th edition of the European Biennial of Contemporary Art, an edition that was met with much critical acclaim and saw 100,866 visits to the exhibition. For the first time Manifesta took place in one single venue, the now defunct mine of Waterschei in Genk, in the heart of the former coal-mining region of Belgian Limburg.

One of the fundamental characteristics of Manifesta 9 was a critical attempt to foster an interdisciplinary and intergenerational dialogue using the significance of the former Campine Belgian coal-mining region as a locus of the imaginary, and the ecology of industrial capitalism as its points of departure. As such, Art Mediation played a more important role than ever in the success of the Biennial.

The public response to Manifesta’s invitation for such a dialogue has been overwhelming. To date, over 37,000 people have participated in the programs organized by the Manifesta 9 Art Mediation department; that is one out of every three people that visited Manifesta 9.

 An incredibly diverse range of audiences visited Manifesta 9, from general visitors to art professionals, from primary schools to universities and from international visitors to the local community.

Manifesta Biennials are deeply embedded in their local context; the location of Manifesta 9 formed an integral part of the project. With this in mind, the Art Mediation department of Manifesta 9 has proactively worked with a multitude of diverse community groups from the region of Limburg in order to gain insight into the particular social and cultural fabric of the former mining region and to embed Manifesta 9 in that vernacular. Groups included former miners, youth reporters, a choir and the inhabitants of the trailer park Horensberg, just to name a few.

Within the Manifesta biennial framework, the role of Art Mediation is to seek a discursive space in order to enable every individual visitor and participant to explore, experience and interact with its vision and context. With the aid of background information, whether supplied or already internalized, we want to stimulate dialogue and enable audiences to articulate their own well-founded opinion about contemporary art and its role in society. For the duration of Manifesta 9, the Art Mediation team has been working on regularly reporting their activities in order to make experiences, knowledge and learning from the project accessible for others.

To read more about each of the Art Mediation projects at the Biennial, please see the Manifesta 9 Mediation Blog.

To learn more about all the Manifesta 9 artists and participants, please see our Manifesta 9 Online Catalogue.

The Manifesta 9 Art Mediation Team: Yoeri Meessen, Head of Education & External Relations; An Leemans, Education Coordinator; Lies Caeyers, Education Assistant; and David Smeulders, Audience Development. Art Mediators: Gawan Fagard, Lisa Heinis, Liesbeth Indeherberge, Niels Klerkx, Marie-Claire Krell, Louise Osieka, Juliette Teekman, An Van Hertum, Ilse Van Lieshout, Sandrien Wansink, Tessa Goossens, David Douven, Marijke Hermans, Jonas Slegers, Daan Vellinga, Tim Vos, and Marjolein Van der Loo. Intern: Wim Lismont. Volunteers: Gordt Lantmeeters en Lise Vandeput.

For more information about Manifesta Art Mediation please contact:

Yoeri Meessen, Head of Education & External Relations Manifesta 

yoerimeessen@manifesta.org / T +31 20 672 14 35