Sharjah Art Foundation presents Forsa School, a new learning programme supporting the professional development of UAE-based artists, creatives and cultural practitioners. Through a programme of public seminars, private sessions and a one-on-one mentorship course, Forsa School focuses on the practical skills and knowledge that artists need to navigate the UAE’s art industry. The programme, organised in collaboration with Naqd, runs from 7 November 2020 to 13 February 2021.

Covering essential topics for their career development, Forsa School offers artists in-depth instruction and close guidance from key industry professionals in a number of areas, including financing, project planning, licensing, intellectual property, marketing, pricing and communication. The programme will also cover interpersonal issues such as overcoming artistic blocks, sustaining a long-term art practice and working closely with clients, galleries and art institutions. The programme aims to support the development of cultural and artistic production by addressing the challenges faced by local artists and presenting solutions and best practices. Participants will also have an opportunity to meet programme tutors for private sessions tailored to their individual needs. Led by art industry mentors and tutors, the programme will provide participants with the necessary space and educational environment to consider the challenges faced by the creative community and tackle key obstacles to the development of individual artistic and cultural practices.

To ensure that the programme is relevant to a variety of creative fields, participants will be able to join workshops related to their particular interests in addition to attending a mandatory selection of general sessions. Each participant will also receive a toolkit containing templates, documents and online resources essential to the topics discussed that they can use to enhance future career opportunities. It is mandatory for the participants to attend at least two sessions per week.

Another primary objective of Forsa School is to produce detailed reports that will be compiled throughout the programme. To be shared with other cultural institutions and organisations, the reports will focus on the needs and requirements of the local art community, including findings and data gathered through interactions with Forsa School participants and tutors. The reports will be published periodically as a critical resource for artists, institutions and the public about developments in contemporary art in the UAE.
Running both online and on-site at Sharjah Art Foundation venues, the programme will include occasional off-site visits to studios in Sharjah and other emirates. A number of public seminars will be live-streamed online for general audiences.

The programme is free and open to UAE-based artists and art practitioners over 21 years of age. Participants interested in joining the programme should provide a CV, a portfolio with up to five recent artworks/projects and a 500-word artist statement.

Eligibility criteria to join Forsa School:
• Applicants must be over the age of 21.
• Applicants must have a valid Emirates ID.
• Applicants must be university graduates in the arts or a related field or have equivalent career experience.
• Applicants must provide a comprehensive CV.
• Applicants must present a portfolio that includes up to five recent artworks/projects with clear descriptions and labels.
• Applicants must submit artist statement (maximum 500 words) describing at least three challenges faced in their careers and how they hope to address them, their commitment to a career in the arts, their perspective on the creative landscape of the UAE and reasons why they should be considered for this programme.
• Applicants must commit to attending at least two sessions every week.

To participate in this programme, click here.

A list of tutors and instructors will be shared in the coming weeks.

About Naqd/ Forsa

Naqd Critique is a platform for artist-led critique sessions focused on contemporary art practices. Artists, curators, researchers, academics, gallerists and members of the community are invited to join and engage in critique sessions. Naqd was created to provide needed feedback and constructive criticism for artists and creatives to benefit their growth and development.

Forsa, which means ‘opportunity’ in Arabic, is a reaction to the impact COVID-19 has had on creative practitioners who now find themselves with cancelled projects and little or no income. The platform collects data through a submission form from vulnerable freelancers with the aim of compiling the bios, portfolios and CVs of these talented professionals in hopes of securing them opportunities, commissions, projects and grants.

Related Content

Forsa School

Open Call: Forsa School

Apply now to join Forsa School, Sharjah Art Foundation’s new learning programme organised in collaboration with Naqd. Forsa School provides UAE-based artists, creatives and practitioners with practical knowledge and professional skills to navigate the local art industry