The Cultural Atelier in Yemen is a new special program, designed and implemented by AFAC, in partnership with UNESCO as part of the Youth Employment through Heritage and Culture project funded by the European Union. The two-year program (2024-2026) is dedicated to the strengthening of civil society organizations working in arts and culture across Yemen. It offers the participating organizations the space and accompaniment to assess their resources and their connection to their audiences and stakeholders, explore new income-generating avenues, develop their creative and cultural programs, and draw inspiration from peer institutions facing similar challenges and opportunities in other sectors and regions.

The Cultural Atelier in Yemen is a new, tailored iteration of the Arts and Culture Entrepreneurship (ACE) program, run by AFAC over 2019-2022 in response to an increasingly complex landscape for arts and culture institutions in the Arab region characterized by the shrinking of resources globally, the shift in donors’ agendas, and the quasi-inexistence of governmental support. Additionally, it builds on the 2021 AFAC-UNESCO partnership through which a training program for Yemeni CSOs was implemented as part of the EU-funded project Promoting Livelihood Opportunities for Urban Youth in Yemen.

One key lesson learned through the ACE program was the importance of tailoring our approach to the specific needs and contexts of each geography. Working with 32 institutions from 10 countries reaffirmed our conviction that every region, every community, and every individual has unique challenges and opportunities, and our programs are most effective when they are designed with these particularities in mind. Similarly, and with the conclusion of the Arts and Culture Entrepreneurship Program in Yemen, and based on the recommendations of researchers and the feedback from participating institutions, it became evident that its impact could be further consolidated and expanded through tailor-made workshops, mentorship, networking events, and opportunities for knowledge exchange.

The Cultural Atelier in Yemen aims to address major challenges that arts and culture organizations face including fragile organizational structures, limited funding and resources, lack of access to opportunities for learning, networking, and knowledge exchange. It offers cultural organizations in Yemen an experimental curriculum that encourages them to re-examine their mission and relevance, to acquire new skills through cross-sectoral learning, and to re-imagine tools for long-term continuity.

About the Program

The program is envisioned to contribute to the development of cultural and creative industries (CCI) in Yemen, empowering local CSOs with mechanisms conducive to sustaining their activities after the project ends; building the capacity of local actors to be able to support and accompany the CCI projects; and fostering artistic freedom and cultural expressions for the enhancement of the country's social fabric and economic prosperity. The program also aims at providing skill building opportunities to communities who have been traditionally underrepresented, including women-led organizations, marginalized groups, and those working in the peripheries, ensuring they have an increased access to tools and resources needed to thrive and contribute to the Yemeni cultural landscape.

Up to 15 cultural institutions will be selected to participate in the program in its first year. The selected institutions will be grouped in clusters based on their needs and level of operations, allowing for the workshops to be as tailored and specific as possible. In the second year of the program, participating institutions will have the opportunity to receive a grant based on the success of their submitted projects and their potential for further development.

The program consists of three workshops, one-on-one mentorship, a training of trainers (TOT) component, networking events and activities for knowledge exchange, and small grants as follows:

    1- The workshops will focus on the following modules: cultural management; financial management; strategic management; governance and entrepreneurial thinking (revisiting vision and mission, identifying opportunities for innovation, planning and implementing innovation strategy); fundraising and donor relations (exploring income-generating activities); external communications (communications strategy, tools designed to disseminate to target audiences, outreach); audience cultivation (expanding community engagement, optimizing technology, developing new services and products); artistic and cultural development; learning from other sectors such as technology and microfinance; exploring the creative industries, and others. Additional topics will be addressed during the workshops based on the specific needs of the clusters.

    2- One-on-one mentorship: in between the workshops, the program offers one-on-one mentoring that focuses on the specific needs of each organization (cultural management, strategic planning, management and HR, etc).

    3- Networking: networking will occur through the organization of panels, visits, and gatherings across the three workshops, bringing together the participants, local arts and culture communities, regional and international guests.

    4- Exchange visits: peer exchange trip for one member from each of the 15 CSOs to other institutions in the Arab countries.

    5- Small grants and accompaniment: participating institutions will have the opportunity to submit a project proposal to receive support for their programming and institutional development. A selection of the proposed projects will receive a support grant for further project development, based on an evaluation of the concerned institution’s participation in the program and their proposed project. The supported projects will be accompanied by mentors depending on the nature and needs of each project. The selection process and criteria for this component will be developed during the first year.

In addition to the above-mentioned capacity-building components, the program will also launch research that will focus on the Yemeni cultural sector and its funding challenges and opportunities. This is aimed at informing the private and public sectors as well as the international community about Yemen’s cultural sector and its needs. The research will also incorporate recommendations for future investment in the cultural sector in Yemen, for the public and private sectors, as well as individual givers.

Who Can Apply

ACE Yemen accepts applications through an open call process. The program is open to applications from Yemeni independent arts and culture entities (including organizations, exhibition platforms, online platforms, spaces, and social enterprises whose main field of work is arts and culture, and that:

  • Have a physical presence in Yemen (with the exception of online platforms);
  • Have at least two years of experience;
  • Are registered either in Yemen or outside of Yemen;
  • Can commit to attend all three workshops in person and comply with the mentorship process in between the workshops (failure to do so will result in the disqualification of participation in the program).
Limited to this particular program only, applicants with existing open grants from another AFAC program are eligible to submit applications.

Recipients of the program grant cannot apply for other AFAC programs before closing their open grant.

Additionally, interested applicants who have an AFAC application that is being processed should reach out to AFAC grants management team for clarification.

How to Apply

  • Applications are only accepted through the online forms available on the AFAC website.
  • Applications submitted via regular mail or email will not be considered.
  • Applicants will receive a confirmation email once their application has been successfully submitted.
  • Incomplete applications will not be considered.
  • The deadline for applications is July 12, 2024, at 5:00 PM (Beirut time - GMT+3). Applications that are not submitted by the deadline will not be accepted.

Preview the application form here

Evaluation Process

When the call for applications is closed, our grants management team will review all applications received to make sure they are complete and adhere to the program’s guidelines. Applications that do not meet the eligibility criteria or that are missing required materials will be disqualified.

The grants management team will send all eligible applications to an independent jury committee to be evaluated according to the same criteria. Subsequently, the jury committee will convene to discuss the applications and reach a final selection.

For further inquiries, kindly contact the AFAC grants management team.


The selected CSOs will be announced on our website and social media platforms with a statement from the jury committee.

Previous Jurors

No Jurors Available

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