The A. M. Qattan Foundation and Birzeit University sign a Grant Implementation Agreement
As part of the first round of funding in the “Visual Arts: A Flourishing Field” (VAFF) project, Birzeit University (BZU), represented by the University’s president Dr. Abdul Latif Abu Hijleh, and the A.M. Qattan Foundation, represented by Director General Ziad Khalaf, have signed a Grant Implementation Agreement (GIA). The US$188,932 grant will support the university’s “Visual Art, Development and Capacity Building for BZU and Faculty of Art and Music” project.
Commending the ongoing cooperation with the Foundation, Dr. Abu Hijleh presented the new developments at BZU, among which is the introduction of the BA Programme in Contemporary Visual Art. Dr. Abu Hijleh said: “The BA in Contemporary Visual Art is an interdisciplinary programme that provides a unique learning opportunity for students in drawing, painting, sculpture, 3D, installation, photography, video, film, sound, performance and social intervention, as well as historical and theoretical studies. The programme will be taught by prominent local and international visiting lecturers and artists, and provide a comprehensive educational experience through their different perspectives on contemporary art practices. Until all teaching staff are appointed, the programme has been initiated with 10 students. The building that will house the art and music programmes is expected to be inaugurated in April 2019.”
On behalf of the Foundation, Director General Ziad Khalaf stated, “This GIA is part of a strategic partnership between AMQF and BZU that aims to support the education and culture sectors in Palestine with pioneering education programmes for new generations of artists, giving impetus to the Palestinian art scene.”
The project will focus on developing the teaching and technical capacities of the Contemporary Visual Art BA Programme. It will provide the Samir Aweidah Visual Arts and Music building with specialist equipment for the printing lab, with a focus on traditional as well as new technologies in printing, including lithography, etching, screen printing, digital printing on materials (wood, plastic, fabrics, paper), and 3D printing. The equipment will be available to students, and to artists and other professionals. Shada Safadi, an artist who has a diploma in etching from the Adham Ismail Institute in Damascus and who holds a BA from the Faculty of Fine Arts at Damascus University, expressed her enthusiasm for the project. Safadi believes that printing and etching departments are among the most important in visual art faculties around the world. “The provision of specialist equipment for the printing lab and the introduction of arts degree programmes at a university such as BZU will contribute to encouraging a new generation of Palestinian students and artists to specialise in this discipline,” Safadi concluded.
The project will also contribute to developing BZU teaching staff’s technical and teaching capacities in partnerships with international universities. In addition, the project aims to provide learning and research opportunities through use of the BZU archives and art collections, making them available to artists and art students as a basis for research and the creation of new knowledge.
VAFF is a $4 million sub-granting project being implemented over a period of 6 years, from 2017 to 2022. It aims to enhance the capacities and sustainability of visual arts organisations, develop their artistic and educational programmes, learning and research opportunities, and enable art organisations to extend support to artists and art professionals for the production of innovative works and community-based art projects. VAFF has been developed through a participatory approach involving several visual art institutions and artists in Palestine to best identify and address the needs of the visual arts scene through the project.
The project is funded by the Consulate General of Sweden represented by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)