Manifesta 12 to be hosted in Palermo

Manifesta and the City of Palermo, Italy are proud to announce that the 12th edition of Manifesta in 2018 will take place in Palermo and will start a pre-biennial program.


The City of Palermo was important for Manifesta’s selection board for its representation of two important themes that identify contemporary Europe: migration and climate changes and how these issues impact our cities. The multi-layered and deeply condensed history of Palermo – being occupied by almost every European civilization and having long-term connections with Northern Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean over the last 2000 years – has left its traces throughout this multi-cultural society at the heart of the Mediterranean area.

Hedwig Fijen, Manifesta Director:

“Manifesta 12 in Palermo is a great challenge to rethink how far cultural interventions can play a role in helping re-shaping one of the most iconic Mediterranean crossroads in our history as part of a long term transformation process. Manifesta 12 will raise questions such as: “Who owns the city of Palermo?” and “how to claim back the city?“ The city’s migration problems are symbolic of the far wider crisis situation which the whole of Europe is facing right now.”

Leoluca Orlando, Mayor of Palermo:

“Manifesta 12 in Palermo in 2018 will be a fantastic opportunity for the city to reinvigorate its local and international identity. It is a moment for Europe to appreciate the significance of its Mediterranean dimension and identity: Palermo brings Manifesta to the Mediterranean and the Mediterranean to Europe. Manifesta 12 is an opportunity to celebrate Palermo for what it really is: a laboratory for the humanities, arts and culture. The city will be able to renew itself and pave a way for its future.”

Manifesta 12’s main ambition is to work in a truly interdisciplinary way with local communities in order to rethink the basic architectural, urban, economic, social and cultural structures of the city. Manifesta 12 can investigate how great the role of cultural intervention can be in allowing the Palermitani citizens to take back ownership of their city. Manifesta 12 in Palermo can act as a grass-root incubator supporting the local communities with cultural interventions: this will help to rethink the city in their socio-economical and cultural structures and will use the existing informal profile of the city to act as a platform for social change.

The next steps for the Manifesta 12 team in 2015 are – according to Director Hedwig Fijen – the implementation of the organisational framework for M12 to work within city and to create a structure in which Manifesta 12 can imbed its ideas within the local communities and continue the work they have already done. The interdisciplinary context in which Manifesta 12 will operate requires the nomination of a specialized team of creative mediators who can realize the ambition of rethinking the City of Palermo from a multiple range of perspectives. The nomination of the creative team is expected in the beginning of 2016, in order to allow them to work for the full 2,5 years in advance of the opening of the biennial in 2018.

The upcoming pre-biennial program will start in building the process for a sustainable theoretical framework and will set out the parameters of the city’s revitalisation process. In this phase, Manifesta would like to activate the communities of Palermo in the identification of its mission statement and objectives, as well as the challenges, expectations and outcomes of Manifesta 12.

Download the English pressrelease or the Italian pressrelease