Hisan Al-Tin, Cheval de Boue, Ateyyat El Abnoudy, video still, 1971

Shehrazade Mahassini



Intersectional curatorial practices and space production

in the MENA Region

This PhD research will showcase the deep entanglement between curatorial practices, space production, and the permanent, resulting narratives, discourses and imageries. Moreover, the research focuses on intersectional curatorial practices in North Africa, the Middle East and SouthWest Asia, questioning and reshaping regional knowledge production. How do intersectional curatorial practices influence knowledge production and, thus, spaceproduction in the MENA region? To what extent may it redefine the references and narratives used in the region? The representation of spaces almost always generates an instant creation of imageries. In manycases, it reminds us of who has the power to narrate the stories of “the other,” making “theother” the very core of the storytelling and its curation. This unfolding imagery embraces thelogic of the established power structure, silencing the existing space in production – assimilatingit to standards and rules originally never made and often incompatible with the region’s climatic,geographic, social and cultural present imperatives.

Addressing and urging the uncurated to be curated is also questioning curatorial practices withno voices and perspectives rooted in the region and still producing diverse formats of knowledge such as exhibitions, films, and venues about the “others”. Positioning the curation in a kind ofvoyeuristic practice detached from the realities of human existence.

It is not only about the voices and the unheard stories of marginalised groups but itsrepercussions on the social values and spatial organisation “otherness” shapes around “them”and, therefore, their existence, visibility and representation in the public realm – it is about thelegitimacy of their existence itself and the articulation of their habitus to be part or not of thecollective urban and architectural discourse.
How, then, it simultaneously shapes the space production in the region from urban developmentof cities, land use and landscapes, the architectural typologies, to the domestic realm of housingand spaces of care, is essential to dissect the intricacy between curatorial practices and spaceproduction, and to an extent rediscover anew forgotten practices and generate new ones in thesense of co-creation, co-dependencies, hybridity – enabling heterotopias to articulate themselvesand shape the unfettered narratives of the present in permanent evolution.

Currently, the four themes seminal to the research are Desert, gardens, oases, landscapes and the production of identity – Landscape architecture;Colonial / post-colonial time and urban apartheid – Urbanism; Colonial / post-colonial territories, construction and technologies – Materials of construction;Domesticity and its architecture: spaces of care – Architecture typologies.


Shehrazade is a German-Moroccan architect. After her studies at the Bauhaus University Weimar, she worked in Cologne, Berlin, London, and Zurich. In 2022, she founded studio:institute, believing in a practice that includes critical and transdisciplinary research where the intersectional lens on the built environment helps explore new typologies – between representation, negotiation, and appropriation. Her practice also aims to connect Rabat, London, and Zurich. Parallel to her practice, Shehrazade is a teaching assistant at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne – EPFL. Embedded in post/colonial studies, Arab and Afro-feminism, her research aims to create a new narrative and questions the historicity of space production in former colonies and how it relates to segregated urban spaces in contemporary Western society.


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Ines Weizman