Art Residency Al Balad, 2020. Photo: Mohammed Aleskandarani.

Call for applications

Art Residency | Al Balad, Saudi Arabia

February 18, 2020

Application deadline: February 29

Rubat Khunji
Al Balad District
7291 Balilah Ln.
Saudi Arabia

The Ministry of Culture announces an open call for Art Residency | Al Balad, an inaugural residency program located in the vibrant, historical district of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. In alignment with the socio-cultural changes taking place in the Kingdom, the program aims to nurture bring together Saudi and international artists to encourage cultural and knowledge exchange between artists and the communities in the historical part of the city. 

Art Residency | Al Balad supports the creative development of exceptional art practitioners through fully-funded residencies that provide dedicated time, space, considered collaborations and a supportive working environment. The program is open to Saudi-based and international artists, curators, art writers, historians and critics. It promotes critical thinking and community outreach. Residents are invited to draw inspiration from a city with a deeply rooted, yet little explored, history. The residency aims to encourage dialogue and cultural exchange between the young and dynamic art scene that exists in the city in addition to conversations with the communities who live and work in the old town.

The residency will be housed in Rubat Al Khunji, a historical building located in the heart of Jeddah Historical District (JHD), a UNESCO-listed heritage site. Also known as Al Balad, the area is rich with history, and is one of the rare pedestrian neighborhoods in the city. The unique location gives residents direct access and opportunities to encounter and interact with Jeddah’s communities and to become familiar with the city’s customs and diverse cultures. Rubat Al Khunji was built in 1813, and was originally used as a guesthouse for widowers and single women under the umbrella of a long-term charitable initiative. The building has been since abandoned until it was recently repurposed for cultural events.

The program will provide the residents with 7 open format studios, a living space, and a kitchenette in the historical building and accommodation in close proximity to the residency.

The program is accepting applications until February 29, 2020. Residency cycles start in May, and each cycle is 6 weeks long, comprising of 4 Saudi and 3 international residents, who will begin and end the program simultaneously.

After the end of the application period, a selection committee will meet to go through the applications and select the preliminary candidates and online interviews will be performed to reach a final selection. The dates of the interviews will be on March 13–14, 2020.

This program is organized by the Ministry of Culture as part of the "Art Residency" initiative, and is sponsored by the Quality of Life program, one of the Vision 2030 programs. It is operated by Athr Gallery in partnership with Hospitalfield.

Please visit the application page for more information and to apply online.

Application and eligibility details
Type: open application
Applicants: artists, curators and art writers
Geography: Open to Saudi and international applicants
Residency duration: 6 weeks
Number of residents per program: 7, of which 5 artists, 1 writer and 1 curator.

We invite emerging, mid-career, and established artists, curators and art writers/historians/critics to apply; primary languages spoken are Arabic and English. Applicants must specify at the beginning of the application whether they want a research or a production residency.