A.M. Qattan Foundation and Sweden Hold Third VAFF Meeting
On 27 January 2021, the A.M. Qattan Foundation organised the third annual VAFF meeting with Sweden, funder of the “Visual Arts: A Flourishing Field” (VAFF) project. The meeting was held online and attended by Christina Etzell, Head of Development Cooperation and Maria Ardaji, National Programme Officer from the Consulate General of Sweden; and Fida Touma, the Foundation’s Director General; Mahmoud Abu Hashash, Director of the Culture and Arts Programme (CAP); Yara Odeh, VAFF Project Manager; Tarteel Moamer, VAFF Assistant Coordinator; and Awni Wahbeh, VAFF Accountant.
This is the third annual meeting following up on the progress of the project and its achievements.
Fida Touma launched the meeting with a quick overview of the Foundation’s work in 2020 and the changes that occurred because of the pandemic. COVID-19 altered the tools and work methodology at the Foundation, particularly in relation to their work in the cultural field. For example, the Foundation launched the Takatof grant for Palestinian cultural institutions in Palestine and Lebanon in partnership with the Culture Resource (Al Mawred Al Thaqafy), through which it supported 17 small- and medium-sized institutions. This came as a response to the escalating negative economic impact of the pandemic and to provide necessary stability for smaller institutions whose existence is gravely threatened.
Yara Odeh presented a brief of the Foundation’s achievements in 2019, in which the VAFF project concluded its first round of grants with exceptional output and results reflecting the efficiency and excellence of its partners. The project also announced its second and final round that year, through which 10 grant implementation agreements were signed with 10 different Palestinian institutions.
“The project partners responded to the developments of the pandemic and its consequent challenges by implementing their programmes online when possible—therefore, transforming challenges into work opportunities and experimentations. This shift required additional effort from the workers in terms of altering initial work methodologies and adapting their plans and budgets to fit this transition,” Oded added, speaking of the developments that took place in 2020 and the impact of COVID-19 on the partner programmes. The VAFF team met the new and inspiring partner initiatives with great flexibility and readiness to contribute to offer their support.
Christina Etzel pointed out that one of the four funding priorities—as stated in the Sweden Strategy for Development Cooperation with Palestine 2020-2024—will be in the field of human rights. This will be dedicated to projects that support freedom of expression and media, including culture and other areas supporting general liberties. In this context, the participants also discussed opportunities for future cooperation between the Foundation and Sweden, which will be expanded further in the near future.
The project is funded by: