Reema Salha Fadda

The University of Oxford, UK.

Reema Fadda is a Ph.D candidate in Oriental Studies at The University of Oxford, UK.

The Political Economy of Cultural Development in Palestine

Her research provides an ethnographic account of artistic communities in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt), at a time when political uncertainties and neoliberal agendas are shaping cultural intervention in the region. Fadda seeks to arrive at a detailed account of cultural production in oPt - shaped as it is by certain socio-economic discourses, accelerated political violence and restrictive financial structures – and the strategies of artistic communities and Palestinian-led cultural interventions that are working to defy the artificial and violent constraints imposed on cultural life in Palestine.The political economy offers a general framework to understand the dominant architecture shaping the cultural field - namely Israel’s military occupation and spatial reordering of the oPt and intensified processes of de-culturalization; the effects of neoliberal policies on the public sphere; the agenda-setting of foreign investment agendas; and the impact of globalized arts markets on the production, dissemination and reception of Palestinian culture.  Whilst the majority of discourse on the political economy tends to focus on the macro-level analysis of power, that is, how economic interests govern socio-political decision-making, it tends to gloss over the transformative effects of the political economy on individuals and their subjective experiences.  Thus, through a detailed description of the arts sector in Palestine - to include artists, practitioners, curators, private donors, academics and arts audiences - Fadda will examine how regulatory practices of economic and political power are embodied and experienced by artistic communities in Palestine, the ‘structures of feeling’ (Williams 1977) they generate and the strategies they deploy.  Fadda’s project also examines the considerable role of the regional Diaspora on the collection, production and exhibition of Palestinian arts and culture.

- Reema Fadda, 2015