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2017-2018 | Learning from the Past, Imagining the Future

23 Dec, 2017 

We wanted to wrap up 2017 by sharing with you some important activities and news. Our year has proved to be an exciting one right up to its end. 2017 has been a memorable time for the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture – AFAC: sharing the results of what we regularly do in terms of grant-making; celebrating ten years of accumulated support to artists and cultural practitioners; and harvesting reflections on new programs for the next few years. 


We are eager to share with you the main achievements of 2017 and new initiatives that will start as of 2018, many of which have been possible thanks to your support and belief in our mission and work. 


AFAC has provided 145 grants in 2017 for Visual Arts, Performing Arts, AFAC Documentary Program, Arab Documentary Photography Program, Research/Training/Regional Events, Music, and Cinema. Additionally, AFAC supported/presented 8 projects and initiatives in Germany in the framework of the Arab European Creative Platform. The 145 projects, selected out of 1,050 applications received in 2017, were supported with a total of USD 2.6 million based on the evaluations and selections of the independent juries for each category. The projects represent an exciting mix of emerging and established talents, individuals and institutions. 

Research/Training/Regional Events – 26 from 12 countries out of 196 applications will be supported with a total grant amount of $460,000. Read more 

Music - 21 projects from 9 countries out of 112 applications, with a total amount of $330,000 in grants. Read more 

Cinema – 28 projects from 10 countries out of 325 applications will be supported with a total budget of $493,000. Read more 

Visual Arts – 26 projects from 10 countries out of 138 applications, with a total amount of $300’000 in grants. Read more 

Performing Arts - 19 projects from 8 countries out of 100 applications, with a total of $285’000 in grants. Read more 

AFAC Documentary Program – 13 projects from 8 countries out of 98 applications, with a total amount of $300’000 in grants. Read more 

Arab Documentary Photography Program – 9 projects from 6 countries out of 80 applications, with a total budget of $220’000 in grants and mentorship program. Read more 

Arab European Creative Platform – year-round program with a total of 8 projects in Germany involving 10 local partners, with a total of $200’000. Read more


The Arab Creativity and Entrepreneurship Fund (ACEF) report is out as an online interactive platform offering an exciting compilation of AFAC grantee stories and the impact of their initiatives. ACEF is now in its 4th year, providing timely support to 50 out of the average 150 projects that AFAC grants annually. Browse this colourful report on this link

AFAC counts on the support of individual philanthropists to expand the space for creative expression in the Arab region and in diaspora. Find out about the generous individual supporters of ACEF and join the club by making your first contribution, or by renewing your esteemed support here

A heartfelt thanks to all those who have generously contributed since 2014 and to those who made fresh contributions to ACEF 2017. See the full list of individual contributors to date on our donors' page here


AFAC is very proud to share the Ten-Year Study report with the wider community of artists, supporters and audience. In 2016, AFAC set out on a mission to revisit, review and reflect on its ten years of operations. The purpose of this exercise was to measure the institution’s work, outcomes and impact in relation to its mission and objectives and to provide indicators to what has worked well and what still needs to be improved and/or adapted. More importantly, this study will lay the ground for a strategy for the coming five years. We are grateful for the generous contributions of the survey respondents and interviewees. Their insights, engagement and reflections are yet another proof to why arts and culture matter so much, providing the space for dialogue, discussions, and criticism, and to remain relevant to the priorities of the arts and culture sector. Click here for the full report. 

In 2018, AFAC will share a complementary report to the Ten-Year Study with in-depth recommendations that came out of focus group meetings for the four categories of visual arts, performing arts, music and research/training/regional events. 

To further celebrate its ten-year anniversary, AFAC exposed a two-week curated artistic program, entitled “Ten Years Later” showcasing the works of more than 40 artists from 15 Arab countries whose projects were supported by AFAC. The exhibition included documentary photography, sound and video installations, dance and music performance, and talks in Beit Beirut (a historical war landmark), as well as seven film screenings in Metropolis cinema. 

The main supporter of the event and exhibition was HBK. The exhibition was also generously supported by the Boghossian FoundationPrince Claus FundMiddle East Airlines and LBCI as media partner. 

Discover the full program here and catch a glimpse of the event and impressions expressed in short interviews on video and through images

AFAC is excited to announce the launch of three new programs in 2018, namely, Creative and Critical Writings (as a continuation of the literature and AFAC Novel Writing Program grants); Arts and Culture Entrepreneurship (ACE), in partnership with Drosos, aiming at strengthening arts and culture institutions in the areas of entrepreneurial approaches and sustainability; and Research on Arts and Culture in partnership with the Arab Council for the Social Sciences. Stay tuned for more details in early 2018!


Ten years later, and with the continuous engagement among contributors, jurors and grantees, AFAC has generated over 1100 impressive works of art and cultural practices out of 10,000 applications from across the Arab region and diaspora.The momentum and footprint has been undoubtedly created and we look forward to the next ten years with continued investment in creative expression to counter the harsh realities and inspire new visions for the Arab world. 

Thank you for your continued engagement with AFAC. By spreading the word about all the incredible talents from the Arab region and by directly contributing to AFAC, you are supporting the scale up and impact of artistic and cultural initiatives, allowing emerging and established talents to flourish. 

Stay tuned to all that is new at AFAC on www.arabculturefund.org, follow us on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

Do not hesitate to contact us for any additional information that may interest you or to give us feedback on our work. Write to us at info@arabculturefund.org. 

With our warm regards and best wishes for the New Year. 
The AFAC Team

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