The Dialogues are an initiative of Fogo Island Arts, a contemporary art institution located on Fogo Island, off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. The inaugural edition of the Dialogues took place at the Fogo Island Inn (19–20–21 July 2013), looking at the notion of belonging to a place, bringing together 25 professionals from different disciplines. The second edition of the Dialogues titled Culture as Destination took place at the MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art in Vienna (17–19 November 2013), and considered the topic of Culture as Destination. These events were curated by Amira Gad (Managing Curator, Witte de With;Rotterdam); Gareth Long (Artist; London/Vienna); Nicolaus Schafhausen (Director, Kunsthalle Wien and Advisor to Fogo Island Arts/Shorefast Foundation; Vienna).
Moving forward, the Fogo Island Dialogues will continue with events held in different locations, hosted by international institutions that bring together keynote speakers from a variety of disciplines, from economics and sustainability to art and architecture.
Each edition of the Dialogues focuses on how art can influence social change, exploring the role that art and artists can play in such initiatives. While the topics addressed by invited speakers are international, the discussion will take as its focus Fogo Island, the current site of an ambitious rural renewal project. The Fogo Island Dialogues will refer to the example of Fogo Island as 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 is tested through dialogue.