Art Jameel announces first residency in Gulf for arts writers, researchers

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Art Jameel, an independent organisation that supports arts, education and heritage in the Middle East, announced an open call for proposals for its commissions to promote writing and research.

It has invited 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.

Called ‘Art Jameel Commissions: Arts Writing and Research,’ it 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.

The first edition focused on Sculpture (2018), the second on Arts Writing and Research (2019), the third on Drawing and Painting (2020).

The Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai will open on November 11, 2018 – the first contemporary arts institution of its kind in the emirate – and 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 program 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 organizations 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 meter of dedicated gallery space, a 300-square meter open-access research center 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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