The 2019 Summer Academy

15 June – 15 July 2019

Darat al Funun is pleased to announce the final selection of 13 artists out of 130 applicants to our Open Call. The final selection is of motivated and committed participants, particularly emerging and mid-career artists who are working or considering working in photography, and who want to explore, reconnect or reimagine their practice grounded in the Arab world. The artists will spend a month in Amman starting 15 June for the 2019 Summer Academy.

Participating artists are: Abulkassem Salama (Alexandria, Egypt), Ahmad Salameh (Amman, Jordan), Amany Adel (Port Said, Egypt), Charbel Alkhoury (Beirut, Lebanon), M’omen Khaled (Irbid, Jordan), Mo’awia Bajis (Amman, Jordan), Mohammed Zakaria (Amman, Jordan), Raya Manaa (Haifa, Palestine), Reem Masri (Ramallah, Palestine), Rehaf Batniji (Gaza, Palestine), Walid Al Wawi (Palestinian/Jordanian based between Sharjah/London), Yafa Atef (Jenin, Palestine), and Ziad Naitaddi (Rabat, Morocco).

This year, the practice-based focus of the Academy is on photography, through intensive workshops given by artists Ahlam Shibli and Hrair Sarkissian. Participants will also be able to hone their theoretical skills through a week-long seminar given by Dr. Salah Hassan, and a series of lectures by Dr. Salwa Mikdadi.


Developing a Photographic Project
Saturday 15 June - Thursday 27 June

The first two weeks of the Summer Academy will be directed by Palestinian artist Ahlam Shibli. Participants will deal with the notion of ‘home’ and will develop a photographic project focusing on this topic. All steps, from a general discussion of what is home (how can we find it, define it, lose it, describe it), through fine-tuning of specific individual projects, to the presentation in the final exhibition, will be part of the course.

The participants will choose specific subjects and discuss them in group meetings. Before going into town to photograph, they will write scripts reflecting subject, methods and goals. After the photographs have been taken, the process will continue with reviewing and editing the photographs, writing captions, artist’s statements and finally presenting the works.

The aim of the course is to enable the participants to develop and structure a photographic project from the very beginning – from defining a specific subject, through taking and editing photographs, to the final step: the presentation.

Arts and Politics in the Arab World
Sunday 16 June- Monday 17 June
5:00-8:00 PM

During the first week of the Summer Academy, independent curator and art historian Salwa Mikdadi, Associate Professor of the Practice of Art History at NYU Abu Dhabi, will give an introduction on Arts and Politics in the Arab World in two evening lectures. Participants will also be given readings and take part in group discussions.

Monday 1 July - Thursday 4 July

In the third week of the Summer Academy, a seminar titled “The Black Radical Imagination: Implications for Art Criticism” will focus on the linkages between Postcolonial studies and the Black radical traditions and their implications for the visual arts in general and art criticism more specifically. These ideas will be explored through the writings of Black revolutionary intellectuals such as Franz Fanon. The seminar will be led by Salah Hassan, Director of the Sharjah Africa Institute, UAE, the Goldwin Smith Professor and Director of the Institute of Comparative Modernities, and professor of art history and visual culture in the Africana Studies and Research Center, and the Department of History of Art and Visual Studies, Cornell University.

Photography and Creative Writing
Monday 8 July - Monday 15 July

The last week of the Summer Academy will be directed by Syrian photographer Hrair Sarkissian. The course will focus on how to use photography to rethink personal, historical, or socio-political narratives. Participants will explore these themes grounded in their own experiences, develop a narrative under the creative guidance of a writer, think through how to represent this photographically, and finally develop their project.