Open Call: research writing for Jameel Arts Centre

Art Jameel is ramping up its presence in Dubai ahead of the much-anticipated 11 November opening of the Jameel Arts Centre on Dubai Creek.

One example is the appointment of a communications team in the form of Ciara Phillips as Acting Head of Communications. She’s just what the Arts Centre needs to get it off the ground, a well-connected PR pro who in a past life was instrumental in getting Dubai Design Week established. This is exactly what’s needed here to position Art Jameel in general and the Arts Centre in particular.

And another is the detailed announced of the second edition of Art Jameel’s multi-year commissions programme. The first of these was for Sculpture; announced in February, the commission went to Kuwait-based artists Alia Farid and Aseel AlYaqoub who will create for the Jameel Arts Centre a site-specific installation that acts as a botanical garden of artificial trees.

Now Art Jameel has announced an open call for Art Jameel Commissions: Arts Writing and Research. This will be the Gulf’s first residency opportunity for writers, critics, art historians, curators and artists whose primary medium is writing; applications are sought for “innovative research” leading to the production of a substantial piece of writing or body of written work before the end of 2020. It can take just about any form, which sounds promising – “booklet, magazine, pamphlet or other experimental printed format”.

Applications are due by 30 November, with a public announcement of the selected candidate(s) in March 2019. The winner will be awarded a three-month residency in 2019 at the Jameel Arts Centre; as well as producing something for the Arts Centre’s Jameel Library, awardees will be expected to instigate and participate in public events at Jameel Arts Centre.

Art Jameel Commissions runs in a three-year cycle and is described as foundational to the programming of the Arts Centre, reflecting the institution’s aims to be a multidisciplinary, exploratory space.

“Innovations in research and written material are crucial for evolving dialogue around art production and the broader development of cultural infrastructure,” said Art Jameel director Antonia Carver. “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.”

Impactful? Well, let’s hope so. At the very least it should contribute to (or even kick-start) a programme of broad and/or deep creative thinking. There’s no restriction on what exactly the research might cover, though preference will be given to projects that match the themes of Jameel Art Centre’s current programming. Those include the GCC – “while the scope of its programme is intentionally international, the Centre is also rooted in its local context” – but also extends to ‘confluence’, especially exchange across geographies or temporalities (as in the Research Studio: Confluence at Art Jameel’s temporary Project Space in Alserkal Avenue, which ran to 31 July). Museology – the role and activities of museums, exhibitions, and arts centres generally – is a third thematic focus.

The Arts Centre is a three-storey multi-function building designed by UK-based Serie Architects that includes over 1,200m2 of dedicated gallery space along with studio and events spaces, a restaurant and shop, and the Jameel Library – 300m2 of contemporary arts research centre dedicated to cultural histories of the Gulf region and located at the heart of the Jameel Arts Centre. Free and open to all, the library will attract students, artists, researchers, writers, professionals and the curious.

More details on Art Jameel Commissions here.


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