Our City 2012

About Us

Our City Festival is Cambodia’s first and only public festival to bring together creatives from Cambodian cities to focus on urbanism and it’s influence on contemporary culture. Initiated in 2008 by Java Arts to acknowledge the city’s accelerated urban change and its intersection with the surge of activity within the contemporary arts.  Presenting art and architecture themed exhibitions, events, performances, screenings, talks, and workshops, Our City examines Phnom Penh’s present, remembers its past, and imagines the future.

Our City Festival is a platform for creation, discussion, and cultivating communities working with cultural institutions, as well as in public space to activate the potential of the urban environment and its people.

In the past five years, its exhibitions, talks, workshops, and tours have operated as creative and critical explorations of the city’s urban trajectory. It has sought to reflect on change and document them through artistic response and expression: to bear witness to the multiple shifting forces which constitute the present- and indeed- the city

It offers a platform for comment and provides a networked space for negotiating challenges of contemporary urban life through art and architecture. Our City’s activities consider issues at the forefront of Phnom Penh, whilst recognizing the elaborate web of local-global negotiations within which they are situated.

Our City Festival 2012 takes as its departure the theme of ‘Urban Currents.’ It considers the various overlapping flows which constitute the present urban environment: between its people, resources, energy, environment, and landscape of Phnom Penh- and its impact on wider Cambodia. More specifically, it refers to the significant local flooding which took place across October and November 2011, which flagged Phnom Penh’s vulnerability against this recurring environmental problem.


Alnoor Dewshi, Amy Lee Sanford, Anna Katharina Scheidegger, Anida Yoeu Ali/Studio Revolt, Chan Muyhong, Chan Pisey, Chea Phal, Chov Theanly, David “Jam” Ramjattan, Eric Ellul, Eva Lloyd, Giacomo Butte, Irina Chakraborty, Kim Hak, Kong Vollak, Long Reaksmei, Lorenzo Martini, Mao Soviet, Neak Sophal, Sao Sopheak, Seng Manoriddh, Shelby E. Doyle, Som Van Nita, Sophiline Cheam Shapiro, Sopheap Pich, Srey Bandaul, Taber Hand, Tim Robertson, Tes Vanna and Topp & Dubio.

31 Urban Lab Interns

20 Youth Ambassadors

Students from Mith Samlanh


Our City Festival 2012 is thanks to the contributions and cooperation of:

AEDES (Berlin), Battambang Bike, Bophana AudioVisual Resource Centre, Cambodia Mekong University, Collective Studio, Heritage Mission, GIZ, Institut Français Cambodge, Khmer Architecture Tours, JavaArts, Khmer Arts Ensemble, Make Maek Gallery, Manolis House, Meta House: Cambodian German Cultural Center, Mith Samlanh, Norton University, On Photography Cambodia, Prospero Films, Romeet Gallery, Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT), Studio Revolt and Wetlands Work!


The team

Director: Dana Langlois, founder of Our City and JavaArts, is a cultural producer based in Phnom Penh Cambodia since 1998.  Opening one of the first contemporary art galleries in the capitol city (Java Café & Gallery, 2000), Dana has contributed to the re-launch of a dynamic art scene in Cambodia that has been devastated by war and political instability for several decades.  Originally from the USA, Dana has a background in Photography and Fine Art and has focused on supporting visual arts in Cambodia and nurturing the talents of emerging artists.  Influenced by the development sector and models of social enterprises as well participatory arts, Dana researches and practices a methodology to promote sustainability. (dana@javaarts.org)

Arts Curator: Natalie Pace is originally from England. She is currently undertaking research in Cambodia for her master’s thesis about artistic dialogues with the city of Phnom Penh. Her focus and interest is contemporary curating, especially participatory and public practices. She is interested in finding tools, methods and models that work towards the democratization of art, and upholding its significance as a tool with which to provoke debate and engage in socially relevant concerns. In Cambodia, she is the co-founder, alongside Kate O' Hara, of art collaborative ArtXProjects, which has worked to produce 'Pop-up art spaces' series.  (nataliejosephinepace@hotmail.co.uk)

Architecture Curator: Stefanie Irmer, originally from Germany, has a background in Political Science and is an active force in the field of architecture in Cambodia.  She organizes public lectures and exhibitions, initiates and supports research and documentation, PR and CI development—creating a platform for and supporting the emergence of a new generation of architects.  Stefanie is the Director of Khmer Architecture Tours and the co-founder and Project Coordinator of Space for Architecture, focusing on educational and research projects to promote Cambodia’s urban heritage and sustainable architecture. She is also co-founder of Manolis House, the Cambodian urban heritage and architecture network. (sirmer@gmail.com)


Urban Lab Curator: Shelby Elizabeth Doyle is a Fulbright Research Fellow based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Her current research is entitled City of Water: Architecture, Infrastructure, and the Floods of Phnom Penh. This research aims to document the relationship between water, architecture and infrastructure in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The objective of this project is to record the architecture and urban conditions sustained by and subject to the cyclical floods of the city's rivers. Shelby holds a Master of Architecture degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Virginia.

Education and Outreach Team: Yam Sokly is a Cambodian architect. Since 2010 he has worked for the Heritage Mission (Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts) and successfully completed the one-year training course for young professionals in heritage conservation and town planning. He is co-founder of Manolis House and Space for Architecture, focusing on educational and research projects to promote Cambodia’s urban heritage and sustainable architecture. Sokly has also contributed significantly to the Architecture and Urban Lab programming of the festival. (soklydepassio@hotmail.com)

Reaksmay Yean is a performance artist and advocate for freedom of expression.  He graduated from Phare Ponleu Selpak (an art school based in Battambang, second largest city in the country). He formed the association Trotchaek Pneik (“Cold Eye”) with the vision: “Being connected and gathered together with solidarity and peacefulness between youths and youths to transform Battambang as a unique multi-disciplinary (arts) center and zone in Cambodia.”  Reaksmey supports art as a vehicle for social change.  Over the years he has been involved in several projects from the first university radio show, to film productions and the Cambodian Oscar Party. (y.reaksmey@blumail.org)

HRH Soma Serei Norodom, Festival Ambassador, was born on October 29, 1969, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. In April 1975, Soma and her family arrived in the U.S. and resided in Long Beach, California.  Soma holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Telecommunications, with an emphasis in News and Public Affairs (1993) and has completed the Master’s Program in Mass Communication.  After returning to Cambodian in 2010 she established the PUC Radio Talk Show Host at Pannasastra University of Cambodia (PUC) the first university, English-speaking, radio talk show in the country, focusing on life stories of successful people in Cambodia and issues affecting the country.  She is now working for a film production company and engaged in socially-orientated TV programming.  (soma.norodom@gmail.com)


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