‘On the Edgware Road’ was the gallery manifestation of The Edgware Road Project (a.k.a. The Centre for Possible Studies), an ongoing research and residency programme. Initiated in 2009 by the Serpentine Gallery’s former Head of Programmes, Sally Tallant, with Janna Graham and Amal Khalaf, among many others, the project developed out of the four-year collaboration ‘Dis-assembly’ (2002–06), which was run between the Serpentine and a fading community school near the Edgware Road area that lies to the north of Hyde Park.
The current project was inspired by Tallant’s desire to engage with a specific location for a longer period than is typically allowed for by a conventional exhibition or public programme. The choice of the Edgware Road – which simultaneously connects and divides the centre of London to the western and northern parts of the city – had to do with both its rich cultural heritage and with the organization’s connections to the area. Renowned for its diverse immigrant community, the road has for some time been a home to many Lebanese, Egyptian, Iraqi and Qatari migrants. As the area is sometimes dubbed Little Cairo or Downtown Beirut, it was appropriate that two of the initiative’s major curatorial partners were the Townhouse Gallery in Cairo and Ashkal Alwan, led by Christine Tohme, in Beirut. Tohme’s role was especially significant as her ‘Hamra Street Project’, launched in 2000, was one of the key models for this venture.
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