D11.4 | June 2023 

Author: Dr Maggie Laidlaw, Glasgow Caledonian University 

As part of this exciting project, D.Rad utilised the universal language of art and curation as a means of exploring the concept of ‘Complicating the Narrative’, while also engaging with the overall concept of D.Rad. A selection of specially created artworks culminated in exhibitions in Belgrade in December 2022, and Paris, April, 2023. The core concepts of the exhibition were that of complicating extremist binary narratives of the other: to disrupt toxic narratives and shine a light on commonalities between, and the complexities of, perceived them-and-us characters. The exhibition aimed to get at the slippery, difficult-to-determine characteristics of the binary narrative portrayed by extremist hate groups being explored by D.Rad. The artworks aimed to challenge the single ‘us-versus them’ story and unpick the overlapping narratives of individual and shared identity, and endeavoured to compare, negotiate and reflect the self and others – and to prompt viewers to discover how others’ worlds of meaning might differ, and/or correspond to one’s own. 

This report outlines the main insights from the D.Rad curatorial research exhibitions in Belgrade (Dec 2022) and Paris (April 2023). To begin, the report will draw attention to the development of the conceptual curatorial framework, situating the exhibitions in their current socio-political environment. The report will detail the complex processes from conceptualization to fruition as it draws attention to the importance of, and impact from, the D.Rad Curatorial Research Exhibitions, while also referencing the impact of the arts in raising awareness to aspects of social and political importance. Unlike more traditional forms of research dissemination, which are often placed at an academic distance from a general public – and hidden away behind expensive paywalls – one reason for the success of curating research findings in exhibition and event format, could be that the research data is displayed in a much more digestible and visually appealing manner. Curatorial initiatives such as those which we developed in D.Rad showcase the ways in which creativity, diversity and community connectivity of research can envision radically different relationships to their audiences. 

The report offers a brief discussion of I-Gap spectrum and curating research, to offer means to recognise our differences, and commonalities, and endeavours to mobilise these in ways that can lead to deeper understandings of our very complex communities. Through promoting this understanding, curatorial engagement contributes to the narrowing of the I-GAP spectrum to help de-radicalisation. 

Finally, the report will offer comment on what we all can learn and take-away from the D.Rad exhibitions.