Art Jameel announces the Gulf’s first residency opportunity dedicated to arts writers and researchers

  • The second edition of Art Jameel’s multi-year commissions programme calls for proposals in Arts Writing and Research – the first of its kind in the region
  • The selected writer will be awarded a three-month residency in 2019 at the Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai, which opens on November 11, 2018
  • Writers are invited to propose a written project to be produced before the end of 2020; applications are due by November 30, 2018
  • Art Jameel Commissions runs in a three-year cycle: the first edition focused on Sculpture (2018), the second on Arts Writing and Research (2019), the third on Drawing and Painting (2020)

Dubai, United Arab Emirates | July 30, 2018 Art Jameel, an independent organisation that supports arts, education and heritage in the Middle East, today announces an open call for proposals to Art Jameel Commissions: Arts Writing and Research. Art Jameel invites applications from writers, critics, art historians, curators and artists whose primary medium is writing, with a mandate to support the development of innovative research and the production of a substantial piece of writing or body of written work. Reflecting a commitment to nurturing critical dialogue and research, this writer-focused residency is the first of its kind in the region.

Art Jameel Commissions is an annual programme in a three-year cycle and is foundational to the programming of the Jameel Arts Centre, reflecting the institution’s aims to be a multidisciplinary, exploratory space. Opening on November 11, 2018, Jameel Arts Centre – the first contemporary arts institution of its kind in Dubai – will present curated exhibitions and act as a hub for educational and research initiatives.

The 2018-2019 Art Jameel Commissions jury includes: Omar Berrada, a writer, curator and Director of Dar al-Ma’mun, a library and artists’ residency in Marrakech, Morocco; independent writers and critics Negar Azimi and Nida Ghouse; and members of Art Jameel’s curatorial team. Applicants are invited to submit proposals and accompanying materials by November 30, 2018, with a public announcement of the selected candidate(s) in March 2019.

This is the second edition in the Art Jameel Commissions series. The first edition, focussing on sculpture, was awarded to Kuwait-based artists Alia Farid and Aseel AlYaqoub; their installation Contrary Life: A Botanical Light Garden Devoted to Trees, to be revealed during the opening of the Jameel Arts Centre. The third Art Jameel Commissions: Drawing and Painting will be announced in 2019, for completion in 2020.

Art Jameel Commissions is open to writers from or based in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, residing either in the region or the diaspora, as well as those from around the world regardless of nationality who have links to and a meaningful understanding of the various cultural scenes across this diverse and nuanced region.

Antonia Carver, Director of Art Jameel, said: “Innovations in research and written material are crucial for evolving dialogue around art production and the broader development of cultural infrastructure. This exciting commission continues Art Jameel’s longstanding interest in supporting practitioners to make new works, often for the public realm. By challenging candidates to undertake a long-term engagement with Jameel Library, this commission creates an impactful public resource for the Jameel Arts Centre’s diverse audiences”

Art Jameel Commissions: Arts Writing and Research will grant a three-month residency, during which the awardee will be based at Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai. Applicants are invited to propose a significant written work, which can take the form of a booklet, magazine, pamphlet or other experimental printed format, to be produced before the end of 2020.

The commission is open to all areas of enquiry, although preference will be given to those who engage with the thematic focuses within Jameel Art Centre’s current programming. These themes include:

  • Confluence: Inspired by the UAE’s standing as an international meeting place and point of convergence, as well as Jameel Arts Centre’s waterside location on Dubai Creek, a strand of the Centre’s programme and collection will explore notions of confluence: spaces of coming together and exchange across geographies or temporalities, and the global historic and contemporary identities of port cities. An example of this programming is ‘Research Studio: Confluence’, a curated reading room and active research space currently taking place at Art Jameel’s temporary Project Space in Alserkal Avenue, Dubai (now through July 31). In response to a curated bibliography developed by Omar Berrada, reading groups in English and Arabic led by interdisciplinary artist Noush Anand and translator and critic Hafsa Hariga serve to create a language-specific open platform for discussion, reflection and debate.
  • Museology: As a new independent arts institution, the Centre is invested in critically investigating modes of art production and exhibition making. Related programming will consider historical practices of museology; audience and artwork dynamics; forms of display; and revisiting regional art histories.
  • The GCC: While the scope of its programme is intentionally international, the Centre is also rooted in its local context, and includes artists’ works and projects that explore experiences of living and working in the Gulf countries.

As part of the Art Writing and Research Commission, grantees will have the opportunity to reach out to Jameel Arts Centre’s extensive network of academic, arts and cultural organisations in the UAE and across the region. Access to additional original research material, collections, archives or other sites of interest can also be facilitated. In addition to leaving a material trace of the research at Jameel Library, awardees are expected to instigate, and participate in, public events at Jameel Arts Centre.

Located in Jadaf overlooking Dubai Creek, Jameel Arts Centre is a three-storey multi-disciplinary space designed by UK-based firm Serie Architects that includes over 1,200-square metres of dedicated gallery space, a 300-square metre open-access research centre and library, flexible studio and events spaces, a restaurant and shop.

Full details on Art Jameel Commissions can be found here.

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About Art Jameel

Art Jameel supports artists and creative communities. Current initiatives include running heritage institutes and restoration programmes, plus a broad range of arts and educational initiatives for all ages. The organisation’s programmes foster the role of the arts in building open, connected communities; at a time of flux and dramatic societal shifts, this role is understood as more crucial than ever.

Art Jameel’s model is collaborative: major institutional partners include Delfina Foundation, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Locally, the organisation works with individuals and organisations to develop innovative programming that embraces both ancient and new technologies, and encourages entrepreneurship and the development of cultural networks.

In 2018-2019, Art Jameel is set to open two new cultural centres: Hayy: Creative Hub, a major complex for the creative industries in Saudi Arabia, and Jameel Arts Centre, a contemporary arts institution in the UAE.

Art Jameel is positioned alongside Community Jameel, and complements its sister organisation’s work in promoting positive social change, job creation and poverty alleviation across the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey.

About Jameel Arts Centre

One of the first contemporary arts institutions in Dubai, Jameel Arts Centre presents curated solo and group exhibitions, drawn both from the Jameel Art Collection and through regional and international collaborations. The Centre is a 10,000-square metre, three-storey, multi-disciplinary space designed by UK-based practice Serie Architects. The building is punctuated by seven gardens, designed by landscape architect Anouk Vogel, which reflect local and global desert biomes.

Located by the waterfront at the tip of Dubai’s Al Jadaf neighbourhood on Dubai Creek, the Centre’s galleries are complemented by the Jameel Library, an open-access research centre dedicated to artists and cultural movements in the Gulf states and beyond. The Centre also includes project and commissions spaces, a writer’s studio, a restaurant and shop.

The Centre serves as a hub for educational and research initiatives for diverse audiences. Its wider programming embraces partnerships with local, regional and international artists, curators and organisations.

About Jameel Library

Jameel Library is an open contemporary arts research centre dedicated to cultural histories of the Gulf and its neighbouring regions, located at the heart of the Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai. The growing multimedia library collection features books, journals, catalogues, theses, artists’ files and ephemera in both English and Arabic.

The Library’s collection focuses on making accessible the knowledge embedded in arts and culture; enabling the construction of multiple narratives; and making visible the fluidity of these ideas. Key content subjects include: exhibition histories, pedagogy and alternative arts education projects, contemporary discourse and theory from and about the region, in addition to selected artists’ monographs and mapped journeys of practice and influence.

Jameel Library is an active and dynamic learning platform, home to programmes, reading groups, curated bibliographies, symposia and interventions. Free and open to all, the library is home to students, artists, researchers, writers, professionals and the curious.

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