Infected Cities #3: Cairo

Infected Cities #3: Cairo

What is the impact of the coronavirus on Cairo? And how do art and culture professionals respond to the crisis?
Thursday 21 May 2020 20:30–21:30

The LIVECAST was broadcasted on Thursday May 21st, watch the recording below.

Infected Cities

The COVID-19 pandemic has an enormous impact on cities worldwide vital areas such as employment, health care, social services and the economy, both now and in the coming period. Since the coronavirus has begun to hit urban areas, we see cities changing from vibrant places into epicenters of the corona crisis. In the third part of the new Infected Cities series we will look at how the Egyptian capital Cairo is currently dealing with this pandemic. During this LIVECAST (it is not live for Cairo, it is prerecorded) we will have conversations with different experts and thinkers in art, architecture and culture about the current and future impact of this crisis in Cairo. Also, together with Pakhuis de Zwijger, we will listen to voices of different ‘city makers’ such as artists and creatives and their situation. In particular, experts in Cairo with a connection to the Netherlands. The speakers will give us an insight into their daily works and explain how they commit to making a positive impact during this pandemic and what kind of support there is needed for those who currently suffer the most.

When social-distancing is a luxury

 With its 20 million population in the metropolitan region, Cairo is not only the capital of Egypt but one of the largest cities in Africa. Those with humblest means live in densely populated neighbourhoods in the old city centre and in new areas on the margins of the metropolis, while the middle class enjoy quiet residential quarters in gated compounds. How is the corona pandemic, which was first reported in the country in February 2020, affecting the busy districts of the Egyptian capital? Has the pandemic pushed the already stark contrasts and inequalities inherent to Cairo to an extreme?  

Art and culture moving society in times of crisis

History shows that in times of crisis, citizens, artists and thinkers are the quickest to respond to urgent needs. In this third episode of Infected Cities about Cairo, we will talk with culture and art professionals as well as scholars and thinkers who consistently follow a bottom-up approach in the various initiatives they develop with and for different groups in the city. What is the status of their art projects? What type of innovative solutions have they found to continue their work, engage with and most importantly support their communities?


The LIVECAST will be moderated by journalist, media educator and writer Zoë Papaikonomou. Among the speakers will be:

- Lada Hršak, architect and designer at Bureau LADA

- Ahmed El Attar, independent theatre director and Artistic director of Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (D-CAF)

- Mariam Elnozahy, curator, archivist, and cultural manager at The Townhouse Gallery

- May al-Ibrashy, founder of Built Environment Collective, Megwara and Athar Lina

- Ahmed Hamed, photojournalist and freelance photographer

- Asmaa Gamal, photojournalist, freelance documentary maker and photographer

Information about the LIVECAST

The series Infected Cities is developed in collaboration with Pakhuis de Zwijger.