Self Organizations 2020

Category: Informal Co-ops

Ahmed Feteha, Heba El-Sherif, Maha ElNabawi, Mariam Aboughazi

Four Egyptian freelance journalists, writers, researchers, and content creators, will set up a shared recording and editing studio that can be used for interviewing, editing, and listening sessions for their upcoming collaborative work. Using the studio, which will be built in one of their homes, they aim to improve the quality and capacity of their independent, often self-funded, podcast projects and share this space with other practitioners. By hosting regular listening sessions, they also hope that the space can be used to foster a supportive community around locally produced audio content in Egypt, and as a launchpad for future collective work.

Aland Shahab, Kazhan Akram, Mhamad Emad, Rozha Rebwar, Zholy Shwan

A group of Iraqi musicians and organizers based in Sulaymaniyah want to create a shared studio space that they can use collectively to produce, develop, and showcase their work. With these resources, they would like to extend their collaboration with other artists with the aim of experimenting with Arab and Kurdish musical heritage.

Anthony Sahyoun, Bernard Hage, Elie Noujeim, Nadyn Chalhoub, Chris Jabr, Samir Syriani

A group of 20 cross-disciplinary, Beirut-based artists, will build a collective website to showcase their own and others’ work, and highlight their artistic collaborations. The website will also serve to document the history of their collective practices, and make their current practices more accessible and visible to different publics. Using the platform as a resource, they hope this project will help develop their work towards being able to live sustainably from their artistic practices.

Amro Amer, Mohammad Nofal, Ra’ed Bader, Sami Zarour

These Ramallah-based transdisciplinary artists will come together to rehabilitate late Palestinian artist Isam Bader’s ceramics workshop, located in the industrial zone of Al-Bireh, transforming it into a shared audiovisual working space that can be used for projects, collaborations, and their own practices. This space will be open to other arts practitioners, and the resources within it shared with a wider community; the studio can also be used for exhibitions, performances, and other events, serving as much-needed infrastructure for the local arts landscape.

Ashraf Mtaweh, Ghassan Salhab, Mahmoud Korek, Mark Khalife, Nadim Deaibes, Rami El Sabbagh, Sabine Sidawi

This group of filmmakers working to create a formal cinema cooperative in Lebanon that desires to foreground an alternative mode for film production based on inclusive, equal-opportunity, feminist, and secular values. This cooperative plans to be a platform and resource for filmmakers to produce and distribute their work, develop their skills, share resources with one another, and become part of a larger filmmaking network across the country. The cooperative also aims to engage with and have an impact on the local alternative film community and economy.

Aya Bseiso, Hussam Da’na, Khalid Odeh, Noura Salem

Four cultural practitioners and artist collaborators based in Jordan from diverse backgrounds make up the new collective Bahleen. For this project, they will organize a residency for artists, collectives, researchers, architects, and surveyors that will take place over six months. The residency is designed to relocate across the country at different points in the year, with the intention of investigating the sociopolitical histories and emancipatory potentials of art practices and experimenting with alternative forms of coming together. Each relocation will see new spaces and collaborators, as well as the development of new and existing work in dialogue with participants and environments, aiming also to engage with the surrounding neighborhoods and rooting the work in a network of local figures, guides, and mentors outside of traditional institutional frameworks.

Engy Mohsen, Mohamed Bakri, Nada Elkalaawy, Rania Atef, Soukaina Joual

Five visual artists from Cairo, Alexandria, and Fes have a shared desire to work together under the name K-OH-llective. The brainchild of this coming together is to create an online platform around art practices. The platform will be used for resource-sharing amongst artists, writers, and curators in Egypt and the Arab world in need of this type of content and critical discourse. The platform aims to feature an open-source library with a database of useful tools for arts practitioners, as well as a selection of podcasts, articles, and otherwise recorded discussions and can be used to stage open studios, facilitate collective conversations, and act as a conduit for future art-making and cross-disciplinary collaboration.

Katherine Durgin, Layane El Hajjar, Lisa Luxx, Nadia Ali

This group of artists, activists, and organizers will create an informal care exchange in neighborhoods in Beirut where a high number of single mothers live below the poverty line. It will focus on single mothers to be nominated as childminders in their own households and share resource boxes. A developmental play expert will contribute in the play training along with the social work and education inputs. The program will thoroughly address the unpaid labor of mothers and acknowledge their role performing labor. This program will also include local events, such as storytelling sessions, feminist meetings, and workshops for women of all nationalities, aspiring to create a localized economy, a new system of support, and a sustainable community network through a variety of feminist and arts practices.

Maya Khaldi, Sarouna Mushasha, Shurouq Qawariq, Yasmin Huleileh

These transdisciplinary Palestine-based artists want to set up a communal workspace for artists working across mediums in Ramallah. The venue will include a recording studio and other multifunctional spaces, and will be used to develop their practices in a way that encourages collaboration and shared access to knowledge, equipment, and resources.

Sarah El Miniawy, Ayt Ali Zekry, Sabrine Insaf Bou Mdhel, Leila Borsali, Leila El Kebir, Rafik Ben Hamed, Rafik Merzouga, Saïd Gaoua, Saliha Ouid Moussa

The Egyptian/Algerian music promoter Sarah El Miniawy will work with this group of Algerian musicians that came together after a shared experience at a workshop on new music development run by Palestinian musician Kamilya Jubran. The musicians will work collaboratively to further explore the genre of Andalusian music, its history, characteristics, and contemporary possibilities. Through a year-long series of collective and individual practice, composition and production sessions, resource, and equipment sharing, the musicians aim to share their experience with contemporary forms of the genre while creating a space for discussion, analysis, and focused work with and around it.

Category: Topical Assembly/Group Action

Alia Sabry, Hazem Shamy, Nada Elissa, Nader Abozied

Four Egyptian designers, musicians, artists, and facilitators will initiate a series of transdisciplinary meetings over five weeks that rethink social media use and look into the development of the ego-construct as it interacts with the digital world. These meetings will take on a range of forms, including creative dialogues, reading groups, participatory activities, and co-facilitated sessions, and will be set up in a co-living space for artists. Sessions will be structured according to a flexible design that allows for conversations and production to evolve as participants progressively grapple with the issues at hand.

Dahna Abourahme, Dima Mabsout, Ghaida Dirani, Manal Ghanem, Marwa Abu Khalil

A group of educators and artists who established the Horshna Forest School in Lebanon are planning to organize two retreats to develop their cooperative model. Horshna is an outdoor children’s school situated in the Baabda forest that implements an alternative model for education, focusing on parental participation and an inclusive and adaptable socioeconomic structure. Through the retreats, the group will develop shared tools to help them respond to the current challenges as a community, and find solutions for the issues that they have faced in their collective work this year.

Hammadi Lassoued, Malek Lakhal, Myriam Amri, Rim Benrjeb

Four Tunisian artists, from diverse disciplines but shared research interests, have come together to use an “action-research” approach to explore histories of violence in Tunisia. Through their collaboration, the group plans to produce a sound installation and exhibition, and conduct workshops, seminars, and open calls around particular historical questions that reflect on the role of oral history in post-authoritarian contexts.

Category: Private Audiences

Abeer AlHadrami, Ala’a Ghulam, Salem Bin Sahel

A group of Yemen-based artists and musicians will organize a series of events dubbed Angham, the first of which will be centered around a talk between visual artist Abeer Al Hadrami and oud-maker Ala’a Ghulam, and which will also see a group of female musicians including Mahyub Saeed, Maria Al-Ajili, and Sarah Al-Ajili perform a variety of musical pieces in the city of Al-Mukalla. The group plans to document the event and distribute the material online, in the hope that the event’s success will pave the way for the development of a series of similar activities that engage local youth looking to the arts as a way to face the current political strife, as well as attract the general public.

Ahmad Karmouni, Diyae Bourhim, Imane Zoubai, Mehdi Ouahmane

Four young artists based in Morocco are collaborating on a research experiment that transforms the personal spaces in which we spend time waiting — homes — into spaces for creative work, exploring what this entails in terms of relational dynamics with family members and collaborators. Responding to the lack of accessible space to produce artistic work, by returning to the intimate they hope to reflect on alternative working modes for artistic production and dissemination.

Hebatallah Hendawi, Insaf Wanas, Maram Sha’ban

This group of urbanists, artists, and architects from Egypt, Palestine and Tunisia will work collectively to design a participatory virtual arts workshop, inviting 15 arts practitioners to collaboratively discuss and reflect on their experiences of space during and post- pandemic-related social distancing and quarantine. Over three days, the workshop aims to reframe these experiences into imaginative narratives of space and place, with participants responding in the form of artworks produced across a variety of mediums, culminating in an exhibition and publication.

Kaoutar Chaqchaq, Manal Tass, Manon de Matauco

Three cross-disciplinary artists based in Morocco will organize a series of cultural meetings in private residences in Rabat and Casablanca. Ideally, these meetings will be attended by a small network of artists and peers, with the focus being to keep meetings — which will include experiments with drawing, writing, reading, and movement — intimate, reflective, and collaborative. Collectively, and through sharing and developing this experience with like-minded colleagues, the aim is to create a community of people who share artistic complicity and creative values.

Sara Abdel Aziz, Radia Ahmed, Hashem Magdy

A family of a writer, filmmaker, and actor will together organize Gudran, a cross-disciplinary event that features interactive performances in Abdel Aziz’s home in downtown Cairo, which will be refashioned into a theater stage and filming location. The performances, which will take place over three days, are to consist of monodramas that engage with a local audience, and which are inspired by Abdel Aziz’s highly personal experience of the social distancing and isolation measures she has undertaken since the outbreak of the coronavirus this year. Abdel Aziz seeks to bring the immediate neighborhood into the event, looking to connect with arts practitioners and communities in the area, as well as residents of downtown Cairo.

Category: Your Ideas

Aliya Khalidi, Dima Matta, May Adra, Sahar Assaf

Four women theater practitioners will co-organize a series of playwriting workshops led by women artists for women writers and practitioners, focusing on traditional and nontraditional forms of playwriting and guiding practitioners through the entire creative process. The project aims to form a collective that is engaged in skill-sharing and collaboration in order to support an expanding community of women playwrights and theater-makers in Lebanon.

Amr Hosny, Fatma El Zahraa, Islam Elnebishy, Salma Louca

These Cairo-based contemporary dancers are coming together to collectively experiment with small-scale, site-specific performances in non-theatrical locations in Cairo. Using improvisation as a way of interacting with the spaces and audiences they engage with, the group aims to connect intimately with small communities through experimentation with performance and audience-performer relationships.

Elias Nafaa, Joyce Joumaa, Mona al-Jadir

A group of architect-designers will work collectively to design and install a temporary exhibition space within an existing arts institution in Beirut. They envision the new structure to be a host for short-term residencies and group exhibitions for artists, with the aim of testing ways that institutional exhibition models can act as social agents for the arts community. In doing so, they will also reclaim and revive presence in these spaces — a need felt particularly acutely in Lebanon in light of the current circumstances.

Lina Atallah, Maha Maamoun, Mahmoud Tawfik

A writer, visual artist, and writer/musician from Egypt are coming together to set up a generative experiment in proximity where they can collectively explore the concept of a hideout as a space of possibility. The trio aim to form an experimental refuge outside of Cairo in which their experience of communal living is the object of inquiry, as well as a tool through which new artistic pathways can emerge.

Mai Al Shazly, Nadia Mounir, Rania Atef

These Egyptian visual artists will create a collective space for working mothers in the arts, in which their children can be a part of their practice, and through which they can analyze and reflect on their shared experiences and circumstances. This interaction can be used to build models for future collaborations that are responsive to the structural economic and social burdens that heavily impact arts practitioners who are women and mothers. The group plans to create a series of events, including discussions and reading groups, that can be documented to form the basis of future podcasts, publications, and databases, inviting women arts practitioners and those interested to be a part of the community.

Majd Shidiac, Riwa Saab, Sara Sibai

These Beirut-based poets will realize Writers in Response, a literary documentation project housed in a four-day writers workshop for six local writers, poets, and storytellers. The focus will be to allow these practitioners to use the opportunity to process, reflect on, and express their responses to the Beirut explosion that took place on August 4, 2020. While writing-centered, the workshop is also open to experimentation with other mediums, and strives to take into account all participants’ emotional, structural, and creative needs — ensuring the workshop can act as a call to organize around this life-changing collective experience.

This program is part of our project “Distinct Voices”, which is partially supported by the Federal Foreign Office, Germany.