Recent spasms of activism (throughout the world) and massive governmental reform has brought great change to the GCC countries in the creative sectors in terms of trying to breach the gap of representation, recognition, and value, as well as in terms of openness, conversations, and communications. How have these changes impacted the cultural ecosystem and specifically the art world? With more diverse voices being heard, do we have different exhibitions and curatorial discourses? Does gender impact the input and the outcome? It is interesting to ask these questions, to pause and ponder the process of the systemic change we are experiencing: where are we on its timeline? What have we learned and what still needs to be done? If there is such a thing as ‘gendered perspective on culture,' how does it function and translate into the everyday art world, within the realm of museums, institutions, curators, and artists?
Center for Middle East Studies
Alia Al-Senussi PhD is a cultural strategist, writer, patron, public speaker, and academic. As an active member of the contemporary art world, she has for many years been connecting museums, institutions, art professionals, and artists, from the Middle East, the UK, Europe, and Asia with the aim of growing cultural ecosystems. For more than a decade, some of her focus has been dedicated to integrating Saudi Arabia’s cultural sector into the international art world. This has been achieved by bringing many international figures from the art world to Saudi Arabia, thereby establishing ongoing cultural ties, and most recently with the highly celebrated inaugural edition of the Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale launched in December 2021 which Al-Senussi was integral in creating and producing.
Al-Senussi is a member of the Tate Modern Advisory Council (London), the Strategic Advisory Panel of the Delfina Foundation (London), the Board of Trustees of The Showroom (London), Ikon Gallery (UK), the Board of Trustees of FUNTASIA/Elisa Sednaoui Foundation (UK / Egypt / Italy), the Board of Governors of Aiglon College (Switzerland) as well as a member of Therme Advisory Board (Germany) and the UCCA Contemporary Circle (China).
She continues to serve as a founding member of the Tate's Acquisitions Committee for the Middle East and North Africa, the Board of 1:54 The African Art Fair, and the Middle East Circle of the Guggenheim, the Middle East Studies Advisory Committee at Brown University, as well as the Board of Patrons of Art Dubai, having played an integral role in the founding of the fair.
Alia Al-Senussi has a PhD in politics from SOAS (London), in which she examines the nexus of power and cultural patronage, featuring Saudi Arabia as a case study. She graduated Magna Cum Laude in International Relations (honors) and Middle East Studies from Brown University and holds an MA in Political Science from Brown and an MSc in Law, Anthropology, and Society from the London School of Economics.