Event: Art | Publica Space |
Local Development
- Internatinal Seminar 
Hosted by: ci.dlot - 
Centro de Investigação 
em Desemvolvimento Local
e Ordenamento de Território
(University of Cape Verde)
Dates: 28 June - 4 July 2009
Location: Praia - Mindelo - Porto Madeira | Cape Verde


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At the ACC Colloquium in Cape Town (April 2009), SPARCK began an in-depth conversation with Cape Verdian architect Patricia Anahory, founder and director of ci.dlot, a newly-formed research centre at the University of Cape Verde, dedicated to local development and urban planning. This conversation led to an invitation:  from June 28 to July 4, 2009, the SPARCK team participated in an international symposium organised by ci.dlot, entitled “Art / Public Space / Local Development”. The aim of the symposium was to explore changing relationships between art and the city, the shifting nature of physical and conceptual space in contemporary urban settings and the role of art in shaping public space.

Seminar events were held in different cities and islands of Cape Verde and included numerous presentations as well as visits to and meetings with the directors of programmes that innovatively deploy art to shape public space and local development. Key among these were:

- Atelier MAR, an NGO founded in 1979, based in Mindelo, on the island of São Vicente, which promotes and supports integrated community development, poverty alleviation and alternative technologies projects across Cape Verde and, at its Mindelo headquarters, hosts a flourishing arts and crafts teaching centre;

- Porto Madeira, an innovative space and programme founded by Cape Verdean visual artist and poet Misa, dedicated to local development and women’s empowerment through the arts, offering a rich palette of arts and crafts classes, creators’ residencies and international colloquia;

- M_EIA - Instituto Universitário de Arte, Tecnologia e Cultura, an independent, pilot and experimental project that is the first higher education institute in Cape Verde dedicated to the fine arts, design and visual culture.


Presentations and discussions at the seminar explored questions such as:

- How to form cross-disciplinary, global consortiums to develop meanigful public art andarchitecture proejcts with local creators;

- How to construct and manifest urban arts initiatives that respond in concrete and efficient ways to input from local publics;

- How to develop and support student-driven art, architecture and design curricula in academic innovative ways and with a direct manifestation in broader local contexts.

Joining in these exchanges were Cape Verdean artists and activists who participated in the conference, most notably Porto Madeira founder Misa, as well as two other international speakers who participated in the seminar, both Brazil-based practitioners: academic and activist Celia Ramos Antonacci (Universidade de estado de Santa Catarina, Brazil), whose work focuses on socio-public art interventions, alternative urbanism practices and urban protest cultures; and urban installation artist Nele Azevedo, whose widely acclaimed work interrogates and offers radical alternatives to monumental art and architecture in the construction of urban spaces, identities and politics.

The SPARCK team’s encounter with Ramos Antonacci and Azevedo has broadened an earlier link established with Brazil by Kadiatou Diallo’s participation in the Rumos Seminar in Sao Paulo (14-18 April, 2009). As a result, collaborations are being discussed, including the possibility of a SPARCK intervention at the 2010 São Paulo Biennale.