Research on the Arts Program 2019, Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) and the Arab Council for the Social Sciences (ACSS)

Publish Date: Aug 05, 2019

Deadline: Aug 17, 2019

AFAC-ACSS Research on the Arts Program (RAP)

Cycle 2 (2019-2021)
Applications Open: May 17, 2019
Application Deadline: August 10, 2019
The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) and the Arab Council for the Social Sciences (ACSS) are pleased to announce the second cycle of their joint Research on the Arts Program (RAP). The AFAC-ACSS research grants are a funding opportunity that aims to support research on all art practices across disciplinary boundaries and methodological approaches on key themes of concern to, and in, the Arab region.[1]
This program is funded by AFAC and by the ACSS (funds to the ACSS are provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation). Grants are available to individual researchers (up to USD 15,000), teams of researchers or collectives (up to USD 25,000), and institutions (up to USD 35,000).

Research on the Arts

Research on the arts aims to answer a specific analytical question concerning artists, art practices and/or art production. Additionally, the processes and practices involved in connecting, producing, thinking, and communicating art and culture work, in specific contexts, may be documented and analyzed.
Within these broad issues, the autonomy of arts has been subject of controversy. On one hand, art for itself and the domain of art as free from material purposes outside of itself remains an ideal for some artists and publics alike. When analyzed, in this case, art is seen as an aesthetic space apart from societal context, constructed as occupying an independent space that resists explanation by social scientists. On the other hand, another group sees artists as producers of knowledge that mirrors, analyzes and critiques social and political issues and contexts.
This program supports research on the arts not only for what they reveal about aesthetics but for what they uncover about society. Social, economic and political contexts matter, and the question for researchers becomes how arts engage with the surrounding environment. Social scientists, humanists and art practitioners, working singly or collaboratively, are encouraged to produce knowledge on how social, economic and political processes shape the arts (practices and production) or vice-versa and explore the role and status of artists in the wider community. Forms and functions of works produced by artists and their relationship to the broader society are equally of interest. 
Nowhere has the discussion on the role of arts in society been more vibrant than in the Arab countries particularly during and in the aftermath of the Arab uprisings that started in 2010 and are still continuing. At these historic moments, arts and creative expressions flourished, contributing to fostering a dynamic and lively civil society. Young people used music and graffiti as well as other artistic tools to express political dissent and also used their art to engage in critical discussions about politics, religion, culture, nationalism, and identity. As they did, they interrogated the relationship between the state and cultural production and imagined new ways for arts to transform society.
This program encourages academics and art practitioners to undertake research on the arts with the broad aim of empowering the production of different kinds of knowledge and encouraging dialogue between academia and practice. Art research can be academic or practice-led however the research output must include a written component, where theory, context, connections, reflection, and systematic investigation are shown and communicated. The program aims at canvassing a broad range of research proposals from across different countries and disciplines. We also encourage research that studies more than one country or region.  We particularly invite interdisciplinary proposals that link the arts, humanities and social sciences. Quantitative as well as qualitative projects are eligible and mixed-methods approaches are encouraged.
Possible Topics
  • The role of official and unofficial institutional processes in giving rise or constraining the emergence of art.
  • The impact of the expansion of art markets, economic restructuring and constrained public funding on the arts.
  • The impact of neoliberal models of institutions and organizations on the arts.
  • The definition of artistic work, artistic identity and audiences.
  • The relationship between artists and the state; the role of official institutions in providing support or undermining artistic production.
  • The effect of technological innovations and computer technology on artistic dissemination and the production of new forms of artistic expressions.
  • Impact of laws, cultural policies, culture industry and practices on the form and content of art works.
  • Access of diverse publics to the arts.
  • Art spaces as aesthetic and/or political spaces.
  • The role of the arts in class and status reproduction; how current social inequalities reflect on the arts.
  • The role of arts at particular historical moments and what they reveal about society.
  • Meaning, measurement and impact of arts.
  • Arts as tools of inclusivity and exclusion.
  • Public perceptions of the arts.
  • Elitism vs. populism in the arts
  • The impact of exile, displacement and migration on art production.
Eligibility Guidelines
  • Nationality/Residence
Applicants must be citizens of an Arab Country (defined as a member of the league of Arab States) or nationals of an Arab Country (defined as long-term residents, even if they don’t hold citizenship as in the case of refugees or stateless residents) and must be based in the Arab region.
In the case of teams and collectives, the team leader must be a citizen/national of an Arab country and must be based in the Arab Region. However, teams, collectives and institutions may include Arabs in the diaspora or non-Arabs, but at least two members of the team/collective/institution must be citizens/nationals of an Arab country and must be based in the Arab region. For institutions, the institution must be based and registered in the Arab region. (Branches of foreign international organizations are not eligible to apply).
  • Disciplines
This program is open to researchers from diverse backgrounds in arts, humanities and social sciences, as well as allied fields. Arts and humanities disciplines include art history, comparative literature, contemporary art, curatorial studies, fine arts, graphic design, architecture, languages and literature, folklore studies, media studies, musicology, performance arts, and visual arts. The core social science fields include disciplines such as anthropology, demography, economics, history, political science, psychology and sociology. Allied fields include education, gender studies, cultural studies and urban studies. Interdisciplinary proposals are encouraged.
  • Individuals, Teams, Collectives and Institutions
The program is open to individual researchers, research teams, collectives of researchers and institutions (universities, research centers, arts centers, research NGOs, etc.). For the purposes of this call:
- Individual researchers could be academics or art practitioners
- Research teams include researchers from the same or different institutions, geographies and disciplines who have an interest in conducting multidisciplinary research on the topic of arts.
- A collective is an independent group of researchers that has been working collaboratively on a specific theme for years and has a mission statement, a set of practices or a set of outputs that reflect its identity and purposes.
- Institutions could be a university or a university department, a think-tank, a research NGO, etc.
Research teams, collectives, and institutions must present their applications in teams of up to four members, including a principal investigator and co-investigators.

For more information click "LINK TO ORIGINAL" below.

This opportunity has expired. It was originally published here:

Similar Opportunities



Architectural Theory


Art History


Cinema and Audiovisual

Communication Studies




Fine Art

Gender Studies

Graphic Design

Heritage Studies







Political Sciences


Social Sciences



Opportunity Types



Financial aid


Eligible Countries















Saudi Arabia





United Arab Emirates