Connect ME digital residency programme

The Arab British Centre, in partnership with the British Council, is pleased to announce that applications are now open for the Winter edition of their Connect ME digital residency programme.

The Arab British Centre, in partnership with the British Council, is pleased to announce that applications are now open for the Winter edition of their Connect ME digital residency programme.

Connect ME pairs creatives based in the GCC (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates) and the United Kingdom to create collaborative digital work over a 4-week programme of online mentoring.

The Connect ME programme was devised earlier in 2020 as a response to the Covid 19 pandemic, and as a digital continuation of the Arab British Centre’s creative exchange programme Making Marks, which promotes creative exchange and international collaboration between the UK and Gulf countries. Connect ME thus focuses on connecting creatives aged 18-30 based in the GCC countries and the United Kingdom to create new collaborative work that considers how digital tools can encourage connectivity across borders.

The outcomes are completely up to the pairs, and we welcome applications from all creative backgrounds – writers, musicians, visual artists, performers, and everything in between! – the only stipulations are the work must be delivered to the public through digital channels and it must be in collaboration. The four selected participants will benefit from a residency fee of £1000, guidance and support from The Arab British Centre and a dedicated mentor from a cultural organisation. The works created will be featured on the Making Marks website, the digital home of all artworks created under the programme, and participants will benefit from a social media campaign promoting their work globally across both the Arab British Centre and British Council channels.

You can explore the work created by Rawan AlMahrouqi and Alexis Maxwell, and Alaa Tarabzouni and Ellie Niblock as part of the Summer Residency which ran from July-August 2020.

Eligible Participants

  • Are creative practitioners/artists of any discipline aged 18-30 and based in the United Kingdom or in the GCC (countries include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates).
  • Have an interest in collaborative working and in digital creative production. This project will rely on the participants being comfortable and excited about creating new digital work and incorporating technology into their practices – a good base level understanding of social platforms and digital technologies is therefore desirable.
  • Must be available to participate in the project during the dates specified in the Open Call.
  • Participants will also be encouraged to document their experiences of the collaboration through their and the Centre’s social media channels.
  • Creative possibilities of digital technologies and collaboration across borders are at the core of this project, so a good sense of teamwork, curiosity for exploring new ideas, and strong and open communication skills are essential qualities.
  • The programme will be run in English. A conversational level of English is desirable. Written work can be submitted in Arabic for translation by the Arab British Centre. Please do get in touch if you wish to discuss this and think that there may be ways we can support you.
  • A pair cannot be changed once the project has commenced, and it is each pair’s responsibility to ensure that they work well together to produce the project outcomes.
  • Participants must have internet access to take part in this residency

Committed by the Participant

We are looking for responses that will explore the connectivity and capacity of current digital tools and social platforms. Participants commit to:

  • Take part in weekly mentoring sessions and delivery of artist response throughout the month of the programme (from mid-January to mid-February)
  • Artists must be able to commit to a minimum of 2 hours of contact time with the Arab British Centre and/or lead mentor per week of the programme, and dedicate sufficient time to deliver their project over the month. Please note: time management will be the responsibility of the collaborating pairs.
  • Submit final work by the agreed date.
  • Share their progress and participation through social media channels
  • Deliver participatory activities in line with project and agreed with the Arab British Centre (talk, workshop, Insta-live, etc).

Offered by The Arab British Centre

  • £1000 artist fee (per participant). This includes development and delivery
  • £500 material budget available per paired group (upon budget submission and approval by the Arab British Centre)
  • Note: Material budgets will be paid upfront upon submission and approval of proposal and budget. 40% of participation fee will be paid up-front, 60% of participation fee will be paid on completion of the project.
  • Weekly mentoring/crit sessions with Arab British Centre, lead mentor and visiting artists and curators (Delivered via Zoom)
  • The Arab British Centre will actively support participants to build professional networks and connections.
  • Communications support and dissemination of work online

How to Apply

Fill out the online application form on the Making Marks website in English or Arabic and remember to include/send:

  • A 90 second video of you telling us about yourself and your work in English. Production value is not important – a selfie video is fine! – we just want to hear you talk about your work in your own words.
  • An artist CV, portfolio or link to your current website and social media channels

Note: Applicants who applied for the previous ConnectME residency are welcome to apply again.