Skip to main content
Black-and-white photo of three men posing in three narrow alcoves of a stone building. Text overlaid reads: The Majlis Symposium.

Film still from The Stone Carvers, directed by Marjorie Hunt and Paul Wagner, 1984

Image courtesy of Caravane Earth

  • Folklife Curator to Present at Venice Biennale Architecture Symposium

    Caravane Earth, INTBAU, and the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage are collaborating on a four-day symposium that will take place in Venice, Italy, at the Majlis exhibition from October 13 to 16. It will address the theme of the Venice Biennale 2021—How Will We Live Together?—by approaching the question from a range of perspectives related to traditional and vernacular architecture, and the lives and livelihoods of craft artisans and their contributions to communities.

    The symposium will take place at Caravane Earth’s The Majlis: A Meeting Place. The exhibition, which is hosted by the Abbazia di San Giorgio Maggiore, is not only a celebration of craftsmanship and vernacular architecture; it is an example of cultural exchange, community building, and sustainable construction. The symposium will include presentations and roundtable discussions with experts from various fields, addressing the contemporary challenges of living in a changing climate, the preservation of traditional crafts and ways of life, and the cities of the future. 

    Speakers will include INTBAU executive director Harriet Wennberg, Yasmeen Lari from INTBAU Pakistan, Folklife curator Marjorie Hunt, Rashad Salim from Safina Projects, and Yannick Lintz, director of Islamic Arts of the Musée du Louvre. Another critical topic will be restoration and conservation: Dr Marie Eve Didier (RestART Beirut) will speak on restoration challenges in Beirut and take part in a discussion with Syrian architect Dr. Marwa Al-Sabouni. INTBAU Italy will also be presenting on post-disaster reconstruction of Amatrice, a town devastated by a powerful earthquake in 2016.

    On October 15, Marjorie Hunt present a free in-person screening of her Academy Award-winning documentary The Stone Carvers, produced with the support of the Center in 1984, followed by a Q&A.

    All presentations and roundtables will be made available to the public after the symposium. Those interested in attending can reserve tickets online.

    About INTBAU

    INTBAU is a global network dedicated to creating better places to live through traditional building, architecture, and urbanism. Founded in 2001 by HRH The Prince of Wales, INTBAU has since gained over thirty international chapters and 8,000 members. Its mission is to support traditional building and the maintenance of local character in communities worldwide through workshops, summer schools, study tours, conferences, awards, and competitions.

    About Caravane Earth

    Caravane Earth is an international foundation with a mission to seed, practice, and promote ethical entrepreneurship and wellbeing through art, craft, architecture, agriculture, and education. They work toward positive systemic impact in social, cultural, and ecological realms. Based on principles of sustainable development, Caravane Earth supports craftspeople and strives to preserve distinct material cultures of West Asia and North Africa, introduces permaculture in extreme climatic conditions of the region, enhances its connectedness, and enables its participation in numerous intercultural dialogues.

    About The Majlis: A Meeting Place

    The Majlis hosts an exhibition that responds to the theme of the Biennale, How Will We Live Together? Showcasing artworks and rare artifacts from the Dutch National Museum of World Cultures in the Netherlands and Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum in Qatar, as well as several other important collections, the project presents a platform for transnational and transhistorical exchange. At its core is The Majlis itself: a bamboo structure designed by Simón Vélez and Stefana Simić, with tent panels made of pure wool by Ahmed Chmitti and the women weavers of Boujad. The Majlis stands in the midst of the garden designed and planted by the landscape architect Todd Longstaffe-Gowan.


  • Support the Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, sustainability projects, educational outreach, and more.

    .