Symposium: Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here

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Date(s) - 11/17/2014 - 11/18/2014
11:00 am - 1:00 pm

IUPUI University Library


Registration and Payment


In March 2007, tragedy struck the heart and soul of Baghdad’s cultural and intellectual community. Al Mutanabbi Street was destroyed by a car bomb which killed over thirty people and wounded more than one hundred. The winding street filled with bookshops and outdoor stalls has for centuries been a meeting place for poets, political dissidents and literary aficionados, and is named after the famous 10th century classical Arab poet, Al-Mutanabbi.

In response to the attack, a San Francisco bookseller, Beau Beausoleil, rallied a community of international artists and writers to produce “Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here” — a collection of letterpress-printed broadsides (poster-like works on paper), artists’ books (unique works of art in book form), and an anthology of writing, all focused on expressing solidarity with Iraqi booksellers, writers and readers.

In November of 2014, it will be IUPUI’s privilege to permanently host the only U.S. repository of the “Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here” collection as well as an inaugural symposium – a series of workshops and lectures – to create a bridging intellectual dialogue between members of every community.


Symposium Details

Monday, November 17, 2014

11:00 -12:00              Registration

12:00-1:30                 Opening keynote/lunch with Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here coalition founder Beau Beausoleil

1:45-3:15                   Book Artists as Social Change Agents with Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here coalition artists. Artist panel with Art Historian, Nada Shabout (University of North Texas).

3:15-3:30                   Break

3:30-5:00                   The Power of Art to Serve a Lasting and Activist Role with local artists engaged in social activism, including Karen Baldner, Anila Agha, Barbara Hosein, Nina Ardery.

5:15-7:00                   Gallery talk with Beau Beausoliel. Reception and poetry readings.

7:00-8:30                   IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute presentation featuring Palestinian-American author Randa Jarrar (register for this event here)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

8:00                            Registration

8:30-10:00                 Iraqi Women: Aesthetics and Politics in a Time of War. Community breakfast & talk by international scholar Nadje Al-Ali of the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies.

10:00-10:15               Break

10:15-11:00                 A History of the Writing in the Middle East and North Africa 

11:00-11:15               Break

11:15-12:00               The Role of the Libraries to Preserve Culture, moderated by Dean David Lewis of the IUPUI University Library.

12:30-1:00                 Closing