Art Dubai Fellowship is a programme for exceptional artists, curators and writers working in the Arab world and beyond, coming together for a week-long series of intensive workshops during Art Dubai.

Twenty-six fellows have participated since 2011; together, they form a dynamic alumni group, with several continuing to collaborate and support each other, beyond their experiences on the programme.

Led by writer and curator Tirdad Zolghadr, the 2017/18 programme had two new developments: the fellowship was programmed over two years, and focused on artists as writers.


The fellowship programme addressed the specific issue of artists writing with the emphasis placed on the relationship between an artist’s written output and their overall artistic practice. Writing will be addressed as a key mode of empowerment for an artist today. As a means to stake and maintain a position, beyond the comfort zones of indeterminacy we are professionally accustomed to. By means of group discussion, and mutual critique of written work, the fellowship collectively addressed issues of form and structure. How to micromanage the tenuous relationship between image and language? What to make of the hegemonic role of English? What is the role of artist writing within the overall moral economy of contemporary art?

Importantly, the participants were commited to not one but two three-day workshops, over two consecutive years, March 2017 & 2018. Between meetings, the group had an opportunity to produce a collective piece of writing, which was presented by the end of March 2018.

The 2018 Fellowship programme was supported by Julius Baer

Selected Fellows 2017-2018

Panos Aprahamian is an artist, writer and filmmaker based in Beirut, Lebanon. He studied at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts and University of the Arts London as a Caspian Arts Scholar. His work has been showcased at Video Works 7, Open City Doc Fest and the Lebanese Film Festival.

Haig Aivazian works across a wide range of media, Haig Aivazian delves into the ways in which ideologies embed, affect and move people, objects and architecture. Often departing from known events, and weaving in lesser known narratives, he has explored apparatuses of control and sovereignty in sports, finance, museums and music.

Shuruq Harb is an artist, curator and writer based in Ramallah. She has co-founded various independent art initiatives such as ArtTerritories and The River Has Two Banks.

Bahar Noorizadeh is an artist who often works with video, text, performative lecture, installation, and computer interface recording. Selected exhibitions and screenings include: Toronto International Film Festival (2012, 2015), Biennale of Moving Images, Geneva (2016), “HISTORICODE: Scarcity and Supply” 3rd Nanjing International Art Festival, and “Metabolism” Beirut Art Center (2016).

Aarti Sunder is interested in ideas that create the subject: thought and the nature of being, territory, time, space, relationality and potential; how we relate to them; and how these ideas affect and make us. These forces of abstraction that create the individual become the form and the content of her practice through making or collecting or plotting.

Lead Tutor

Tirdad Zolghadr is a curator and writer. His most recent book is Traction, Sternberg Press 2016. Zolghadr is artistic director of the Summer Academy Paul Klee in Bern and associate curator at KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin. He teaches at the Dutch Art Institute in Arnhem.