The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) and Drosos Foundation are glad to announce the eight cultural institutions from the Arab region that will participate in the first cycle of the Arts and Culture Entrepreneurship (ACE) program.
The newly launched program aims to explore new models to sustain arts and culture institutions in the Arab region with the support of experts/mentors, inspiring case studies and related readings and exercises. Each cycle comprises three workshops, tailored mentorship, and culminates in an incentive grant that allows the participating institutions to implement an innovative activity inspired by their learning during the span of the program.
The program is based on a process of nomination which was launched in April 2018. AFAC solicited nominations from 29 individuals that have wide knowledge of arts and culture institutions in the Arab region.
From the 82 received nominations, 48 expressed interest in applying and 39 effectively submitted an application.
The first Jury Committee for the program comprised cultural practitioner and consultant Khadija El Bennaoui (Morocco), theater director and cultural manager Ahmed El Attar (Egypt), and independent advisor and consultant Moukhtar Kocache (Lebanon/Syria).
Over a month, the jurors reviewed and evaluated the applications in preparation for the deliberation meeting which took place at the AFAC offices.
The eight cultural institutions selected by the jury after the 2-day evaluation sessions are reflective of those that stand the best chance to benefit from a program like ACE and those that have a track record or the potential for wider engagement with their communities. The selected institutions hail from Egypt (3), Lebanon (2), Morocco (1), Syria (1), and Palestine (1) and are active in the fields of visual arts, performing arts, film and music.
Commenting on the ACE program and this first round of ACE applicants, the jury stated:
“ACE is an incredibly important program at a critical moment in the region. The region continues to develop valuable creative initiatives at a fast pace reflecting the dynamism and aspirations of younger citizens. Yet more than ever, there is an urgency to stabilize and energize arts and culture organizations by enabling them to be more strategic, entrepreneurial in their thinking and projects and better managed to withstand the myriad challenges facing civil society and the creative community. There are virtually no support opportunities for emerging leaders in the culture sector to sustain themselves intellectually and critically and in terms of skills; and to share and distribute knowledge to ensure continuity, renewal and transitions.
Where other sectors have developed opportunities for seeding and incubating new ideas and new ventures and to solidify and re-focus existing structures and institutions, the arts and culture sector still lags behind. Leaders of arts and culture organizations are often left to fend for themselves and it is high time for them to receive the support and know-how they badly need and to build a community of practice in order to expand their reach, develop diverse income streams and anchor their mission and work with broader stakeholders and the grassroots.
We felt energized by the diversity, passion, commitment and drive of the applicant pool of organizations – this highlighted the potential that a more sustained, efficient and impactful sector could have on the development of societies in the Arab region.
The opportunity to review dozens of applicants highlighted the alarming fragility and the financial constraints facing many of existing important organizations, as well as emerging new structures. In many instances applicants required a more urgent and holistic interventions that would fall outside the mandate of the ACE program.
Our decision-making was not necessarily solely based on the excellence of the organizations nor on their urgent need for support but whether they could fully benefit from the structure and the time frame and the offerings that ACE is designed to produce.”
The Eight Selected Institutions
Zawya Cinema and Distribution (Egypt – Film)
Photopia Cairo (Egypt – Photography)
Nowhere Online Music Platform (Egypt – Music)
Beirut Art Residency (Lebanon – Visual Arts)
Minwal (Lebanon – Performing Arts)
Atelier Kissaria (Morocco – Visual Arts)
SJ Music Production (Palestine – Music)
Damascus Theatre Laboratory (Syria – Performing Arts)
For more information on Arts and Culture Entrepreneurship Program, click here