Architecture Competition: Art Residency | Albalad Program
About The Program
The Art Residency Program | Al-Balad is a program by the Ministry of Culture in the historical district of Jeddah (also known as Al Balad) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The program includes a series of fully-funded residencies that provide art professionals with time, space, and collaboration opportunities to support their creative development. The program is open to Saudi and international artists, curators, and art writers (critics and art historians).
It aims to foster creative practice, strengthen art professionals’ capacities and promote cultural exchange and networks building. Through this initiative, the Ministry of Culture invites all residents to get inspired by a city boasting an extraordinarily rich history that has not yet been fully explored. At the same time, it seeks to promote cultural dialogue and exchange within the city’s art scene and the local communities.
The Art Residency Program | Al Balad is the first of its kind in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It was established by the Ministry of Culture in 2020, in conjunction with the new visa regulations issued by the Kingdom and with the Governments’ vision towards promoting social and cultural growth.
The program stands as a key step towards creating a thriving and sustainable ecosystem which, on the one hand, is capable of stimulating creators from inside and outside the Kingdom to develop their passion and evolve practices and, on the other hand, can contribute to enriching the life of the local communities of Al Balad and beyond.
The Art Residency Program | Al Balad is a program of the Ministry of Culture as part of the “Art Residency” initiative; it is sponsored by the Quality of Life Program included in the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and is implemented by a private organization of Jeddah’s artistic ecosystem which acts as an executive partner.
The second edition of the Art Residency Program | Al Balad is implemented by Hafez Projects.
The Open Call
The program offers residencies for artists, curators, writers (critics and art historians) in the historical district of Jeddah “Al Balad,” a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Al Balad has a rich history and is one of the city’s pedestrian neighborhoods. With its studios located in the historical building of Rubat Al Khunji, the residency stands as an opportunity for the residents to learn more about the city’s diverse traditions and culture. At the same time, it encourages them to interact with the local communities and connect with other art professionals from Jeddah, the Kingdom, and beyond.
The program is open to artists, curators, writers (critics and art historians) from Saudi Arabia and worldwide* who are at the beginning or middle of their career in the visual arts field.
Four residencies cycles will be organized in 2022, each one lasting 6 weeks. Candidacies are accepted four times a year through a submission window corresponding to each residency cycle (please see below).
Each residency cycle will include, on average, 6 residents from Saudi Arabia and 3 international residents who will start and finish their experience simultaneously.
These residencies are intended for artists and art professionals wishing to develop a research and creative project over a period of six weeks. They are process-based: their setting and the chance to work alongside peers, other professionals, experts, and the local communities create a dynamic environment for critical, technical, and professional growth within a collaborative exchange model. In addition to studio space, the residency includes the cost of travel to and from Jeddah, accommodation in a shared flat at a limited distance from the working studios, and a stipend to cover living expenses.
Artists may also apply for a production grant generally ranging from 5000 to 10000 Saudi riyals ($1300-2600) to cover art supplies and other costs connected to the realization of their project. Grants’ requests are assessed on a case-by-case basis and may be subject to revision by the organizers.
All candidates must present a project proposal with their candidacy. Projects may be focused on the topic/theme of the residents’ choice as long as they are connected to the local context of the city of Jeddah and/or Al Balad historical district.
First cycle: 20th December 2021 – 10th January 2022.
Second Cycle: 8th January 2022 – 5th February 2022.
Third Cycle: 25th February 2022 – 26th March 2022.
Fourth Cycle: 15th April 2022 – 14 May 2022.
*Important note: due to travel restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19, only candidates having completed their vaccine process and coming from low-risk countries could be selected. For this reason, candidacies of art professionals traveling from Afghanistan, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, Eswatini , Malawi, Zambia, Madagascar, Angola, Seychelles, Mauritius are not currently accepted (this list is subject to update depending as travel regulations may change at short notice).
- First Cycle: 03/03/2022 – 14/04/2022 | Registration” 20th Dec 2021 – 10th Jan 2022
- Second Cycle: 12/05/2022 – 23/06/2022 | Registration: 8th Jan 2022 – 5th Feb 2022
- Third Cycle: 21/07/2022 – 01/09/2022 | Registration: 25th Feb 2022 – 26th Mar 2022
- Fourth Cycle: 18/09/2022 – 30/10/2022 | Registration: 15th Apr 2022 – 14 May 2022
- Candidacy: At this stage, applications for participating in the program are submitted according to the submission window of each cycle.
- Selection: The committee of experts meets for candidacies assessment.
- Announcement of selected residents: At this stage, the names of the selected residents are announced.
- Art Residency Program: Four cycles will be organized in 2022. Each cycle lasts 6 weeks continues at its scheduled location in Al-Balad, the historical area in the city of Jeddah.
Rubat Al khunji
Located in the heart of Historic Jeddah (also known as Al Balad), Rubat Al Khunji is a historical building whose construction dates back to 1813 AD. It was originally used as a guest house for widows and single women under the umbrella of a long-term charitable initiative. The use of the building was discontinued since that time until it underwent a major renovation commissioned by the Ministry of Culture. Recently it started hosting a number of cultural events.