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Caravanserai: A place where cultures meet

Caravanserai: A place where cultures meet was a cultural engagement program launched by Arts Midwest on behalf of the U.S. Regional Arts Organizations with support from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art. This groundbreaking initiative opened dialogue between American communities and contemporary Muslim societies using the arts as a point of entry.

The program had the following goals:

  • Introduce American audiences to some of the most exciting and dynamic artists from the Muslim world.
  • Enhance Americans’ knowledge of the diverse cultures present in today’s Muslim societies.
  • Advance mutual understanding among all program participants and audiences.


Starting in 2011, Caravanserai hosted a series of deeply contextualized residency tours in communities across the United States. During each season, presenting organizations hosted week-long music residencies featuring different ensembles, which included educational workshops, community outreach events, and public performances. Several seasons also featured unique residencies with Muslim filmmakers.

Caravanserai: American Voices

The 2015–2016 season invited Muslim American musicians to share their cross-cultural stories in unique, contemporary expressions—hip-hop, rap, soul, dance, pop, rock, and jazz fused with the musical influences of their cultural traditions. The program visited Grand Forks, ND; Fergus Falls, MN; and Traverse City, MI.

Caravanserai: Malaysia

The 2014–2015 season featured two unique music ensembles—a dynamic group representing the diversity of modern Malaysia and a renowned troupe performing an ancient tradition—along with an innovative collaboration between 15 Malaysian contemporary filmmakers. The program visited Crockett, TX; Houston, TX; Atlanta, GA; Gainesville, FL; and Chicago, IL.

Caravanserai: Turkey

The 2013-2014 season explored Turkey through residencies by two leading musicians and a celebrated filmmaker. The program visited Lawrence, KS; Post Falls, ID; Anchorage, AK; Honolulu, HI; and Port Townsend, WA.

Caravanserai: Morocco

The 2012-2013 Caravanserai season brought music, film, and photography from Morocco to communities across the United States. The program visited Jamestown, ND; Grand Rapids, MN; Fayetteville, AR; Nashville, TN; and Honolulu, HI.

Caravanserai: Pakistan

The 2011-2012 season featured the diverse cultures of contemporary Pakistan. Organizations hosted two musical residencies featuring traditional and contemporary Pakistani artists and one film residency featuring a young and innovative Pakistani filmmaker. The program visited Helena, MT; West Long Branch, NJ; Oswego, NY; Littleton, NH; Providence, RI; and New York, NY.


Please contact Adam Perry ([email protected] or 612.238.8013).