A page of more or less local competitions, open calls, residencies and other opportunities open to the Gulf’s creative community

Open Call: Al Marmoom Short-Film Competition


Submit a short film to be shown in competition at Al Marmoom Film in the Desert festival. Three category prizes of AED 30,000

  • Al Marmoom Film in the Desert festival (at Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve: dates unknown) is run by Dubai Culture “to promote the local film scene and support creative talent”
  • Local, regional and international filmmakers and creators are invited to submit works
  • Three categories: – Documentary – Animation – Live Action
  • First-place winner in each category gets AED 30,000 and an honorary shield
  • Apply online with …
    – Contact details
    – Passport/ID etc
    – Artist portfolio (text, max 500 chars)
    – “Artwork Concept Proposal” (max 500 chars: presumably a description of the film)
  • No more info currently available – nothing about length, format, language, subtitles, etc
  • No application fee (we think)
  • None specified

  • Film shown at Al Marmoom Film in the Desert festival
  • Three category winners get AED 30,000

Art Jameel Curatorial Open Call for May 2024


DEADLINE 15 October 2023
Submit a curatorial proposal for an exhibition at Hayy Jameel opening in May 2024

  • Submit proposals for an exhibition in Hayy Arts’s first floor gallery at Hayy Jameel, Jeddah, for May 2024
  • Proposals should engage with the geography and history of Hayy Jameel’s location, especially connections in and around the Red Sea
  • Awarded curator will work alongside the Art Jameel team who will provide guidance on the exhibition’s development, exhibition production and design, logistics, and installation
  • Open to curators working anywhere whose research and exhibition making engages with … – Jeddah/ Hejaz histories – Red Sea ecologies – Red Sea histories of migration and the movement of people and ideas – Connected geographies across the Red Sea (eg Egypt, Saudi, Yemen, Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti, Palestine, Jordan)
  • Applicants should …
    – be early-career curators
    – with few or no institutional curatorial projects in their portfolio
    – not be currently employed as a curator in a major arts institution / museum
    – be 3-5 years post-graduation
  • Individuals or collectives can apply
  • Applicants may not include their own artwork in the proposed exhibition
  • Applicants must be able to travel to Jeddah for …
    – one scoping visit (up to 3 days) between November and December 2023
    – up to two weeks’ work within the team between January 2023 and March 2024
    – up to two weeks to install and open the exhibition at the end of April and early May 2024
    – up to one week for exhibition de-install in early August 2024 if needed
  • Must be available for interviews virtually or in-person in Jeddah during the exhibition run
  • Apply with …
    – Curatorial Statement, including working title (max 200 words)
    – Detailed exhibition proposal explaining exhibition’s concept in addition to its relevance to Hayy Jameel’s mission and programming (600-1,000 words)
    – Checklist of proposed works with artist list and bios
    – Draft captions and interpretive texts
    – Proposal for 2-3 public programmes related to the exhibition
    – One curatorial essay (3-5,000 words)
    – Prior research/ literature review (max 800 words)
  • Artists fees, travel and accommodation will be covered by Art Jameel; ditto fees for producing, installing and promoting the exhibition
  • Curator fee of SAR 37,500 plus travel and accommodation to be paid by Art Jameel
  • Timeline:
    – Open Call closes 15 October 2023
    – Winner announced early November 2023
    – Check-in meetings with team December 2023 to March 2024
    – Install and build 22 April
    – 6 May 2024
    – Exhibition opens 8 May 2024
    – Exhibition closes 11 August 2024
  • No application fee
  • No restrictions on nationality, location or age
  • Applicants must be be early-career curators, 3-5 years post-graduation

  • Curate a significant exhibition at Hayy Jameel (May-August 2024)
  • Fee of SAR 37,500 plus travel and accommodation

DIFC Art Nights 2023

ART / 3D

DEADLINE 20 October 2023
Apply to exhibit at DIFC Art Nights (23-24 Nov)

  • Participate in the 16th edition of DIFC Art Nights (23 + 24 Nov, 6pm to 10pm) at Gate Village, DIFC
  • Theme is “Expressions for Sustainable Change” – submissions should “interpret and explore sustainability, environmental consciousness, and positive change through art”
  • Preferred medium is sculpture, but others will be considered. Examples cited are music, and installation, digital art, virtual reality, projection mapping, 3D printing
  • Applications are invited from individuals, collectives/collaborative groups, and galleries
  • Submissions
    must be for original work
    – must reflect the theme
    – must not exhibit political or religious influences
    – must be able to withstand adverse weather conditions
  • Artists are responsible for …
    – providing adequate floor protection, cable trunking, power distribution boards, etc. (DIFC will locate nearest power source and ensure a constant power supply)
    – housekeeping during setup and dismantling (no debris to be left on-site)
    – attending mandatory induction meeting before the event with the DIFC and operations team to discuss setup and logistics
    – insurance cover (DIFC will not be liable for any loss or damage)
    – setup on night of 22-23 Nov, 10pm to 6am
    – advance booking of delivery/removal slots
  • DIFC decides placement of work at the venue
  • DIFC will provide venue, power supply, and marketing support (no assistance with installation or setup)
  • Apply by email – no specific forms to fill in, so no particular information requested by organiser
  • DIFC Art Nights will also feature panel talks, workshops, “entertainment offerings” and “a curated selection of pop-ups” – should be busy
  • No application fee
  • None stated
  • Exhibit for two evenings at DIFC Art Nights

Xposure International Photography & Film Awards 2023


DEADLINE 30 October 2023
Restriction-free no-entry-fee competition with multiple photography and film categories, each of which has one winner, one runner-up and five commended entries. Total prize pool $46,500

  • Criteria: “the Jury is looking for unique, exceptional, and high-quality images”
  • Categories:
    – Architectural Photography
    – Drone Photography
    – Mobile Photography
    (additional prizes available from sponsor Samsung)
    – Nature & Landscape
    – Night Photography
    (additional prizes available from sponsor Samsung)
    – Street Photography
    – Photojournalism
    – Portraiture
    – Short Film & Moving Image
    (documentary, drama, action, or animation / stop motion)
    Junior (restricted to UAE residents under 18, non-cash prizes of digital camera equipment)
  • In each category, there will be:
    – 1 Winner
    – 1 Runner-up
    – 5 Additional Nominated Entries (Nominees)
  • In addition to the category winners, an overall winner will be determined from the highest single image score achieved, regardless of the category entered
  • One user can enter up to 10 images or films across the awards categories, though only one image may be uploaded at a time and each must be allocated to a specific category from the drop-down selection box
  • Images …
    – must be submitted through the online platform
    – should be suitable for public display, printing, and publication in the Xposure Year Book
    – JPG format, preferably 300dpi and in 3:2 ratio
    – image size should be over 2,700 pixels on the long dimension and ideally close to 5,000
    – must have been taken in the last 3 years
    – must be identified with Title, Caption, Place Taken
    – must not include a watermark or name that is not part of the original image capture
    – can have levels, colour, contrast, and brightness adjusted, though adding/removing content or staging a photograph to mislead the viewer are prohibited
    – nominated finalists will be asked to submit hi-res TIFF and RAW files
  • Judging procedure for images:
    – Round One: Entries will be judged for artistic merit and overall impact. The 25 highest ranked images in each category will go forward to round two
    – Round Two: Entries will be judged for composition, technical quality, and effectiveness of expressing the category’s theme. A shortlist comprising the ten highest-ranking entries will be automatically generated then adjusted with additional scoring criteria to produce the leaderboard of winners and nominees
  • Video/film …
    – must be submitted through the online platform as a URL to a film hosted on Vimeo, YouTube, or similar platform
    – running time between 3 and 20 mins
    – original must be MP4, max file size 900MB
    – must be identified with Title
    – must have English subtitles if not in English
  • Judging procedure for film:
    – Round One: jury will independently score each entry. The 25 highest ranked entires go forward to round two
    – Round Two: judges score seven criteria – Concept, Theme, Style/Tone, Characters & Dialogue, Structure / Plot & Pacing, Presentation, Commercial Potential
  • Timeline:
    – Applications close 30 Oct
    – Shortlist notified week of 25 Nov
    – Xposure exhibition inc awards ceremony 28 Feb – 5 Mar 2024
  • Copyright holders retain the copyright of their work but nominated and shortlisted entrants grant the organisers unlimited, non-exclusive use of high-resolution images for activities promoting Xposure in all media // Awarded images will be published in the Xposure Yearbook and the SGMB Public Archive
  • No application fee
  • Junior category restricted to UAE nationals under 18. Otherwise no restrictions
  • Overall Winner gets
    – $6,000
    – flights and accommodation for the Awards Ceremony in Sharjah
    – participation in the Xposure festival exhibition
  • Category Winners get
    – $3,000
    – flights and accommodation for the Awards Ceremony in Sharjah
    – participation in the Xposure festival exhibition
  • Category Runners-up get
    – $1,500
    – flights and accommodation for the Awards Ceremony in Sharjah
  • Nominees get participation in the Xposure festival exhibition

Dolce&Gabbana x ADMAF Design Award 2023


DEADLINE 30 October 2023
Selected applicants (Emiratis only) in three categories receive help from DG to make and exhibit their submissions, with winners also getting a six-month internship with DG in Italy

  • Intended for emerging UAE-national designers to learn, grow, and gain mentorship from industry experts
  • Participants are encouraged to draw inspiration from the Abu Dhabi’s history, its music and arts scene, and its landscapes and scents. Awards cover three categories:
    Fashion: create abaya collections “that blend the essence of traditional Emirati culture with avant-garde designs for which Dolce&Gabbana is renowned”. Creations should fit one or more of these themes: Flowers, Lace, Patchwork, Hand Painting, Embroidery. One winner in each theme becomes part of a capsule collection by DG
    Jewelry: “celebrate the fusion of traditional Emirati influences with the innovative jewelry designs of Dolce&Gabbana” in three areas: Micromosaics for necklaces and earrings, Pearls for bracelets and earrings, Filigree for wedding rings. Each will have one winner
    Fragrance: craft scents that “seamlessly marry the essence of Abu Dhabi’s cultural heritage with the distinct creativity and vision of Dolce&Gabbana” and “take cognoscenti’s [sic] on a journey exploring the essence of summer as well as the opulence of gold. Applicants will develop a fragrance inspired by the five DG Casa themes; one winner in each theme
  • Within their chosen category, participants can enter the competition for as many themes as they want
  • Jury will comprise ADMAF and DG representatives plus “key individuals from the creative and cultural industries” (no names specified). Judging criteria: originality, craftsmanship, ingenuity, “overall quality”
  • The 13 Finalists (five Fashion, five Fragrance, three Jewelry) will produce their designs with help from DG and will exhibit at the Abu Dhabi Festival. One winner in each category will also get a six-month paid internship at DG in Milan or Legnano, dates to be determined by DG (covered are economy tickets, accommodation, allowance of €600 per month)
  • Timeline:
    – Application deadline 30 October 2023
    – Finalists announced 15 November 2023
    – Workshop with DG December 2023
    – Finalist’s designs produced with DG: Jan—Feb 2024
    – Exhibition and award ceremony April 2024
    – Internship tbc
  • Apply online with: – Application form (includes artist statement, “motivation to apply”, details of submission) – Release form – Mood board and technical design sketch (JPG or PDF, max 5MB) // All rights to creations submitted are transferred to Dolce&Gabbana “without any limitation/restriction and on an exclusive basis”
  • No application fee
  • UAE Nationals
  • Age 18 to 30
  • Current student or recent graduate (within the past three years)
  • 15 finalists get help from DG to produce and exhibit their creations at Abu Dhabi Festival
  • Three category winners also get a paid six-month residency with DG in Italy

Waterfront Market Murals and Art Competition


DEADLINE 26 November 2023
Competition to produce a permanent mural at Waterfront Market in Deira. Winner also gets AED 30,000

  • Sixth edition of this competition at the Waterfront Market in Deira
  • Theme: Art for Change (aligns with COP28, supports Dubai’s government’s declaration of 2023 as Year of Sustainability). Work should “promote sustainability and inspire actions toward a more eco-conscious and sustainable world”
  • Apply as individual or team, only one piece of work per applicant. Previous winners are ineligible
  • Acceptable mediums listed are acrylic, oil, watercolour/gouache, digital painting, photography
  • Final work must fit a wall 439cm high x 333cm wide. A full size reproduction will also be made on canvas at the organisers’ expense, to be owned by Dubai Culture
  • Jury will select five proposals for shortlist, to be announced with the winner by end of 2024. Jury members:
    – Khalil Abdulwahid Hassan, director of Dubai Culture’s Fine Arts Department
    – artist Maitha Al Marri
    – Lachlan Gyde, Executive Director – Asset Manager at Nakheel (owns Waterfront Market)
  • Selection criteria:
    – Relevance to the concept
    – Composition
    – Technical excellence
    – Application
    – Creativity
  • Winner will create artwork in situ and in public thereafter, to be completed in time for Art Week (no date specified, but assume late Feb/early Mar)
  • Apply online here with…
    – contact/ID details
    – images of proposed mural (max 20MB, jpg, pdf, png allowed)
    – artist statement (“brief” but no max size)
  • No application fee
  • UAE residency or nationality
  • Aged 18+
  • One winner receives AED 30,000, paints a mural in public at Waterfront Market
  • Work is displayed permanently there; full-size reproduction is made for Dubai Culture’s collection

Dia Al-Azzawi Prize for Public Art 2023


DEADLINE 30 November 2023
Nominate a piece of public art, design or performance (could be self-nomination) for this biennial prize; no cash, but much kudos and a statuette designed by Dia Al-Azzawi

  • Biennial award launched by Tamayouz Excellence Award in 2021 as part of its programme of championing and celebrating the built and urban environment
  • The Prize seeks nominations for permanent or temporary projects of all types that are or have been exhibited in public spaces, including …
    – murals
    – sculptures
    – monuments
    – urban performances – installations
    – public spaces
    – graffiti
    – architecture and urban planning
  • The award aims to:
    – Recognise artworks within the urban context that have had a transformative impact on their community
    – Empower and support young and emerging artists, architects, designers and studios
    – “Respond to a challenging phase for public art in the Near East and North Africa, where there is a crucial need for a more accomplished and exemplary contemporary evaluation and assessment of work”
    – Create educational material in both Arabic and English based on the academic review, analysis and research undertaken on the submitted entries
    – Introduce emerging and established regional artists to a wider community
    – Establish dialogue with local authorities to promote public art in the region that can claim an international level of excellence
  • Nominations can be submitted by anyone, including the artists/designers responsible
  • No fixed criteria for the type, nature, or cost of public art projects, but eligible projects …
    – must have been completed between 1 Jan 2017 and 31 Dec 2022
    – should have already been exhibited “for a while” to “verify their impact on the surrounding environment”
    – must be “based in” (we assume this means “installed or created in”) any of: Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen
  • Criteria:
    1. “Excellence is the fundamental criterion” – could be achieved through design, narrative, engagement, materials, technique, “transformative impact on the project’s environment”
    2. Particular attention is given to public art projects representing “the spirit or the collective feeling of modern times”
    3. Public art that reflects collaboration is encouraged
  • Nominated projects will be reviewed initially by a shortlisting panel (shortlist will be announced in spring 2024) who will report to a Jury for final selection
  • Jury will select one winner and up to seven commended projects
  • Case studies based on the long- and shortlist reviews plus data gathering and independent research, to be published in the award’s annual review/journal
  • Submit nominations via the online form, to include …
    – Project details (title, location, type)
    – Individual or team members responsible (with client and consultants if relevant)
    – Project description (max 100 words)
    Dates for commission and exhibition period
    Relevance (max 500 words on why the project should be considered for the award)
    Link to downloadable visual materials (images, videos, sketches etc plus reference sources, any media coverage of the artwork)
  • No application fee
  • Projects must have been completed between 1 Jan 2017 and 31 Dec 2022
  • Projects should have already been exhibited “for a while”
  • Projects must be “based in” any of: Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen
  • No restriction on materials, content, etc
  • No restriction on age or nationality of the project’s creator(s)
  • One winner receives a statue and medals designed by Dia al-Azzawi (each member of a team will receive a medal). Travel and flight expenses to attend the annual ceremony in Jordan will be covered for one individual
  • Up to seven projects receive commendations
  • All long- and shortlisted projects are documented in the award’s journal, which will act as a reference both for academia and for commissioners

Open Call – Artificial Intelligence Film Festival


DEADLINE 1 December 2023
Submit a short film that includes AI-generated content to be featured at the festival and considered for awards

  • AIFF (Artificial Intelligence Film Festival, an Expo City Dubai initiative) will be a hybrid festival with dedicated website and IRL venue (Expo City Dubai) for screenings, exhibitions, workshops, panel discussions, award ceremony
  • Submit a short film (run time of two to 10 minutes inc credits) that includes AI tools, techniques or technologies to be considered for screening and awards at AIFF
  • Competition is open to all individuals (so presumably not teams or studios)
  • No restrictions apart from age (above 18, valid National ID Card or passport required): open to professional and amateur, film directors, writers, designers, producers, content creators, film influencers, “tech buffs” and “aspiring content creators” with no geographical limitation
  • Max one entry per participant
  • Competition award categories:
    – Best Film (highest overall score from the jury)
    – Best Director (highest score for quality of overall film composition)
    – Audience Choice (total number of votes from online audience)
    – AI Choice (based on evaluation done by “an AI tool”)
  • Jury will evaluate …
    – quality of the overall film composition
    – consistency of the film story and creative message
    – originality
    – AI techniques (creativity of use, skills, incorporation of techniques)
  • The jury will provide a score for each submission from one to 10 for each of the criteria; the highest average scores across all judges will determine the finalists
  • Entrants need to be able to prove that their submission uses AI tools and techniques, ie content generated through one or more of …
    – Natural language processing
    – Speech recognition
    – Music and sound generation
    – Voice synthesis
    – Text-to-speech synthesis
    – Text-to-image synthesis
    – Text-to-video synthesis
    – Image-to-image translation
    – Video editing with AI features
    – Animation tools
    – Motion capture
    – Lip-sync
    – AI video editing/mastering
  • Submissions must be in English or include English subtitles
  • Preference will be given to submissions that have not previously been shown in public (this does not appear to be a definite requirement though)
  • Entrants grant the organiser an exclusive, perpetual, royalty-free license to use, edit, reproduce, distribute and share the submission The organiser gets any revenues generated from exploiting the submission, and will offer no financial support (eg no production costs, screening fees, travel and other expenses to attend a screening)
  • Dates:
    – Deadline: 1 December 2023
    – Shortlisting by jury complete: 8 January 2024
    – Announcement of finalists (and start of online voting for Audience Choice Award): 15 January
    – End of Audience Choice Award voting: 9 February
    – Awards ceremony at Expo City Dubai: 29 February
  • No entry fee
  • Over 18
  • No restriction on nationality, content, professional status etc
  • Participation in festival, with film screened IRL and online
  • Chance to win an award