ARTIVATOR – Open Call: Fellowship in Art Curation (Assistant Curator)

Liverpool Arab Arts Festival, in partnership with the British Council, is delighted to offer a Fellowship in Art Curation (Assistant Curator) from September 2023 to July 2024.

ARTIVATOR is an innovative Art Management Incubator focused on enhancing the capabilities of cultural practitioners from the MENA region. This initiative aims to provide comprehensive training, mentoring, and networking opportunities to empower participants with the necessary skills and knowledge for success in the arts industry. ARTIVATOR offers a personalised experience tailored to each participant’s needs, leveraging a network of arts professionals, resources, and support from our esteemed partners.

By supporting emerging arts managers, the incubator strives to foster a vibrant and sustainable arts sector in the MENA region. Our goal is to cultivate a new generation of leaders capable of navigating industry challenges while driving growth and innovation. If you are an emerging arts manager in the MENA region, ARTIVATOR presents an unparalleled opportunity to elevate your career to new heights.

What does the fellowship involve?

ARTIVATOR, deeply embedded in MENA-UK collaboration, is seeking an assistant curator to work closely with the festival’s curatorial team and provide support to the participating artists. Key responsibilities of the assistant curator include assisting in the planning and organization of the exhibitions. This entails collaborating with the artists to coordinate logistics, scheduling, and venue arrangements. The assistant curator will actively participate in the physical installation of the exhibitions and ensure effective communication with the artists regarding artwork preparations. Additionally, the assistant curator will contribute to the selection process of the artists.

The Fellowship will also focus on practical tasks and include one-to-one or group sessions on various skills and areas of knowledge. You will have the opportunity to participate in a series of 60–90-minute virtual briefing sessions, enabling you to meet the team, including Festival Manager Jack Welsh, gain deeper insights into the festival, and discuss detailed itineraries.

A small brief on the curatorial idea behind the project.

Port Cities is a new visual art project from Liverpool Arab Arts Festival. It will explore the unique characteristics and significance of global port cities, examining their social, economic, political, and cultural heritage. The project recognises the historical importance of ancient port cities like Alexandria (Egypt), and highlights the accelerated flows of labour, capital, and information that define modern global port cities. Liverpool, with its rich history as a colonial port and its recent economic revitalisation, serves as a focal point for the project. The city’s redevelopment plans, including the creation of a Freeport, raise questions about the impact of colonial legacies, economic zones, and the climate crisis on the future of port cities. Through the Port Cities project, artists will engage in critical reflections and independent research to create new artwork that explores these themes.

Why apply?

As part of ARTIVATOR, The British Council, in partnership with Liverpool Arab Arts Festival, aims to support the development of cultural events and festivals in the MENA region. We believe that skills development, combined with direct practical experience, can help fulfil this ambition. LAAF provides a model of a large-scale festival with international reach, taking place in Liverpool. With its rich history since 1998, LAAF platforms the best UK and international Arab artists, fostering a dynamic dialogue between traditional and contemporary Arab artforms. It encourages informed debate, exploration, and increased appreciation of Arab people and their diverse cultures.

Who is eligible to apply?

This fellowship is intended for individuals with prior experience in art curation who are eager to expand their skills and knowledge in this field. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and commit to participate in the 10-day residency in September 2023 and the preparation work up to the opening of the festival in July 2024. Strong communication and interpersonal skills are essential for active engagement in the program.

Which geographic areas will the Fellowship cover?

For this project, we are seeking an assistant curator from Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, or Tunisia. If you are a national of any of these countries but you reside elsewhere, you are also eligible to apply.

What will you gain?

The fellowship will cover various aspects linked to Art Curation, including:

  • Curatorial Practices
  • Artist / Artwork Selection and Management
  • Exhibition Development
  • Collaborative Work
  • Exhibition Installation and Management
  • Curatorial Research
  • Public Engagement
  • Networking and Professional Development
  • Ethical Considerations
  • Reflection and Evaluation

We aim to provide a comprehensive fellowship for an assistant curator, offering a balance between theoretical knowledge, hands-on practical work, and opportunities for professional growth, empowering the fellow to become a skilled and confident professional in the field of curatorial practices.

What is covered?

The fellowship covers your visas and flights twice, as well as internal travel within the UK. Accommodation in Liverpool will be provided, shared with another fellow. An honorarium of £1,500 and subsistence of £350 for each trip will be offered, and additional hospitality will be provided at the festival.

How do you apply?

To apply, please submit a short biography/CV and a cover letter addressing the following:

  • Why are you interested in becoming a Fellow?
  • What relevant experience do you have to date?
  • What are your ambitions for the future in this area of work?
  • What do you believe are the key personal and practical ingredients that contribute to a successful curated exhibition in a festival?

Deadline: 12am BST, 2nd July 2023.
Please submit your application via email to:
Subject: ARTIVATOR Fellowship – British Council x LAAF

Download this call out: ARTIVATOR – Open Call – Fellowship in Art Curation