During one of the plenary sessions a lively debate developed after the presentation by Mahmoud Khaled, artist from Alexandria, in which he freely looked back upon his experience of staying at three residencies: Funen Art Academy, Gasworks, and Montalvo Arts Centre. He warned against the tendency in the artist-in-residence sector to measure its value according to cultural dialogue.
So the question was raised: 'Should the artist in residence be interested in the cultural environment where he or she is a guest?'
"Yes for sure", said Lex ter Braak, director of the Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture. "It's no use to go and stay elsewhere if you're not curious for the culture you visit. That's what it's all about!"
"No, not necessarily", said artist Khaled. "I don't want to be pushed into this frame-work of intercultural dialogue. I'm an artist, not a cultural ambassador. In my experience as a guest I'm too easily framed as an Egyptian artist. Why should I primarily be engaged in intercultural exchange? I want to focus on artistic exchange."