Professional development for UAE-based artists – a free intensive course by SAF

Much lip service is paid to the economic and sociological benefits of a healthy cultural ecosystem, but there aren’t too many practical projects that offer genuine support and assistance. So let’s hear it for Forsa School, a Sharjah Art Foundation initiative that aims to give UAE-based artists, creatives and cultural practitioners some of the practical skills and professional knowledge needed to navigate the Emirates’ art ecosystem.

Forsa School is a programme of public seminars, private sessions and one-on-one mentorship (forsa translates as ‘opportunity’ or ‘chance’). There will be at least two of these per week during the programme, which runs from 7 November to 13 February 2021. You’ll need to apply quickly – applications close 22 October.

The curriculum aims to cover “essential topics for artists’ professional development” in a number of areas, among them financing, project planning, licensing, intellectual property, marketing, pricing and communication. It will also look at more personal issues such as overcoming artistic block, sustaining a long-term art practice, and working closely with clients, galleries and art institutions.

Participants will also have an opportunity to meet programme tutors for private sessions tailored to their individual needs.

Another objective is to produce detailed reports on the needs of the local art community, including findings gathered through interactions with Forsa School participants and tutors. The reports will be published periodically as a critical resource for artists, institutions and the public about developments in contemporary art in the UAE.

The programme mixes online interaction (some public seminars will be live-streamed for general access) with in-person meetings at Sharjah Art Foundation venues and occasional off-site visits to studios in Sharjah and other emirates.

The programme is run by Naqd, hitherto best known for running artist meetup critique sessions that provide feedback and constructive criticism for artists and creatives in order to benefit their growth and development.

The programme is free and open to UAE-based artists and practitioners over 21. Apply by 22 October with a CV, a portfolio with up to five recent projects, and a 500-word artist’s statement. More information is here.

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