16 July 2024

Let's Talk About Cats

A study of nonhuman placemaking

Alserkal Arts Foundation

Anthropologist Neha Vora explores interspecies kinships in our everyday urban environments.

Starts 7:00 pm

Ends 8:30 pm

Venue Alserkal Arts Foundation

Warehouse 50/51


Neha Vora’s current research focuses on stray cat care in the UAE, considering our local cities as multispecies environments where nonhumans and humans both make places for themselves and form relationships with each other. Part of this project is to observe the place-making practices of the cats themselves.

We will share a reading for the session which will provide an introduction to one way that scholars in animal studies are approaching this topic of nonhuman urban placemaking, also discussing why cats are such interesting (and controversial) urban dwellers.

In addition to the reading, we invite you to observe and photograph street cats that you see/meet over the next few days, considering the following questions: Where are they located? Are they with other cats? Do you see signs of humans caring for them? How might the emerging human-nonhuman kinship mitigate the loneliness and precarity of everyday life?

Think about the way that the cats you photograph occupy and make place in the city. What do you think their subjective experience of urban life might be?

We encourage you to come to the session prepared with notes to share.

Date: Tuesday, 16 July, 2024
Time: 7 - 8.30PM
Location: WH51, Common Room, Alserkal Arts Foundation

Click here to register.


Dr. Neha Vora is Professor of Anthropology in the Department of International Studies at the American University of Sharjah. She pursues interdisciplinary research in themes such as diasporas and migration, citizenship, globalized higher education, gender, and human-nonhuman encounters. Her books include Impossible Citizens: Dubai’s Indian Diaspora (Duke, 2013) and Teach for Arabia: American Universities, Liberalism, and Transnational Qatar (Stanford, 2018).

The session is part of the Alserkal Arts Foundation’s Research Rooms programme where we invite a cohort of locally based researchers to make their home at our residency studios for the summer. Working across anthropology, art history, political science, performance practice, and curation, the cohort invites audiences to respond to their ongoing research investigations through focused and intimate public programmes over the summer. Learn more about the programme here.