top of page


Curator: Dr Cüneyt Çakırlar (Nottingham Trent University, UK)


“I saw the House of Wisdom exhibition during the 15th Istanbul Biennial in 2017. Rather than mediating an urge to inform its audiences about the political drama of a particular geography, the project was prioritising its formal concerns and its post-gallery relational aesthetic expanding institutionalised spaces of art. There was a curatorial rigor in creating a fictive library that facilitates a platform for artists, curators, academics, cultural practitioners and art enthusiasts to exchange knowledge. Despite its regional political focus, the show was not serving for a spectacular drama of oppression or victimhood to appeal to a liberal humanitarian optic of the international art market. While the show was effectively engaging with the geopolitical intricacies of censorship and knowledge production, its formal flexibility and curatorial openness to the site-specific interventions was turning it into an experiment on cross-cultural mobility of arts. As an academic who teaches and produces research on the politics of intelligibility, interpretation and translation in film and contemporary arts, I wanted this experiment to take place in Nottingham too. While curating the public programme for House of Wisdom Nottingham, I wanted each event to be loyal to the curators’ passionate investments in their “mobile library/exhibition” and its conceptual flexibility. All practitioners I invited to this public programme engage critically with alternative spaces of knowledge production, political locations of memory, identity and affect in their practices of “documentation”, and most importantly, a relational, transnational aesthetics that expands its regional/national specificities. I am grateful to be part of this inspiring collaboration, the collective spirit of which managed to move beyond institutional and professional boundaries.” Cüneyt Çakırlar

Istanbul Queer Art Collective


Visiting Bibliophiles: Fellowship of Books


Tuna Erdem and Seda Ergul will visit Emeritus Professor of Gay and Lesbian Studies, Gregory Woods. Presenting their Just in Bookcase, they will have a conversation on book loving, queer archiving and memory. The video documentation of this event will be available after the performance.


















3 October 2018 Wednesday


Prof. Wendy Shaw (Freie Universität, Berlin, Germany)


Islam in the River of Wisdoms


Modern celebrations of the 8th century library House of Wisdom in Baghdad often paint it as the symbol of an Islamic golden age: a shining light of the East against the dark ages of the medieval West; and a shining light of the past against the dark ages of modern associations between Islam and terror. But history is much more complex. More than a single institution, the House of Wisdom was a practice of transcultural transition and layered translation, where antique philosophy rejected by Christian Rome persisted through the funnel of Sassanian Iran and informed a nascent Islam hungry for knowledge, regardless of origin. It calls on us to imagine not a golden age of Islam as distinct from its surroundings, but as part and parcel of late antique cultures whose overwhelming interest in discovering truth is all too often erased in our modern concern for authenticity. Situating the House of Wisdom not as a golden age of Islam but as a transcultural inheritance, this talk explores how the early Islamic state enriched its coffers of wisdom through recognizing the value of knowledge regardless of nation or creed. Focusing on music, epics, and fables, it looks at practices of internalization at the heart of early Islam that modernity has all too often forgotten.


Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, 14a Long Row, Nottingham NG1 2DH

Time: 19:00-21:00





10 October 2018 Wednesday


Misal Adnan Yıldız (ASA Berlin, Germany)


A Feeling of Loss: Mutterzunge


Misal Adnan Yıldız will present a lecture, which is based on his curatorial project entitled Mutterzunge. The project is composed of seven chapters and it engages in conversations with the book of the same name by Berlin-based author Emine Sevgi Özdamar. Yıldız’s research draws upon mostly primary sources including studio visits and interviews with the author and participating artists, research and production notes, as well as everyday life anecdotes focusing on politics of silence, feeling of loss and biographies of transition. Presenting several new productions from Mutterzunge’s Berlin programme, the lecture will look at recent works of Şener Özmen, Mehtap Baydu, Mohammad Salemy among others with critical questions about the close connections between the global memory, transnational dynamics and how to narrate social changes within personal traumas.


Venue: Primary, Reading Room, 33 Seely Road, Nottingham NG7 3FZ

Time: 18:00-20:00

17 October 2018 Wednesday


Film Screening (introduced by Cüneyt Çakırlar, NTU)

Gürcan Keltek’s Colony (2015)


The sun rises at the Beşparmak Mountains. The autonomous Missing Persons Committee is conducting excavations at these mountains along with scientists and undercover witnesses. Skeletons will be exhumed and delivered to the families. The ghosts of unopened mass graves wander in evacuated villages, valleys. 'Colony' is a film about psychogeography, the memory of landscape, trauma and remembrance.


Venue: BON143, Bonington, Nottingham Trent University, Dryden Street, Nottingham NG1 4GG

Time: 18:00-20:00



22 October 2018 Monday


Dr Aylin Kuryel (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands)

UPLEFTER: Workshop on Political Depression


Over the years, we have witnessed, across cities and groups, a decrease in the motivation to act together and the belief in the possibility of influencing change, especially after right-wing victories and internal conflicts within the left. Political depression might induce feeling of anxiety and hopelessness and can lead to nostalgia, sarcasm and eventually cynicism. It is a less personal but more collective experience, which is not adequately and collectively addressed. The aim of this workshop is helping contextualise political depression, rather than isolating it as a personal and negative feeling that should be gotten rid of. It will provide a platform on which we will contemplate on the diverse but related reasons behind political depression and attempt to find various ways to deal with it and act upon it. With the participation of people from diverse backgrounds, following a set of questions prepared in advance, it will allow a debate on political depression as an affective condition that influences the ways in which we relate to ourselves and others.


Venue: BON146, Bonington, Nottingham Trent University, Dryden Street, Nottingham NG1 4GG

Time: 18:00-20:00




















24 October 2018 Wednesday


Exhibition Walkthrough with Mine Kaplangı & Cüneyt Çakırlar

Meeting Point: Bonington Gallery (entrance), NTU, Dryden Street, Nottingham NG1 4GG

Time: 13:00-15:00



24 October 2018 Wednesday


Film Screening (introduced by Cüneyt Çakırlar, NTU)

Shevaun Mizrahi’s Distant Constellations (2017)


This haunted reverie drops us inside an Istanbul retirement home, where the battle-scarred residents bask in the camera’s attention. A creaky- voiced woman confides her personal account of the Armenian genocide. A sweetly deluded pianist performs a composition before confessing his love. A blind photographer fiddles with his flash as he points his own camera back at us. Shevaun Mizrahi’s playful, immaculately controlled film finds hypnotizing rhythms in the residents’ limbo-like state. Meanwhile, outside, ominous construction equipment transforms the land.

Venue: BON143, Bonington, Nottingham Trent University, Dryden Street, Nottingham NG1 4GG

Time: 18:00-20:00



The public programme events for the House of Wisdom Nottingham are sponsored by School of Arts and Humanities, Nottingham Trent University. The programme is also supported by Bonington Gallery, Primary, Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature, and Bromley House Library.

bottom of page