Grants, prizes and funds: five opportunities for artists in the UAE open until October

There are currently a number of funds and grants of varying amounts available to visual artists and filmmakers

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, March 12, 2020.  
Stock Images;  The Louvre Abu Dhabi.  Shot November 19, 2019.  Visitors at the Louvre, Abu Dhabi enjoying the sights.
Victor Besa / The National
Section:  NA standalone
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Artists and creative practitioners often rely on grants, residencies and funds from various organisations to help them realise or sustain their research and projects.

Throughout the year, various institutions in the UAE and around the world announce open calls that enable artists, filmmakers, writers and designers to participate in an exhibition, a programme or receive financial assistance for their work.

Here are five ongoing opportunities for artists and creatives in the UAE and the region to consider.

Richard Mille Art Prize

Louvre Abu Dhabi’s first prize for contemporary art, launched in collaboration with Swiss watchmakers Richard Mille, will give $50,000 to one artist.

The prize aims to put a spotlight on UAE talent and coincides with the country’s 50th year.

Any artist working in the UAE is eligible for the award, and the winner will be selected by a jury. A shortlist of four to six artists will also be selected for a dedicated exhibition titled Louvre Abu Dhabi Art Here 2021, which will be showcased at the museum.

The first year's theme, Memory, Time and Territory, asks artists to reflect on the UAE’s transformation since its founding.

Deadline for submission is Saturday. The winning and shortlisted works will be shown in November until March 2022.

More information available at

National Pavilion UAE at Venice Architecture Biennale

The National Pavilion UAE is accepting concept proposals for its participation at the next Venice Architecture Biennale.

Architects, designers, artists, historians or researchers with experience working in the UAE and the Menasa region are welcome to apply. The open call asks for concept proposals exploring the architecture of the UAE or its built environment.

Wetland, the UAE's exhibition at the Venice Architecture Biennale, curated by Wael Awar and Kenichi Teramoto. National Pavilion UAE / La Biennale di Venezia

The selected proposal will be shown at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale, to be held from May to November 2023.

Deadline for submissions is on Sunday, October 31.

More information is available at

Mophradat's Grants for Artists

Arts funding organisation Mophradat is offering grants for artists to help develop their practice. The programme is aimed at practitioners who are experimenting with new forms and knowledge-sharing endeavours.

The grant is open to contemporary artists from or living in the Arab world or are creating projects that are relevant to the region.

Mophradat encourages “eccentric and critical proposals challenging traditional arts genres and discourses”, which can include projects involving research, production of new work, publications, exhibitions, performances and others. This year, the organisation has expanded that scope so that artists can use the grants for financial support towards their livelihood or ongoing research.

Mophradat is currently offering 10 grants of either $2,500 to $5,000. The deadline is Friday, October 1.

More information is available at

Mudun Short Story Prize

Launched by the Barjeel Art Foundation in June, the Mudun Short Story Prize is open to writers working on fiction that is set in one or more Arab cities.

The stories can explore a city’s architectural and historical features, as well as its society and social dynamics. Submissions are not restricted by genres, and works can be science fiction to fantasy. Writers can submit a work of fiction of up to 5,000 words.

The first-place winner will be awarded $350 in cash, while the runner-up will receive $250. The stories will be published on Rusted Radishes: Beirut Literary and Art Journal’s website. Submissions are open until Friday, October 1.

More information is available at

Aarhus Arab Film Festival

The Aarhus Arab Film Festival aims to showcase the Arab world’s diversity through film.

The international film festival, which takes place in October, will showcase Arab films to Danish audiences in Aarhus, Denmark. Applications are open to filmmakers from the Arab world.

Applicants can submit their films for consideration to be part of the festival, which also has a competition for Best Short Film and Best Long Film. Previous films shown at the festival include Egypt's Between Two Seas, directed by Anas Tolba, which has won more than 20 international awards and was shown on Netflix.

The final submission deadline is Friday, October 1.

More information is available at

Updated: September 06, 2021, 7:14 AM