Slought Foundation ('Sl-aw-t') is a non-profit organization that engages the public in dialogue about cultural and socio-political change.
We occupy a unique place in the institutional landscape, one that is positioned in relation to the changing status of public culture and the public sphere. The organization has an inherent flexibility that enables it to move from the margins to the center as it undertakes collaborations with a range of partners including artists, communities, universities, and governments.
Our example is the Perpetual Peace Project, an initiative of Slought Foundation and the European Union National Institutes of Culture, in partnership with the United Nations University. The project revisits Immanuel Kant's provocative essay with reference to 21st century prospects for reducing geopolitical conflict. Another is our recent selection by the U.S. Department of State to represent the United States at La Biennale di Venezia, and later at the National Constitution Center, an honor for our small West Philadelphia organization. In recognizing architects who are mitigating the socio-economic challenges and environmental rifts that define our times, the exhibition Into the Open highlights a renewed spirit of community activism and inclusiveness across the country.
At the start of the 21st century, conflict is inherent in culture itself. Slought Foundation is an experimental and responsive institution that acknowledges this uncertain status. Our curatorial agenda seeks to respond to the particular issues and challenges our societies face today. Exhibitions such as Cities Without Citizens, with the Rosenbach Museum and Library, have explored changing definitions of citizenship; Conflict, with Le Musee d'art moderne de Saint-Etienne in France, has challenged prejudices about the contemporary culture of Central Europe. Closer to home, mixplace is a project in the Mantua neighborhood of West Philadelphia that engages the People's Emergency Center, a community development corporation, in developing new approaches to housing and public culture. We envision these activities as a bridge between socio-economic and cultural communities, and they help us understand how communities protect, preserve, and present culture in a globalized world.
Dialogue and research are themselves forms of practice. We frequently feature pioneers such as Vito Acconci, Helene Cixous, and Werner Herzog in conversation about contemporary art, architecture, and social theory in the participatory environment of our Philadelphia galleries. These programs are complemented by international projects in cities such as Berlin, Istanbul, Zagreb, and Lahore that demonstrate our commitment to cultural exchange.
Slought Foundation was founded by people with extensive experience in public culture and education, and our programs draw from 20th century experiments in the arts. It was established as a non-profit corporation, and, like many organizations, has been supported by long hours and a modest budget. Our self-characterization recognizes this position of contingency, while acknowledging the strength of our collaborative sensibility. Join us in exploring new forms of sociability by sharing information about our activities with friends and colleagues.