Seeking to support independent artists, creatives, and collectives in the UAE, in the light of COVID-19 outbreak, and its resulting challenges, Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), in association with independent cultural organisation Art Jameel, has announced the successful conclusion of the first phase of the micro-funding initiative ‘Art Jameel Research and Practice Platform’.
The rapid-response programme, developed and designed in-house by Art Jameel’s UAE team, was one of the first culture-oriented relief initiatives to launch during the COVID-19 era, globally. Launched as a MENA-wide initiative, Dubai Culture joined it, pledging support for the UAE artists, curators, writers, and creatives, who were impacted by the crisis. An open call was launched inviting creative talents from across the UAE to apply. Successful applicants were then selected by an independent jury, responding to the urgent need of the applicants and the quality of their creative projects.
Concluding the first round, Dubai Culture and Art Jameel have awarded 47 allocations of AED3500-7000, benefitting more than 75 creative practitioners from the UAE. The platform represented the international nature of the UAE society. Artists from 47 different nationalities applied, 17 among those were awarded; 70% from Dubai and 30% from other emirates, where UAE nationals represented the highest number of applicants and awardees.
The MENA-wide Art Jameel Research and Practice Platform received a total of 496 applications from artists of more than 49 nationalities and awarded 97 applicants.
Hala Badri, Director General of Dubai Culture, said, “We are pleased that our partnership with Art Jameel Research and Practice Platform initiative has benefited the UAE creative community in a unique and innovative way. Together, we were able to allocate micro-grants to a considerable number of applicants and we hope that this will benefit the winners and play an integral role in keeping the spirits of the artists high during these trying times.”
She added, “The current unprecedented situation calls for collective efforts to help the creative industry. This initiative helped us reach out to those really needed this support at this time with an effective funding solution. This initiative is part of our efforts to support the creative community with strategic partnerships and innovative initiatives, with a broader aim of empowering the overall creative industry.”
The applications were evaluated through a custom, purpose-built rigorous evaluation system that awarded points to varying attributes over four stages. The review process involved a jury of established practitioners familiar with the regional cultural ecosystem and the nature of such programmes. The applications were accepted from 1st April 2020 to 7th June 2020.
Antonia Carver, Director of Art Jameel, said: “We are delighted to have partnered with Dubai Culture to provide a rapid and effective fund scheme for creatives in the UAE and the greater region. The applications received demonstrated a breadth of talent and diversity of ideas that reflect an ever-growing and evolving art scene locally and regionally."
She also added: “We are pleased that we contributed to the collective efforts to support creatives mitigate the effects of Covid-19 on their practice. With the Art Jameel Research and Practice Platform and other initiatives launched in the UAE and in the region, we hope that creatives can navigate these challenging times, and continue to produce works, with continued financial relief.”
In an effort to help the UAE’s creative landscape, the programme also considered small-scale cultural collectives and organisations and creative freelancers, as well as independent artists. The collaboration between Dubai Culture and Art Jameel and this platform seeks to enable practitioners to sustain their businesses and livelihoods during these challenging times.
The association comes within the framework of Dubai Culture’s efforts to enable and empower the cultural scene and strengthen the community’s interaction with cultural activities by encouraging creative talents to showcase their creations and remain optimistic during the prevailing challenges.