Author: Jack Welsh

Liverpool Arab Arts Festival recognises the need for everyone to work together to tackle the impact and effects of the climate crisis. The disproportionate impact on people and communities living in the Middle East and North Africa means the climate crisis risks having the harshest consequences on those with the least power to affect change. 

We believe it is important that we take ethical and moral responsibility for our impact on the environment. We can do this through our practices and activities. As an arts organisation we report on the work we do to mitigate and monitor our impact through our practices and activities. It is important that we act as an advocate, working in partnership with artists and organisations, sharing best practice and encouraging those we work with to reduce their own impact. 

The objectives of our environmental guidance are;

  • To share information with our partners and artists, identifying and providing training examples to encourage learning and development
  • To hear from different communities and people to continuously explore how diverse voices and experience can be heard 
  • Learn best practice and continuously review our environment policy and work to reduce our impact, examining energy use, transport, waste, audience and artist travel and ethical purchasing
  • To bring environmental decision making to Board level, ensuring its is integrated into our business plan

For artists and organisations

As an arts organisation based in Liverpool with an international reach, LAAF recognises that for artists and partner organisations outside of the UK, transport and travel could have a significant environmental impact. We have to take this into account, and have a criteria based on the impact of a work and its ability to raise the profile of an issue.

With that in mind, our environmental guidance for artists and organisations is;

  • To include environmental impact on any proposal or reporting to be part of LAAF
  • To make best practice part of working practice
  • Where travel is involved, to explore the most sustainable travel method, or to maximise opportunity while in the UK and reduce additional travel impact
  • To examine energy use, audience travel and ethical purchasing when making a proposal 

Liverpool Arab Arts Festival (LAAF) is inviting artistic proposals for our 2022 festival.

The festival will be held 8-17 July, 2022 and it will be twenty years since the first Liverpool Arab Arts Festival was held in the city.

Whether in Liverpool or online, we work with Arab artists who are living and / or working in the UK, in an Arab country or within its communities, or identify as having Arab heritage. 

As a festival, we work with artists across a range of artforms, including: music, performance, theatre, literature, spoken word, visual art and more. You can see examples of previous festival programmes on our website.

Proposals can be in any of these artforms. Outputs can include live or digital performances, events, artworks, exhibitions, workshops, public realm works, talks, panel discussions or young people’s activities. The deadline to apply is 7 January 2022. 

Festival Theme

Next year our theme explores our language, how it sits at the heart of our culture, but also how we use it to connect. How we understand each other, how we come together to engage and cross our cultural boundaries. This is how we create a bridge, connecting language and culture. It is how we discover what we have in common and how we communicate. If language is at the foundation of our culture and identity, how we translate to understand each other provides a valuable meeting point.

By its very nature, translation is not purely rooted in language. It can be how we navigate our mixed identities, how we code-switch, changing how we speak and appear when in different situations.

The way we, and our language, is translated, can be influenced by many different things. In literature, there is a focus on how the translation of a text can impact on how a culture, a heritage or identity is perceived. We know how powerful images can be in presenting how a culture can be understood, language is the same. Translation is a powerful tool, but it can also portray power, a dominance over language which can have colonialist implications.

In 2022, Liverpool Arab Arts Festival explores the meeting points for language, the intersections are the places we want to explore.

What we’re looking for

Our call out is divided into two parts:

  • New Artist Commissions

Each year we support several artists in realising new creative ideas. This new work must be developed beyond the concept stage to feature in the 2022 festival.

It must be a considered proposal that could feasibly be staged within the festival, either as a physical or digital event. It must be engaging and thought-provoking, relevant to the theme of Translations.

If you are interested in submitting, please read our brief and how to apply.


We present work by emerging or established artists who are living and / or working in an Arab country or within its communities, or identify as having Arab heritage.

We welcome proposals in any artform including music, performance, theatre, literature, spoken word, visual art, installation, sculpture or any combination of these. Your work may take place physically or online.

For a new commission this work needs to be high-quality and relevant to our audiences. We connect with arts lovers and those interested in Arab arts and culture based locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

The work can be presented as part of our festival. It can be made in collaboration, either with another artist or community. It can potentially be hosted by a cultural organisation physically in Liverpool. It has to be challenging but needs to be accessible for our audiences.

  • Existing Work

Do you have a piece of existing work that you feel would be ideal for LAAF and the festival theme? Could it be re-staged or re-purposed for the festival? Is it a touring work?

If you are an emerging or established artists who are living and / or working in an Arab country or within its communities, or identify as having Arab heritage, and you have an artwork or performance piece you would like to be considered as part of Liverpool Arab Arts Festival, please complete the form below.


  • The proposal/work must be artist-led. You could partnering with another organisation or working within a community, but an artist must be at the centre of this piece
  • Our theme is not prescriptive, but we would like it to be responded to. As long as you can articulate its influence.
  • If submitting a proposal for a new artist commission, this must be a new, original piece of work that you own the rights to.
  • While we can support travel fees, the budget is limited. A large group of artists with international travel would not be appropriate.
  • All our commissions are subject to funding. This means that while we will support the development of the work and artist time, we cannot fund rehearsals and space hire during its development.

We have compiled advice for artists to consider the environmental impact of their work and commission

Please read our Environmental Advice for Artists

The deadline to apply is 7 January 2022

LAAF 2022: Call for Artists

Please fill out this form to submit your proposal for Liverpool Arab Arts Festival 2022
  • Which art form best describes your proposal? E.g. music, spoken word, visual arts
  • Provide any specific quotes (where possible)
  • E.g. YouTube, Vimeo, press links
  • Accepted file types: jpg, gif, png, pdf, docx, doc, txt, pages, .
    Such as a project proposal PDF with further information
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Illustrated view from a bridge in Cairo. It is summer and there are palm trees in the foreground and pyramids in the background.

This film-poem is an invitation to reflect on the situation in Yemen, which is currently known as the “worst humanitarian crisis in the world”. Not much work is being done in Yemen regarding climate change, and especially the threat posed by the floating oil storage vessel, FSO Safer, in the Red Sea. The tanker is likely to explode or sink according to experts, which will cause an environmental disaster that is difficult to contain. This will affect the lives of many, not only in Yemen but also in other countries. However, it seems that the world is still in denial since the danger is invisible to many, and there is no interest in looking beyond the self or diving to explore the unseen.

Photo of Saba HamzaSaba Hamzah (@Saba_Hamzah) is a Yemeni poet-scholar, writer, and educator. She received her master’s degree in Gender Studies from Utrecht University. Saba’s main devices are line and light and the moments in between. Her work questions power structures of societies at large using art and literary interventions as tools for social mediation and transformation. Her scholarship activates silences in living archives of women in the conditions of diaspora and exile.

If you attended an event (either in person or online) during Liverpool Arab Arts Festival, please fill out our short survey.

It will only take a few minutes and it helps us to understand our audiences and shape our festival for the future. It’s also an important part of our applications to funders and our reporting back to them to ensure we can continue to deliver our festival.

Click here to complete Liverpool Arab Arts Festival survey

FIRE © Walid Bouchouchi
EXTREMES © Walid Bouchouchi
PASSIVE © Walid Bouchouchi
COOL © Walid Bouchouchi
PURCHASE © Walid Bouchouchi
UTOPIA © Walid Bouchouchi
COLONIZATION © Walid Bouchouchi
WAR © Walid Bouchouchi
KARMA © Walid Bouchouchi

ISOTYPE is a series of images inspired by Otto Neurath’s theory on isotypes – which he considers to be a universal and non-verbal language – which aims to transform information into visual forms. In this sense, what could be more universal than the emoji in our digital age? I use this iconography (Emoji) common to all people and cultures to talk about a problem that concerns us all, and which requires action on a global scale.

“Words divide, images unite” — Otto Neurath

Walid Bouchouchi is a graphic designer and Fine Arts graduate from Algiers. He is interested in the link between writing and oral expression in the different languages and cultures, with which he is frequently confronted between Algiers, Marseille and Paris. He founded the AKAKIR studio in 2016, participated in numerous international  exhibitions and produced the branding for several cultural festivals.

Photo of Dana Dajani

“Origin Story” is a spoken word poem which reframes our current moment in history as part of the creation tale of the next generation of heroes: young climate justice activists who will lead the monumental task of transitioning our world from the industrial growth society into a life-sustaining living system.

Photo of Dana DajaniDana Dajani is a Palestinian-American actress, poet, and humanitarian. Known for her theatrical style of spoken word poetry centered on social justice, Dana has been invited to perform around the world, including at the Sydney Opera House and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.

Previously based in the UAE (2011-2018), Dana was honored for her contributions to the creative community, as well as her bilingual performances on screen and on stage, with Emirates Woman “Artist of the Year” award, the “Young Arab Award for Entertainment”, and others. She currently lives between Amman, Jordan, and London, UK with her husband and collaborator, Rami Kanso.

Connect online at

Instagram @danadajani.poetry

Artwork: Saleh Lo

The most obvious effects of climate change on the land ecosystem in my country, Mauritania, is desertification and its consequences. We are experiencing significant droughts with immediate effects of the food security of people, particularly those living in villages, like Aichetou – the woman I painted while breastfeeding her newborn baby. Action is needed, soon.

Photo of Saleh LoSaleh Lo was born in 1984 in Mauritania. Since childhood he has naturally been predisposed for figurative art, which he experiments in various ways. As a self-taught artist, he has refined hyper realistic techniques through the study of the works of other artists and following tutorials on YouTube. His work tackles societal issues such as street children, mixed-race unions and slavery. He has exhibited and has taken part in projects in Nouakchott, Dakar, Barcelona, Berlin, Mumbay among others. He lives and works in Nouakchott, Mauritania.
Photo of Tamara Al-Mashouk

This work is a recontextualization of a piece from 2016 titled SKIN where close up topographies of bodies can easily be perceived as landscapes. The subtitles are written in a conversational tone mimicking that of an artist talk and create a space of reflection on my relationship to my skin then and now. It places the issues of race and modern day imperialism face to face with the conversation on the climate crisis.


Photo of Tamara Al-MashoukTamara Al-Mashouk is a London based Arab artist, curator, and organizer. Through multi-channel video, performance, and architectural installation, her work explores the movement of people across societal and geographic borders and negotiates the relationship between home, identity, and memory. It examines resistance as a site of potential and expands epigenetics beyond the body into place and matter.

She has screened video internationally at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Yuan Museum in Beijing, Fábrica de Arte Cubano in Havana, and more. She has been interviewed in Forbes, Vice Arabia, and on BBC Radio. She has curated countless panels including for Arab Women Artists Now, has spoken at Tate Britain, was a 2018-2019 research fellow with the Center for Arts Design and Social Research and a 2019 – 2020 Traveling Fellow for the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. She holds a BA in architecture from Wellesley College and a Post-Bac and MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University, Boston.

Photo of Zainab Rahim

The story of Iraq’s climate and environmental crisis is one of many layers, each generational challenge compounded by another. We wanted to use the iconic (and delicious) Basra Date Syrup jar as a starting point from which to explore the legacies of palm groves among other issues in the soil, water and air. But we also wanted to simultaneously rewind and fast forward – to relish in the abundance that Iraq once had and the joyous moments that we hope will return.

Photo of Alaa AlsarajiAlaa Alsaraji is a London-based visual artist, designer and creative facilitator. Through her creative practice she aims to explore themes such as belonging, reimagining space and community and the impacts of Islamophobia in British society, predominately using the medium of digital illustration. She also works with various creative and educational organisations and collectives as a facilitator, delivering creative workshops with children and women’s groups. In her work she always seeks to emphasise the value of using creativity as a pedagogical process to address and explore structural issues  and their impact on individuals and communities.

Alaa is also the arts editor of Khidr Collective, a multidisciplinary artist collective creating platforms and spaces for young Muslim creatives through the annual Khidr Zine and online platform.


Photo of Zainab RahimZainab Rahim is a writer and editor. She works for a legal charity called RAID, holding corporations to account for human rights abuse and environmental damage. She has recently completed an MA in Postcolonial Culture & Global Policy.

Alongside this, Zainab is the non-fiction editor of @KhidrCollective’s annual zine and has contributed to their newest issue, WATER. She is also the editor-in-chief of a commentary website called The Platform (@YourPlatformUK) seeking to share marginalised stories.

Zainab enjoys archives and photography, as well as feature writing, and hopes to continue developing her skills in these areas. Her review of television drama Baghdad Central was published in Issue 36 of Critical Muslim by Hurst Publishers. Follow her @zainoted.

When we think of climate change, it is the present that comes to mind – and how things were good in past. Looking back at our traditions, we used essential tools to make beautiful things.


That is what inspired this project. The traditional clothes were made from locally-sourced materials and then hand-crafted. Each item of clothing had a story to tell. Each region had its colour, material, embroidery and style for how to wear the garments. At times the clothes were passed on from one member of the family to another, because they were durable and made to last.


We need to revisit our traditions to see how we can make a change. Our fast way of life will have to change due to the damage we are causing to the Earth. So why not slow it down ourselves before it’s too late?

Photo of Ala BuisirAla Buisir is a documentary photographer born in Ireland with Libyan roots. A graduate with a BA in Photography from TU Dublin. Then an MA in Journalism from DCU and currently doing a PhD by practice in UL. Her work documents the social and political tension around us today. The aim is to raise awareness by presenting events through different perspectives in hopes that it may also bring about change.