Fogo Island

Belonging to a Place

July, 2013
Fogo Island Inn, Fogo Island

Islands have long been considered laboratories for the study of evolution. Their restricted scale, isolation, and clear boundaries create unique selective pressures. As such, the requirements to maintain, renew and preserve the realities of every island will be unique—a logic that extends to the idea of rural locations in general. 

Urban renewal has been widely discussed, while rural renewal has only gained some momentum as a point of interest. Local knowledge—including nature as a source of information—traditions and heritage all fall within its rubric of preservation. While local traditions may be threatened in many communities around the world, the speed with which they face extinction in rural areas is accelerated by the real threat of depopulation and resettlement, and a seemingly concomitant focus on investment in urban areas. What are the implications of this phenomenon of global urbanization for rural populations? And for the knowledge, traditions, and heritage that are specific to each location? 

Acknowledging the urgency of these questions, the inaugural edition of the Fogo Island Dialogues considered whether islands can still be said to exist or whether they have been subsumed into the territory of globalism through increased flows of communication, connectivity, corporatism, and travel. Is this a new Pangaea? Or has globalization made us all (islanders, metropolitans, and everyone in-between) insular? Do our communities become more defined when viewed through the eyes of others? As such, are the challenges facing islands, or more broadly, rural communities, all that different from those in urban centres? In addition, what exactly is being preserved and by whose authority? Perhaps local knowledge isn’t relevant or exportable to other sites. At what point does tradition become history? 

Belonging to a Place, was the first international and interdisciplinary conference in the Fogo Island Dialogues series, and brought together key thinkers, arts professionals, academics, economists, geographers, planners, and architects to discuss issues related to the livelihood and renewal of rural locations. While the topics addressed by the speakers were international in scope, the discussion took its focus to Fogo Island as the site of an ambitious rural renewal project, and as an inspiration and catalyst for the exploration and understanding of other locations. Using the idea of an island as a metaphor for any rural locale, the concept of the island-as-laboratory was tested through dialogue. 

Fogo Island Dialogues: Belonging to a Place wascurated by Amira Gad, Gareth Long, and Nicolaus Schafhausen. 

Fogo Island Dialogues 2013 Participants:

Erika Balsom

Lecturer in Film Studies at King’s College; London

Katie Bethune-Leamen

FIA artist-in-residence; Toronto

Paul Dean

Geologist; St. John’s

Mark Clintberg

FIA artist-in-residence; Montreal

Zita Cobb

Co-Founder, Shorefast and Fogo Island Arts; Fogo Island

Amira Gad 

Associate Curator, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art; Rotterdam

Fabrizio Gallanti

Associate Director, Programs, Canada Centre for Architecture; Montreal

Piero Golia

Artist; Los Angeles

Rosemary Heather

Director of Publications and Communications, Fogo Island Arts; Toronto

Janice Kerbel

FIA artist-in-residence; London

Gareth Long

Artist; London/Vienna

Tom McDonough 

Associate Professor and Chair, Art History, Binghamton University; NY

Lars Müller

Publisher; Baden

Silke Otto-Knapp

FIA artist-in-residence; London

Lívia Páldi 

Director, BAC-Baltic Art Center; Visby

Judy Radul 

Artist; Berlin

Simon Rees

Curator, MAK–Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst; Vienna

Dieter Roelstraete

Senior Curator, MCA; Chicago

Jerry Ropson

FIA artist-in-residence; Sackville

Nicolaus Schafhausen

Director, Kunsthalle Wien and Advisor Fogo Island Arts/ Shorefast; Vienna

Kitty Scott 

Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, The Art Gallery of Ontario; Toronto

Todd Saunders

Architect, Saunders Architecture; Bergen

Tobias Spichtig 

Artist; Zurich

Jack Stanley

Director of Programs, Fogo Island Arts; Fogo Island

Monika Szewczyk 

Visual Arts Program Curator, Logan Center for the Arts; Chicago


Related Content
Toronto, Belonging to a Place (19–20–21 July 2017)
Fogo Island, Belonging to a Place (19–21 July 2013)
Group Exhibition, Belonging to a Place (2017) (June 22, 2017 – September 23, 2017)
Group Exhibition, Belonging to a Place (2018) (February 15, 2018 - April 27, 2018)

Fogo Island Dialogues
Home Page