Howard Gardens in Mdina will be transformed into a camp-site for Utopian Nights: Inside the Border between the 30th of July and the 5th of August 2018.

This week–long event invites the public to engage with art in unique and creative ways while spending a night, or more, in their tents.

Utopian Nights: Inside the Border, which is part of the Valletta 2018 cultural programme, invites artists, thinkers, and the public to participate in discussions, storytelling, photography, poetry, music, to watch films screened on an open air 100% solar powered cinema, and to immerse themselves in original moving performances, among other unique activities.

All sessions will include an open debate with experts and an invitation for public feedback, followed by the opportunity to continue discussion during a social mixer event.

Inside the Border’ is the first of a series of events in the Utopian Nights series; a two-part series of public events which provides a platform for people to discuss important social issues related to exile and conflict, and to collectively re-imagine four contemporary themes: displacement, borders, encampment and the rise of global commons.

The catalyst of the series is the notion of Utopia, which is envisaged as a democratic space – a platform for discussion and a participatory project in which everyone can debate, challenge and be challenged equally.

This event is free of charge and open to everyone.

For more information follow the ‘Utopian Nights’ event page on Facebook.

Utopian Nights: Inside the Border’ is created by Elise Billiard and organised by the Valletta 2018 Foundation, Elise Billiard, Sarah Farrugia, Sarah Mallia and Andrea Pullicino, with the participation of Checkmate Mido, Kinzénguélé, Alberto Favaro, Jeremy Mangion, Florinda Camilleri and Corps Citoyen.




In Malta the construction frenzy has become the locus of political conflicts. Who are we and what are we building? Come along to help us build a temporary heterotopia; come with your tent, with your chairs and carpet, come to experiment a collective construction, a camping site of inclusion, under the shade of the Howard Garden trees.

Date: Monday 30th and Tuesday 31st July
Time: 8am
Venue: Howard Gardens

Solar Cinema: Sense of Belonging

A Solar Cinema compilation of short films (70 min) dealing with the topic of ‘belonging’. The screening will be introduced with a reading by poet Fatima akka Mahra.

Date: Monday 30th July
Time: 8.30pm
Venue: Howard Gardens #5

The Utopian Photo Studio

Congolese photographer André Désire Loutsono will be the first African photographer to take portraits of people living in Malta. His photo studio, set up in the garden, will offer different backdrops of the ideal home imagined by African and European participants living in Malta.

Date: Tuesday 31st July to Saturday 4th August
Time: 4pm to 7pm
Venue: Howard Gardens #4

FotoKabinett des Imaginaires

This photo studio, curated by the art collective Corps Citoyen will provide the opportunity for visitors to visualise and share their dreams in the form of a self-photo portrait. It is a platform for diverse communities to showcase their ideas and desires, and most importantly, it provides a moment of encounter between individuals that usually live away from each other. The method will involve a glass window to paint a dream situation on. The general public will then be invited to take a photo behind this painted glass window which will be printed on site as a postcard from an ‘ideal city’. The postcard will be given to the participant, exhibited in the temporary museum and sent to all EU institutions.

Date: Tuesday 31st July to Saturday 8th August
Time: 4pm to 7pm
Venue: Howard Gardens #3

Storytelling Night

A night of stories told in situ in the garden. There is nothing like a good story to imagine a better future together.

Date: Wednesday 1st August
Time: 6pm
Venue Howard Gardens #2

Temporary Museum

Starting with a collection of images and collages by anthropologist Elise Billiard on the topic of encampment, the museum walls will be collaboratively curated by the public invited to add written thoughts, drawings, photographs and artefacts. Each night the museum will also be turned into a guest room, for anyone who has ever dreamed of sleeping in a museum. This is a unique chance!

Date: From Tuesday 31st July to Saturday 4th August
Time: open all day
Venue: Howard Gardens #1

Debate on Borders

Borders and enclaves are fragmenting our spaces. Golden gated communities, leisure theme parks and expensive historical city centers are in high demand as much as detention centers and refugee camps. Enclaves are generally on the rise. Our guest speakers, Christian Von Borries, Tom Van Malderen, Maria Pisani, Francois Zammit, Alberto Favaro will be present to discuss these issues with the public, merging art and politics.

Date: Saturday 4th August
Time: TBA
Venue: Howard Gardens #2

Spoken Word Party + DJ Set

Tunisian artist Lilia Ben Romdhane will inspire us with her word in Arabic, English and Maltese. The party will continue with author, musician, and professional rollerskater Fattima Mahdi from London and her partner in crime DJ Shays from Abuja! A blend of Soul, Funk and Afrobeat will surely inspire the right mood for dancing!

Date: Saturday 4th August
Time: 9pm
Venue: Howard Gardens #2

Rituals of Destruction

A surprise performance will provide us with the necessary tool kit to deal with withdrawal syndrome and the efficient management of ruins.

Date: Sunday 5th August
Time: 7pm
Venue: Howard Gardens #2

Performance: Geography of Lives

‘Geography of Lives’ is a performance and series of photos aiming to confute the idea that national borders are linear limits surrounding nations. Far from being physical barriers, borders can be considered as spaces in themselves.

Date: Tuesday 31st July, Thursday 2nd August and Saturday 4th August
Time: 6pm
Venue: Mdina streets #7 (Starts at Mdina Gate)

Valletta 2018 Premium Partners: General Soft Drinks Co. Ltd., Coca Cola, Bavaria and Bank of Valletta