Abdulkerim Pusat

Creative Institutionalism in the Kurdish Diaspora

This research project explores art and cultural initiatives’ potential to reimagine transnational institutions and ways of being together in the context of the Kurdish diaspora. Divided into separate groups, Kurds have little space in their homeland to engage in cultural activities that are expressive of their political identity. Instead, the Kurdish diaspora in Europe has produced a flourishing of social and cultural initiatives. Examining these diaspora initiatives by way of a transnational approach, the proposed project will shed light on how migrants and refugees creatively experiment with building institutions that cross national borders and produce transnational linkages as they relate to multiple states. A number of artists are active within the various communities of the Kurdish diaspora experimenting with different, creative forms of welfare and service provision, in connection with a Kurdish transnational civil society but also artists and cultural institutions of the host countries. There are many Kurdish associations, culture centres, community centres, and various institutes in European countries. The activities of a wave of new artists intersect with community organizing by committed citizens and cultural producers across the diaspora; women play a key role in this organisational work. How do Kurdish artists fleeing from authoritarian states recreate social networks and structures of community support and cultural production and ultimately produce politics by cultural means? This project investigates creative institutionalisms in different sites of the Kurdish diaspora—and how such cultural initiatives connect Kurds across the social spaces they inhabit.nal outlook.