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Open Call: Summer Academy 2020

Open Call: Summer Academy 2020

NOTE: Darat al Funun is currently closed due to the coronavirus outbreak. No decision has been made about whether the Summer Academy will run as planned. For updates, follow Darat al Funun on Facebook.

Darat al Funun-The Khalid Shoman Foundation welcomes your application to join its 2020 Summer Academy, which will be held June 13-July 11, 2020.

Applications are due by March 31, 2020.

The Darat al Funun Summer Academy is an intensive four-week program in Amman, Jordan, combining practice and theory for artists of all experience levels to enhance their skills.

The program is built around a specific topic each year, through a series of intensive courses provided by artists, curators, and academics. Grounded in the Arab world, artists will have the opportunity to exchange knowledge with their peers, and to hear and learn from prominent guest speakers.

Art and Social Practice

The focus of the 2020 Summer Academy will be on Art and Social Practice, an umbrella term that encompasses a diverse range of forms, ranging from art activism, community-based art, participatory experiences, environmentalism, urban encounters, and social sculpture. The output can take many forms, in some cases expecting the viewer to be the art maker. In short you can say that socially engaged art focuses on specific issues, observations and problems, which can broadly be distinguished as being change-based, issue-based, place-based, and/or community-based.

Although throughout the 20th century, artists from the Arab world have responded in various ways to political and social issues, the past decade has seen a marked rise in the region in socially engaged practices. Setting them apart from their predecessors, artists today are operating more and more directly within the public sphere, often as part of grassroots initiatives, and expanding into both participatory and interdisciplinary projects, including architecture and environment.

The 2020 Summer Academy will be led by active practitioners in the field, while guest lectures address the many questions that need reflection and research, particularly in the context of a region in turmoil. Does social art need to have a purpose that lies outside the art, i.e. should it aim to actually solve the issues it addresses, to instigate the change, to raise public awareness? How does one deal with a region being used as a fertile subject of art by those not directly involved or affected? Does art still have the power to change things? Should it? And how do you, as an artist, deal with this conundrum in your practice?


We are looking for a maximum of 15 motivated and committed participants aged between 25-35 from a mix of backgrounds, but particularly graduates and emerging artists who are working or considering working in a socially engaged practice, and who want to explore, reconnect or reimagine their practice grounded in the Arab world together with their peers from the region.


All participants are expected to attend and actively participate in the full four-week program. Courses are given in Arabic and English and command of both the Arabic and English language is required. We ask participants to bring a laptop or tablet, material from their own archives, pocket notebook and pen.

Financial Considerations

Tuition at our Summer Academy is free. We do, however, expect you to pay your own travel costs to/from Amman. For participants from outside Amman, we offer shared accommodation in one of our residency flats and a per diem.

Application Process

To apply, please fill in the application form in English or in Arabic. You can complete and submit the form online through this link on or before March 31, 2020. Any enquiries can be emailed to .

Successful applicants will be contacted to discuss their participation from April 15, 2020. We regret we cannot give individual feedback to applicants who are not selected.

Darat al Funun

Darat al Funun is a home for the arts and artists from the Arab world. We trace our beginnings to 1988, and are now housed in six renovated historical buildings from the 1920s and 30s, with a restored archaeological site in the garden. We aim to provide a platform for contemporary Arab artists, to support art practices and artistic exchange, to stimulate critical discourse, and to research, document and archive Arab art.

Established on the occasion of Darat al Funun’s 30th anniversary, the Summer Academy was launched in 2019 with a regional scope, and shaped in collaboration with the newly established Darat al Funun Advisory Board. It takes its inspiration from the 1999-2003 Darat al Funun Summer Academy which was established on the occasion of our 10th anniversary to provide a key opportunity for emerging artists to study and work under the supervision of the late Berlin-based Syrian artist Marwan.

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