I’m 27 years old cultural entrepreneur and project manager based in Tangier Morocco. I’m graduated with a Master’s Degree in Political Science & International Project Management with a focus on Contemporary Arab World. These studies gave me the keys to understanding the international environment in which I evolve professionally but also the skills to develop a systemic approach in my thinking. In 2015 at the end of my studies and after my first professional experience with Roberto Cimetta fund, I decided to leave France, a country where I grew up to settle in Morocco in my parents’ origin country. On this occasion, I took the biggest risk of my life because I arrived in a country where I knew nobody, where the work culture is very different and a country for which I had a lot of stereotypes (despite my double nationality).
I started to work for the Festival Nuits Sonores Tanger as production manager. My first months in Tangier I realized how Tangier is an open urban construction site, the city was changing at an unprecedented speed and the economic logic took over all social aspects. Until now, new neighborhoods are blossoming all around the city, through informal housing or social housing. Investors build without stops to meet the massive demand for housing needs. But in this urban planning there is a clear lack of a socio-cultural vision, which does not allow residents to appropriate their environment, to be active and fulfilled. From this observation, I co-funded Think Tangier in 2016.
Think Tangier is a cultural platform dedicated to the exploration of urban challenges arising in the city-region of Tangier. It serves as a platform to conceptually illuminate and concretely address these issues through projects operating the crossroads several practices: plastic & visual arts, design, participatory research & urban practices. It is a citizen initiative with the ambition to bring together the different actors of the society around the question of the city of tomorrow. We were able to develop this project thanks to the support of the SouthMed CV fund.
At the same period, I attended a training session with Meculture on cultural entrepreneurship, which allowed me to think and take a step back to my project and my work. It was a real turning point in my perception because I assumed to define myself as an entrepreneur. For two years I collaborated with SouthMed CV and Medculture on different occasions such as advocacy sessions at the European Parliament or meetings in the Arab world to share my experience and good practices from the field. In parallel, we continued to develop our projects in Tangier. We organized ourselves as a collective: a curator, an artist and myself, to make this initiative sustainable. And from a project of 7 months initially we have developed a vision over several years with the support of the local community. In 2017 we opened a new space: Atelier Kissaria, a space dedicated to artistic creation and craft practices. It is a place of production and experimentation gathering different techniques and knowledge dedicated to the printed image. These experiences were decisive since it taught me how to create a project from an idea and gather a community, how to structure an organization and raise funds to sustain a project, as well as develop local and international partnerships.
I was nominated in 2017 by the US Embassy in Morocco to participate in “Resilient Societies Program” as a part of the International Visitor Leadership program (U.S department of State). During three weeks, we traveled through the United States to meet different organizations and exchange with them on this topic. It was a great opportunity to get out of my local context and discover other territories that have other issues. It was very inspiring and challenging. Since 2018 I’m a member of Art Moves Africa Evaluation Committee and I am part of Art and Culture Entrepreneurship (ACE) program launched by AFAC (Arab Fund for Art and Culture) that aims to explore new models to sustain arts and culture institutions. So, as a project manager, I met many international organizations in Europe and in the Arab world, European political institutions as well as civil society organizations, which contributed to my better understanding of the workings of international cooperation and the influence of civil society. These are knowledges and learning that I have been able to use on my experience in Tangier to develop a network of local partners.