Open Call
Out of The Rifts: Forging Resilience Within Changing Landscapes
Darat al Funun Summer Academy 2024

23 June – 31 July 2024
Application Deadline: 31 May 2024 at 23:59 Amman time

We are experiencing the effects of intensified rifts— denaturalising rifts induced by settler and global colonial forces. These rifts serve today as agents of disruption and separation, rupturing our landscapes, fracturing our societies and ecologies, and fundamentally altering our realities. They pose deep threats to our lives, demographics, societal structures, and cultural systems, compelling us to confront existentially the unprecedented transformations they bring.

The summer academy, Out of the Rifts: Forging Resilience Within Changing Landscapes, invites emerging practitioners to critically engage with their practices and the broader role of arts and cultural institutions in response to these intensified rifts and the resulting transformations in our landscapes. It challenges participants to reassess existing cultural systems, habits, and knowledge practices, and to consider modes and methods that can forge individual and collective resilience amidst emerging terrains.

Through a series of facilitator-led workshops and other collective sessions that blend conceptual, theoretical, and practical work, participants will explore these themes from diverse perspectives and pedagogical models. This program emphasizes process over product, offering a space for deep experimentation and introspection into artistic and cultural practice. It is ideal for contemporary artists, researchers, art students, architects, or anyone interested in the subject and its broader cultural and political implications and concerns.

Primary teaching will be in Arabic, but some readings may be in English. 

The deadline for submissions is 31 May  2024 at 23:59 Amman time.

Stream I: Materiality and Immateriality
Facilitated by: Nadi Abusaada and Wesam Al Asali

This session blends theory and practice, experimenting with building practices to examine how materials relate to broader societal challenges and transformations. Through discussions and hands-on experiments, the workshop aims to transcend traditional dualities often associated with these practices, such as tradition versus modernity and local versus foreign. Instead, it focuses on the situational particularities of materials, exploring the potential roles they can play within contemporary conditions.

Nadi Abusaada (PhD) is an architect and a historian. He is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Architecture at ETH Zürich. Nadi completed his Ph.D. and M.Phil. degrees in architecture at the University of Cambridge. Before moving to Zurich, Nadi was the Aga Khan Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Architecture + Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Nadi is also the co-founder of Arab Urbanism and an editorial contributor at The Architectural Review. He also curated and contributed to research-based exhibitions in Venice, Zurich, Montreal, Dubai and Ramallah.

Wesam Al Asali (PhD) is an architect, educator, and researcher, and enthusiast for combining digital and manual fabrication with local building crafts and natural materials. His work explores the impact of culture and society on architectural practices amid climate challenges. Wesam earned his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2021. He currently teaches at IE School of Architecture and Design. His accolades include the RIBA President's Award for Research in Architecture (2021) and the Salje Medal for Doctoral Research in Arts and Humanities at Clare Hall, Cambridge (2022). He leads design and innovation at IWlab, which he co-founded, and established CERCAA, a centre for learning and innovation in building crafts and natural materials in Valencia, Spain. 

Stream II: Reflections on Grassroots Thinking
Facilitated by: Omar Hmidat

What is the difference between grassroots working and thinking versus thinking institutionally or academically?

This workshop critically examines grassroots thinking and work, focusing on how it relates to the specificities of contexts and practices (including communal, cultural, artistic, and economic practices). It invites participants to collectively explore grassroots thinking and working as a conscious cognitive tool for understanding and interpreting contexts and thereby dealing with transformations in societal, economic, political, and cultural life conditions.

Omar Hmidat is a community organiser, filmmaker and transdisciplinary researcher from Palestine. He is a lecturer at Bard College Al Quds. Omar is a Co-director & Steering Committee Member of the Masha3 Critical Practice Studio (CPS), a residency and research practice summer school in Dheisheh refugee camp. His general research practice posits space as central to questions of identity, memory, and social transformation and justice and is situated at the intersections of Architecture, Humanities, Human Geography, and Critical Social Thought. Since 2013, he has been engaged with the local refugee community and grassroots initiatives in Palestine. Omar is currently a PhD candidate in human geography at Newcastle University; his research looks into the confiscation of Palestinian bodies by the Israeli colonial entity. 

Stream III: “It Takes a Village”
Facilitated by: Noor Abed 

The workshop will explore the use of peripheral knowledge to develop alternative social and representational models in Palestine. It will delve into folktales, songs and rumours as conscious collective sources of knowledge deeply rooted in the local context of resistance. Through film examples, readings, and exercises, the approach of 're-learning' will be emphasized, focusing on marginal and lesser-known histories and archival materials. This process will connect these elements to the present moment and explore their potential to shape a new imaginary of daily resistance.

Noor Abed (Palestine) works at the intersection of performance and film, as well as alternative pedagogy. Abed attended the Whitney Independent Study Program in Νew York in 2015-16, and the Home Workspace Program (HWP) at Ashkal Alwan, Beirut 2016-17. In 2020, she co-founded, with Lara Khaldi, the School of Intrusions, an independent educational collective in Ramallah, Palestine. Abed was a curatorial assistant in documenta fifteen, kassel 2021-22, and an artist in residence at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam 2022-24. She was awarded the Han Nefkens Foundation/Fundació Antoni Tàpies Video Art Production Grant 2022.


The Summer Academy is open to applicants from Jordan and Palestine. Up to 10 participants will be selected. Those selected from outside Amman are expected to cover their own travel costs to and from Amman. For these participants, a per diem and shared accommodation will be provided in one of our residency flats.


The Summer Academy Program 2024 will be held from  23 June to 31 July 2024. Participants are expected to commit to attending all sessions and activities of the program. Generally, sessions will be held on Sundays, Thursdays, Tuesdays, and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m; with some exceptions. The final schedule will be shared with accepted students.

The Summer Academy is curated in collaboration with Khaled Al-Bashir.