A cultural setting for creativity and debate
The Institut des Cultures d’Islam enables Parisians to discover and immerse themselves in Islamic cultures in Paris and elsewhere by valorising their historical heritage and the diversity of everyday life. Whether this means evoking October 17th 1961 in a neighbourhood that was so affected by the events of that day, or questioning New York Muslims ten years after September 11th, or celebrating Senegal and Dakar, Turkey and its dervishes, India and Pakistan, Northern Africa and Kabylie… reflecting together on the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia or providing a platform for Syrians to express themselves. The Institut des Cultures d’Islam is a place for creation, spreading knowledge and dialogue. The horizons are broad and diverse: gnawa or punk? Contemporary dance or hip-hop? Shorts or feature films? Band or karaoke? Theatre or stand-up? Essay or novel? Workshop or year-round course? Photography or fine art? The ICI’s programme covers a wide range of disciplines, with exhibitions, artistic installations, concerts, live shows, screenings, literary brunches and guided tours of the neighbourhood and workshops. It is also a place of learning, providing language lessons and courses on the Islamic arts. The high point of the cultural programme is the Festival des Cultures d’Islam (Festival of Islamic Cultures), an annual event that in September 2014 will celebrate its 9th edition. The Institut des Cultures is a meeting place and a place for dialogue: everyone is welcome at the ICI where artists and art-lovers meet and converse whether they are believers of any faith, atheists or agnostics, Parisians or foreigners in Paris, local inhabitants of this multi-coloured, working class neighbourhood or visitors from very different areas… The ICI deals with issues that combine the aesthetic and the social, thus providing a platform for multiple modes of expression that, for example, led to The Goutte d’Or!, a photography exhibition of work by Martin Parr, La prière de l’Absent, a piece by Majida Khattari or more recently, an exhibition entitled La voie du Baye Fall by Fabrice Monteiro. As a space for debate and research as well as intellectual production, the ICI makes sure the cultural and scientific programming works together so as to encourage exchange on questions that arise about Islam in Europe and throughout the world. A particularity of the project will see the ICI Goutte d’Or and, eventually the ICI Barbès install a privately financed prayer room in addition to the cultural facilities. The choice to combine a place of culture with a place of worship is in line with the spirit of the entire project which places dialogue and mutual respect at the heart of its identity and the strict respect of secularity.
A project at the heart of the Goutte d’Or neighbourhood and Paris itself
The Institut des Cultures d’Islam is a neighbourhood cultural location. And what a neighbourhood! And because we are dealing with Barbès and the Goutte d’Or, making noise is part of the package. Through the recognition of the history of this area, from the “sans-papiers” of Saint Bernard to the vineyards and the Château Rouge ball, from the “Rue Myrha”, the artists and creators to the shared gardens and the bowling green, from the Olympic Café and the Virgin Barbès (that went on to become Gibert Joseph) to Kata, the Louxor cinema, to the Centre Musical Barbara via the Femen movement… the ICI both transforms and preserves the sacred neighbourhood in which it is welcomed. Established in a working class neighbourhood, it brings culture to a population that is often deprived of such access by not charging an entry fee to exhibitions and some big events. Rooting the establishment in the neighbourhood and developing local actions with associations and city policy-makers provides a natural opening to this new audience on a daily basis. As the culture of the neighbourhood forms the basis of the ICI. The ICI also has a strong social dimension: local young people are encouraged to participate in the project and neighbourhood associations and clubs are hosted which boosts the sense of ownership of the establishment by the locals. This initiative creates a relationship of trust with the local population which leads to their participation in the ICI project in different ways: themed tours of the neighbourhood, shared events with the vital, buzzing forces of the Goutte d’Or and the 18th arrondissement (Fête de la Goutte d’Or, Fête des Vendanges de Montmartre, Festival Rhizomes, Paris Quartier d’Art…). On a Parisian level, the establishment contributes to initiatives such as the Nuit Blanche, foreign cultural seasons in Paris, etc. The ICI also takes part in the highlights of the national and European cultural calendar (Fête de la musique, Nuit des Musées, European Heritage Days…). In addition, it is currently developing collaborative efforts with establishments abroad that share the same objectives, some of which have been put into practice notably during the eight editions of the Festival des Cultures d’Islam. The Institut des Cultures d’Islam today is a place filled with life and creativity.
Designed by Ateliers Lion Associés, with architects Yves Lion and David Jolly, the ICI Goutte d’Or and the ICI Barbès, complement one another in terms of facilities and in the long term will constitute two phases of the same architectural project. The circulation between the two locations reflects the spirit of dialogue that is the imprint of the ICI. The facade of the ICI Goutte d’Or, that opened its doors on November 28th 2013, is a modern-day moucharabieh (North African lattice) that gives on to the public space. The pools of light that run through the building are reminiscent of Mediterranean dwellings. Light also comes in through the facade and the skylights, providing the building with its purity and clarity.
The convivial layout of the ICI Goutte d’Or is on five levels, spread out as follows:
- Ground floor: Reception and exhibition space that can also cater for small-scale concerts or cultural events. This space also houses a cooking workshop and a small cafe creating a place of passage and exchange. The L-shaped patio opens out onto a pool of light that reaches the upper floors.
- 1st floor: a prayer room that can be accessed by a dedicated stairwell, is next to the transition and ablution spaces. This space was acquired by the Société des Habous et Lieux Saints de l’Islam, on plans and with an administrative emphyteutic lease.
- 2nd floor: three teaching and exhibition rooms are spread over this level that is dedicated to the establishment’s cultural programme. The south-facing outside balcony area is accessible, extending the conviviality spaces and workshops.
- 3rd floor: the office and administration of the Institut des Cultures d’Islam are on this floor spread between the new space and the ICI Léon building.
- Basement: the basement houses a 277 m2 hammam, with a little tea room and a space for treatments. Designed as a cross between the traditional hammam and a more contemporary architectural design, this space is absolutely in line with the ICI’s cultural identity.
Since October 2006, the Institut des Cultures d’Islam project has had the use of a preliminary site at 19 rue Léon, in the 18th arrondissement in Paris. This 500 m2 space enabled the development of a number of cultural projects and helped the ICI gain a foothold in the local Goutte d’Or community and in Paris.
The space has held many exhibitions and shows, the highlights include:
- September 2008, 2009 and 2010: Les Veillées du Ramadan (Evening gatherings during Ramadan)
- February 2011: The Goutte d’Or! L’Institut des Cultures d’Islam invite Martin Parr
- September 2011: “Islam & the City” Festival
- June 2012: “#Libertés!” Festival
- September 2012: “Viva l’Algérie à Paris! Festival”
- June 2013: An exhibition by schoolchildren from Aubervilliers – Goutte d’Or, des territoires en mouvement
- September 2013: Par ICI Dakar Festival!
It is also the location of the Café d’ICI, which is run by La Table ouverte, which welcomes customers inside or outside on the patio with local and varied cuisine. The welcoming tables, outdoor patio area and local and varied cuisine make the café d’ICI a unique spot in the Goutte d’Or neighbourhood. It is managed by the collective La Table Ouverte and Rachid and his team run the cafe providing jobs for local youths and support to the elderly. Its local and varied cuisine, daily specials and homemade desserts are perfect for a quick snack or a more formal lunch appointment. The café d’ICI is open Monday to Saturday from 9:00 to 18:00.
Board of Management
The ICI has the status of association and as such has a Board of Management.
The Board members:
- President: Bariza Khiari
- Vice-Présidente: Nacira Guénif-Souilamas
- Secretary: Naïl Bouricha
- Treasurer: Khaled Abichou
Representants of the City of Paris, 18th district and Department of Paris :
- The Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo or her representative
- The Mayor of the 18th district, Eric Lejoindre or his representative
- A representative from the Department of Paris: Daniel Vaillant
- Four representatives from the Ville de Paris: Ian Brossat, Pierre-Yves Bournazel, Pascal Julien and Fadila Mehal
- L’Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, represented by its President, Hubert Bost, or his representative
- Le Musée du Louvre, represented by Yannick Lintz, Head of Arts of Islam department directrice du département des arts de l’Islam
And three qualified personalities:
- Sarah Clément, General delegate of Génériques
- Souhayr Belhassen, Honorary President of FIDH
- Diane Dufour, Director of BAL
The Team of ICI:
- Elsa Jacquemin, General Manager
- Etienne Charasson, Technic Director
- Blanca Perez, Head of mediation and public relations
- David Régnier, Head of communication
- Elsa Blanc, Production coordinator
- Taous Guerchouh, Development coordinator
- Younes Rezzouki, Mediation and public relations coordinator
- Elhame Teboul, Accountant
- Patrice Laporte, Technician
- Adrien Gogois, Technician
- Mohamed Tagri, Receptionist
- Leila Prost-Romand Receptionist
- Fodé Minte, Receptionist