Along with announcements of our year-round open calls and grants, which support emerging and established artists working in contemporary art, Sharjah Art Foundation has compiled a list of reputable local, regional and international open calls, educational opportunities, grants and residencies in other institutions. In keeping with the Foundation’s commitment to supporting the art community, this reference tool is updated on a regular basis.

Competition: Tanween Challenges
Ithra, Saudi Arabia
Deadline: 7 July 2024

Unleash your inner innovator and challenge your creativity by taking on a Tanween Challenge! Tanween Challenges is a 6-day competition that offers a unique opportunity for designers across all disciplines to tackle real-world problems. 80 shortlisted designers from all over the MENA region will get the opportunity to craft original, practical solutions within tight timeframes and limited resources. Each of the 4 challenges welcomes 20 participants (individuals or in teams) to put their creative skill sets to the test. Supported by challenge partners, and a supplementary program of workshops and talks, participants will have the tools to tackle their challenge briefs and propose a solution. One winning project from each challenge will be selected for commercial production by our Production Partners.

This year, the Tanween Challenges embrace a life-centered approach that goes beyond human-centric designs, aiming to harmonize human activities with the planet's biodiversity in an era marked by overproduction, technological advances alongside growing inequalities, and urban expansion at the expense of nature. With this collective vision, we advocate for solutions that nurture all forms of life, supported by a cross-disciplinary blend of expertise to tackle these complex issues courageously and innovatively.


Open Call: Dubai Roundabouts
Dubai Culture
Deadline: 11 July 2024

Dubai Culture invites emerging artists, practitioners, designers and architects, both Emirati and UAE-based, to submit innovative ideas and proposals for creating distinctive art installations. These will be implemented at various major roundabouts in Dubai.

The winners will receive a monetary prize for each project, covering the costs of design, raw materials, manufacturing and implementation in the chosen locations.


The Cultural Atelier in Yemen
Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, Beirut
Deadline: 12 July 2024

The Cultural Atelier in Yemen is a new special programme, designed and implemented by AFAC in partnership with UNESCO as part of the Youth Employment through Heritage and Culture project funded by the European Union. The two-year programme (2024–2026) is dedicated to the strengthening of civil society organisations working in arts and culture across Yemen. It offers the participating organisations the space and accompaniment to assess their resources and their connection to their audiences and stakeholders, explore new income-generating avenues, develop their creative and cultural programmes, and draw inspiration from peer institutions facing similar challenges and opportunities in other sectors and regions.


Research Grant
Alserkal Arts Foundation, Dubai
Deadline: 1 September 2024

The Research Grants awards individuals and collectives amounts of 5,000 USD to 10,000 USD in funding for projects to be completed over two years. The programme will award three grants for the 2025–2027 cycle.

The Alserkal Arts Foundation seeks applications that demonstrate an interest in pursuing intersectional and experimental approaches to research. The award welcomes applications from practices that have been impacted by or are attentive to the violence and polarisation that we are witnessing today. Grant awardees may include multidisciplinary visual and sonic artists, architects, writers, independent publishers, documentary filmmakers, educators, geographers, historians, economists and more.


The Art Circle Award 2024
The Art Circle, Abu Dhabi
Deadline: 15 September 2024

The mission of this award is to support the local art scene and offer a platform to highlight talented artists through a physical exhibition presenting the top finalists and offering a financial award to the winner. All finalists will receive a certificate of participation and social media coverage.

The Art Circle Award is by medium a painting and mixed media competition and each year holds a thematic to which the artists open call responds to. The open call invites artists to respond to their view of a map, maps or mapping, and how they see the world from their perspectives.
Open to nationals and residents of the United Arab Emirates, over the age of 18.


International Awards for Art Criticism
International Awards for Art Criticism, Shanghai and Edinburgh
Deadline: 15 September 2024

The 10th Edition of the International Awards for Art Criticism invites international candidates to submit a review—1,500 words in English or 2,500 Chinese characters—of any contemporary art exhibition held anywhere in world or online between 1 September 2023 and 31 August 2024.

The First Prize will consist of a cash award of 10,000 Euros (pre-tax) or the RMB equivalent of this amount. Each of the three Second Prizes will include a cash award of 3,500 Euros (pre-tax) or the RMB equivalent of this amount.


The information shared here has been sourced from the online platforms of the listed institutions.