Rotterdam Dialgues: The periphery complex
8 – 10 February 2007
Organised by Witte de With, this three-day symposium explored three hot topics faced by contemporary arts institutions: new money, new audiences and new locations. Key figures from the local, national and international art world shared their thoughts and experiences, in dialogue with one another and with the public.

The programme included:
- Case study by Isabel Carlos (independent curator, Lisbon and curator of 2004 Sydney Biennale) on the shift from public to private funding in contemporary art.
- Dialogue between Brian Butler (Director, Artspace, Auckland) and Charles Esche (Director, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven) about the current funding debates in The Netherlands and beyond.
- Panel discussion exploring the economic pressures on programming: financial security versus artistic freedom? Featuring Maria Lind (Director, Iaspis, Stockholm), Suhail Malik (Senior Lecturer, Goldsmiths College, London), Jaime Stapleton (Associate Research Fellow, Birkbeck College, London) and Hans Abbing (Professor of Art Sociology, University of Amsterdam) and moderated by Olav Velthuis (economist, art historian and Volkskrant journalist).
- Case study by Tobias Berger (Director, Para/Site Art Space , Hong Kong) examining the changing audiences for art institutions in Europe and in Asia.
- Dialogue between Tirdad Zolghadr (independent curator, Berlin) and Rachida Azough (Artistic Director, Kosmopolis, House for Cultural Dialogue, Rotterdam) exploring differing approaches to using ‘culture’ as a tool for mediating between ‘cultures’.
- Panel discussion on the relationship between an art institution and its public(s): what do we want from our audience? Featuring Gitta Luiten (Director, Mondriaan Foundation), Niru Ratnam (co-director, STORE gallery, London, and initiator of Arts Council England’s Inspire curatorial program), Nina Möntmann (independent curator and writer, Hamburg), Simon Rees (curator, CAC Vilnius) and moderated by Tirdad Zolghadr (independent curator, Berlin).
- Dialogue between Laurent Le Bon (Director, Centre Pompidou-Metz) and Ruud Visschedijk (Director, Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam) concerning the relocating of a cultural institution and the effect this has on its program and identity. Moderated by Marc Spiegler (journalist and art critic, Zurich).
- Case study by Dirk Snauwaert (Director, Wiels center for contemporary art, Brussels), presenting the institution-under-construction and exploring its need to be housed in a building.
- Panel discussion on the question of de-centralisation and gentrification: why is it still a matter of location, location, location? Moderated by Marc Spiegler and featuring Nikolaus Hirsch (architect, Frankfurt), Adrienne Goehler (publicist and independent curator, Berlin), Dirk Snauwaert (Director, Wiels center for contemporary art, Brussels), Wouter Vanstiphout (architectural historian and member of Crimson collective, Rotterdam).
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The periphery complex
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