Moroccan Racines was established in 2010 by a group of cultural and human rights activists. The organization advocates and campaign for cultural development in Morocco and Africa, and is the National Chapter of Arterial Network. Racines is a good example og a typical service provider to the arts- and cultural sector.
Racines is part of the collective running “La Fabrique culturelle des anciens abattoirs de Casablanca”, an old and abandoned slaughterhouse being converted into a cultural space for urban and contemporary arts. This space aims to provide a dedicated place for the artists to create, train and promote their work.
-The activities of Racines revolve around four major axes, explains cofounder and treasurer Dounia Benslimane. -We are concerned with raising awareness and do this through our monthly event “Les Mercredi de Racines”, which is public and open debates concerning various cultural issues. In 2013 we are organizing our third edition and since the municipal elections are coming up soon this edition will be dedicated to cultural strategy of the main political parties and their focus on culture in their political programs.
The Moroccan organization is also involved in campaigns and advocacy. About a year ago Racines started a national campaign concerning the copyrights' situation in Morocco, in collaboration with artists and other local partners (EAC L'Boulevart, Basata productions). The campaign has successfully mobilized all stakeholders around a reform of the Moroccan Office of Copyrights, headed by the Ministry of Communication, which took over the reform and show great interest in structuring and professionalize the copyright management in the country.
Capacity building is another
service Racines is involved with.
-We organized a seven month course of training for technical support and management in the performing arts in 2011. The training was set up with support of the European Union and in partnership with RAUQS, a local association based in a marginalized area. 30 candidates attended the training.
From 2012 to 2014 Racines’ participating in the implementation of a continental program of training and capacity building held by the African Arts Institute in South Africa. This is being done in partnership with four regional organizations, to reinforce the cultural leadership and governance in Africa.
One of the main objectives of Racines
work as a civil society organization is to advocate and lobby for a cultural
policy in Morocco.
- After a year of existence we decided to initiate a cultural policy project called
"Diagnostic and inventory of arts and culture in Morocco: towards the General Statements of Culture". This project will be conducted in partnership with the research Centre for Social, Economic and Managerial Studies (CESEM) in Rabat and with the support of Mimeta, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the British Council and the Ministry of Culture. The main aims are to provide a detailed mapping of the Moroccan arts stakeholders, to organize meetings and discussions at regional and national levels with audiences and professionals, and in the end proposing a draft of cultural policy to the Government.
Racines is involved in the work for freedom of expression for artists, both with the continental Artwatch Africa project through Arterial Network, and locally, with the collective "Culture Libre" that denounces all forms of censorship and pressure on the arts and culture.
Dounia Benslimane is very optimistic about the
future of the cultural sector in Morocco.
-We are facing a lot of challenges related to the social and political context, but we believe that changes will happen if we keep working hard, if we keep following our goals and using good tools to reach them.