The Critical Arabic Urban Lexicon (CAUL) translation workshops aimed to bring together experts, both academics and practitioners, in the fields of arts and design, architecture and urbanism, with a team of linguists and translation experts to develop lists of current terms that are relevant to local context and urban transformations; and to build on grounded professional practices to offer an alternative discursive framework to the official media and public discourse.
These translation workshops are part of a larger knowledge dissemination project initiated by CLUSTER, to interrogate the discursive knowledge gap between the Middle East and North Africa and the centers of knowledge production in the ‘first world.’ In doing so, it has developed a working glossary of terms relevant to the context and urban transformations of the Arabic speaking world. Terms such as spatial practice, territoriality, and gentrification are but a few of the terms and concepts which have been masked by an asymmetry within official media translations in the Arabic language; and which have been ill-defined, and at times entirely reconstituted with great implication, within public discourse.
The Critical Arabic Urban Lexicon online platform has been developed by CLUSTER in partnership with the Center for Spatial Research, Columbia University in the city of New York, and builds on the following translation workshops:
- The initial workshop was organized in association with the Center for Translation Studies at the American University of Cairo, Egypt, December 2016.
- The second workshop was organized in collaboration with Amman-X Studio and the Sijal Institute in Amman, Jordan, July 2017.
- The third workshop was organized in collaboration with Amman-X Studio and the Sijal Institute in Amman, Jordan, October 2017.
- The fourth workshop was organized in collaboration with Public Works studio in Beirut, Lebanon, October 2017.
Cairo / December, 2016 / Center for Translation Studies at the AUC
Amman / July 2017 / Studio-X and the Sijal Institute
Amman / October 2017 / Studio-X and the Sijal Institute
Beirut / October 2017 / Public Works Studio
Beirut / June 2019 / Public Works Studio
Cairo / March, 2019 / Center for Translation Studies at the AUC
Tunis / September 2019 / Bluefish