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Photo by Amira Al-Sharif from her project "A Love Song to Socotra Island"

AFAC and ACSS Announce a New Joint Program: Research on the Arts

14 May, 2018 

The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) and the Arab Council for the Social Sciences (ACSS) are pleased to announce the launch of a new joint grants program entitled Research on the Arts Program (RAP) starting in spring 2018.


The new program is inspired by discussions and a meeting of interests between AFAC and ACSS. For AFAC, a study of its past ten years highlighted research as a priority area for the coming years. For ACSS, having built a solid reputation since 2012 as a premier social science organization in the region, its new five-year Strategy includes an expansion of its work into the Humanities and the Arts.


“Anecdotes about art practices are abundant,” says Rima Mismar, Executive Director of AFAC. “However, there is little research and comparative analysis that over time allows for a thorough reading of changes and trends in the arts and their link to the wider cultural, social, political and economic contexts in which artists and cultural institutions operate across the Arab region. We are convinced that by supporting those researching and analyzing the region through an arts lens, our collective understanding of the region will be enriched and broadened.”


For Seteney Shami, Director-General of the ACSS, what distinguishes research on the arts from the making of art is a matter of process and form. “Researchers put their work in conversation with other artists, theories, and practitioners in the field of research, including curators, archivists, historians, anthropologists, ethnographers, and sociologists,” she explains. “Research engages in critical investigations into and between art, practitioners and the world at large. The modes of enquiry and process of documentation becomes an arena for critical interrogation and reflection into the ways that aesthetics and artistic practices engage with, and thus reshape, the world.”


RAP is a funding opportunity that aims to support research on all art practices across disciplinary boundaries and methodological approaches on key themes of concern to, and in, the Arab region. The program aims at canvassing a broad range of research proposals, including comparative research that looks at more than one country or location regionally or globally. Interdisciplinary proposals that link the arts, humanities and social sciences are particularly welcome. Researchers from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.


The program is co-funded by AFAC and the ACSS, for which the ACSS gratefully acknowledges a grant provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. RAP grants will be available to individual researchers (up to USD 15,000), research teams or collectives (up to USD 25,000) and institutions (up to USD 35,000). 


The call opens on May 14, 2018 and closes on August 1, 2018. For detailed information about the grant and application guidelines, please click here. To review the frequently asked questions, please click here


Applications can be submitted in English, French or Arabic.


For further questions and inquiries, contact the grants management team.





About the Arab Council for the Social Sciences

The Arab Council for the Social Sciences (ACSS) is a regional, independent, non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening social science research and knowledge production in the 22 countries of the Arab region as well as the diaspora. By supporting researchers and academic/research institutions, the ACSS aims to contribute to the creation, dissemination, validation and utilization of social science research, and to enhance the role of social science in Arab public life and inform public policy in the region. The four main principles guiding the ACSS are quality, inclusivity, flexibility, and independence. Its programs include grants, fellowships, conferences, research forums, training workshops and publications.

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