Local Encounters for Intercontinental Exchange

1st DECONFINING hybrid Conference 6 September 2023, Goethe-Institut Madrid + Online
Languages: Spanish, English, and French (with simultaneous translation)


Meaning literally ‘next to the end’ (cum-fine), the terminus confines alludes to the proximity to the other – it describes the end of the boundaries that surround the subject and separate it from the other. The purpose of the project Deconfining Arts, Culture and Policies in Europe and Africa can already be found in the literal nuance of the prefix de-, which prevents the confines from being, from limiting the relationship between the two continents, which can hardly be defined as fair or equal. The aim of the Deconfining project is to develop a reference practice between Europe and Africa for sustainable, fair intercontinental cultural exchange. The project wants to contribute to a better understanding of confinement patterns from an intercontinental perspective, with a view to an inclusive future in which new narratives can be built.

The first DECONFINING Conference at the Goethe-Institut Madrid will focus on the territorial and spatial nuance of the confinement pattern from the point of view of the African and EU/ropean Relations. On the one hand, three different panel discussions will take place: the focus will be on the present time, in the current intercontinental connections (networks, artistic co-creation projects), but also on the future, critically discussing possibilities and challenges of network building, especially in terms of geographic and spatial deconfining patterns. On the other hand, the Conference in Madrid wants to be also an occasion where new connections can be made, through informal networking moments, and also where local artistic practices can be a starting point for reflection and exchange on intercontinental relations. The presentation of participatory workshops organized by the artist in residence Ibaaku with boys and girls from the periphery of Madrid and a closing concert by the singer Astrid Jones are part of the multifaceted concept of the DECONFINING Conference.


DECONFINING Conference Program

  • Please note that the programme and times are according to Central European Time.
  • 10:30-11:00 (CET) Arrival of participants and welcome coffee
  • 11:00-11:15 (CET) Welcome by the host Institution as well as the organizers
  • 11:15-11:45 (CET) Opening statement by El Hadj Souleymane Gassama (know as Elgas) (writer / essayist): "Confiner le ressentiment, éloge de la complémentarité"
  • 12:00-13:30 (CET) Panel discussion: "Territoriality and network. How can we contribute to a better local-to-local connection?"
  • 13:30-14:30 (CET) Lunch
  • 14:30-16:00 (CET) Panel discussion: "Multiple identities and plural narratives. From the artists’ perspective"
  • 16:00-16:30 (CET) Presentation participatory workshops (organized by Ibaaku, artist in residence)
  • 16:30-18:30 (CET) Networking coffee / aperitivo with pitch of organizations / artists in the garden
  • 19:00-20:30 (CET) Final panel discussion: "Overcoming disconnections: new narratives and the (re)connection of EU/African and inter-African relations. A talk about follow-up actions in the areas of policy and culture"
  • 21:00-22:00 (CET) Concert by Astrid Jones

Read more about the panels below


About the panels

Territoriality and network. How can we contribute to a better local-to-local connection?

  • With: Alejandro de Los Santos (expert in cultural markets/relations Europa-Africa); Eddie Hatitye (Director of Music in Africa); Carole Diop (architect, Afrikaada)
  • Moderated by: Antonia Blau, Director of Goethe-Institut Madrid 

A debate between cultural and artistic managers working in networks in Africa and Europe. The aim of this panel is, on the one hand, to share knowledge of existing African-European and the inter-African networks, their needs and challenges. On the other hand, the panel will also be an opportunity to discuss new ways of improving African-European relations, with the aim of identifying what is missing for well-functioning networks between the two continents.


Multiple identities and plural narratives. From the artists’ perspective.

  • With: Ibaaku ExStaz (musician, artist in residence at Goethe-Institut Madrid), Elgas (writer/sociologist), Astrid Jones (singer and actress)
  • Moderated by: Vydia Tamby, cultural advisor to the Mayor of Dakar

The second panel will focus on the permeability of intercontinental borders made possible by artistic production and the exchange between a plurality of (personal, artistic) identities and the (co-)existence of multiple narratives. How can the layers of (our) multiple identities contribute to the perception of the relationship between Europe and Africa?


Overcoming disconnections: new narratives and the (re)connection of EU/African and inter-African relations.

  • With: Donato Ndongo (historian /writer / journalist), Sana Ouchtati (Cultural Relations Platform), François Bouda (Arts Program Officer, Africa no Filter)
  • Moderated by: Sylvia Amman, policy adviser/EU expert inforelais

Linking the intercontinental with the local, this panel will contextualize current Africa-EU/Europe relations through the following three points of view: the Spanish/Equatorial Guinean, the EUropean and the inter-African. The aim of this local-intercontinental exchange is to serve as a basis for the formulation of political and cultural recommendations, in order not only to improve Europe-Africa relations, but also to critically discuss unresolved issues in both local and intercontinental contexts.

We look forward to connecting with you!

Let’s talk about deconfining: hello@deconfining.eu