Thursday, September 6, 2012

Public Forum: Palestine - Activist Artists Story Telling

Dear friends,
on Monday, 10th September in Melbourne, I am privileged to be speaking with Palestinian artists/activists Samah Sabawi and Dr Rand Hazou at a forum being organised by Platform Youth Theatre and Under the Hammer Activist Artist Hub.
If you are in Melbourne, please join us!  The details for the meeting are below.
In solidarity, Kim   
Image design - Sonja Karkar

Person. Project. Practice.
Activist artist’s story telling.

With Samah Sabawi. Dr Rand Hazou. Kim Bullimore.
Monday 10 September, 7pm
Under the Hammer Activist Artists Hub
159 Sydney Rd Coburg, Melbourne
Donation at the door.

"What does it means to be an activist artist?". Platform Youth Theatre and Under the Hammer invite you to join us for an informal story telling and conversation night with three long time activist artists who will share what it means to them and tell their stories about Israel's occupation and the Palestinian struggle for human rights and self-determination, using theatre and artistic practice to build human capacity and redress the systemic inequalities created by Israel's apartheid and occupation policies.

Dr. Rand Hazou is theatre academic and facilitator with experience working across a variety of creative projects. In 2004 Rand was commissioned by the UNDP to travel to the Occupied Territories in Palestine to work as a theatre consultant running workshops for Palestinian youths. In 2009 Rand was awarded a PhD in Theatre and Drama at La Trobe University. His thesis examined political theatre in Australia dealing with Asylum Seekers and Refugees. In 2011 Rand was awarded a Cultural Leadership Skills Development Grant from the Australia Council for the Arts to develop The 7arakat/Harakat Project, involving a series of theatre-related initiatives between Australia and Palestine. As part of this project Rand travelled to Palestine in October 2011 to participate in an internship with Al-Kasaba Theatre in Ramallah. For more information visit:

In September 2011, Rand Hazou was invited to visit the Aida Refugee Camp in Palestine to attend the production of Handala presented by Alrowwad Cultural and Theatre Training Society (ACTS). The play assembles onstage a cast of characters inspired by the cartoons of Palestinian artist Naji Al-Ali. Alrowwad, which means ‘the pioneers’ in Arabic, was established in 1998 and focuses on work with the children and women of the camp using theatre and artistic practice as a means to build human capacity and redress stereotypes of Palestinians. In this presentation, Rand will recall his experience attending the performance of Handala in the Aida refugee camp and will examine the significance of the notion of ‘sumud’ or steadfastness in the Palestinian non-violent struggle. The presentation will consider how the concept of sumud informs the strategy of ‘beautiful resistance’ employed by ACTS in their creative practice and how theatre and performance in Palestine can be usefully conceived as both a resistant practice and as a peace building tool.

Samah Sabawi is a writer, political analyst, commentator, author and playwright.. She is co-author of the book Journey to Peace in Palestine and writer and producer of the plays Cries from the Land and Three Wishes. Sabawi is currently developing her third play Tales of a city by the sea - a love story set against the backdrop of Israel's bombardment of Gaza in 2008-2009.

Samah will be talking about writing the Palestinian narrative and reading from Tales of a city by the sea. A draft of her play received this feedback by Gaza Literature Lecturer Dr. Hairder Eid currently residing in Gaza:

I got so emotional towards the end of the play so much so that I couldn't hold my tears! The play brought back the memory of the massacre. I was at the harbour when the first free Gaza boat arrived; and I was there when it left. I thought I "knew" the play's fictional characters. Most of what they say is so familiar, with some very few exceptions. I wondered what the reaction of the Gazan audience would be, if the play is ever performed in Arabic here? I am honored that you decided to share it with me.”

Kim Bullimore is a long-time socialist, political activist and anti-racism campaigner. Kim is a volunteer with the International Women’s Peace Service, the only all women international peace team working on the ground in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. She writes regularly on the Palestine-Israel conflict for the Australian newspaper, Direct Action and has been published by a range of web-journals, including Electronic Intifada, and Palestine Chronicle. In 2010, Kim co-organised the first Australian national Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Conference in support of Palestine.
She is also the author of BDS and the Struggle for a Free Palestine, which appears in the new book, Left Turn: Political Essays for the New Left, edited by Antony Loewenstein and Jeff Sparrow.Kim has a blog at

Bullimore will be talking about the role of the Cultural Boycott against Israeli Apartheid and the role the artistic community here in Australia can play in supporting the Palestinian struggle for human rights and dignity.

James Crafti (MC) is an activist artist currently engaged in a Community Cultural Development Masters at the Victorian College of the Arts. James has directed several plays with Platform Youth Theatre and La Trobe Student Theatre and Film Office including Seven Jewish Children and The Deserters. James also acted as an assistant director on Melbourne Worker’s Theatre’s Yet to Ascertain the Nature of the Crime a play focusing on violence and racism towards international students.
Recently Crafti set up Under the Hammer an “activist artists hub” in Coburg designed to bring communities and political artists together to challenge the status quo.  



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