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Residency + Research

The sun-drenched studio spaces at Alserkal Avenue — based in the Foundation’s headquarters and designed by the UAE architectural collective ‘a hypothetical office’— host two residency cycles per year. The residency is research-led, focusing on generating discursive exchange and allowing local engagement with artistic and scholarly research and practice. Working closely with residents, we design each cycle based on shared interest, affinities and research goals, conceiving of the residency as an introduction to the region with the potential for longer-term engagement. Participants contribute to our community by developing and hosting programming accessible to wider publics. Residencies are open to researchers, writers, and artists, and are not limited to visual production. We welcome researchers from all fields of academic or practice-led enquiry with an interest in knowledge production and interdisciplinary collaboration. Alserkal Arts Foundation's residency programme is currently by nomination only. Residents are selected by the Foundation Selection Committee.


Shada Safadi
Artist | Spring 2023
Mhamad Safa
Musician, architect and researcher | Spring 2023
Jalila Haider
Lawyer and Researcher | Spring 2023
Masaru Iwai
Artist | Spring 2023
Iram Ghufran
Filmmaker | Spring 2022
Anahi Alviso-Marino
Researcher | Spring 2022
Sophie Cundale
Artist | Spring 2022
Skye Arundhati Thomas
Writer | Spring 2022
Wilf Speller
Artist | Spring 2021
Dorota Gawęda and Eglė Kulbokaitė
Artist Duo | Spring 2021
Liao Fei
Artist | Spring 2020
Heaven Baek
Artist | Spring 2020
Vitalij Strigunkov
Artist | Spring 2020
Michela de Mattei
Artist | Fall 2019
Artist duo | Fall 2019 Cycle
Aarti Sunder
Artist, writer, curator | Summer 2019
Sashikanth Thavudoz
Artist | Summer 2019
Balqis Al Rashed
Artist | Summer 2019
Mahan Moalemi
Writer and Curator | Spring 2019
Željka Blakšić
Artist | Spring 2019
Artists, curators, coordinators | Spring 2019
Yaminay Chaudhri
Artist | Fall 2018
Artist | Fall 2018
Lama Altakruri
Artist | Fall 2018
Laura Metzler
Curator | Summer 2018
Mandy Merzaban
Artist, Curator and Writer | Summer 2018
Civil Architecture
Architects | Summer 2018
Suzy Halajian
Curator and Writer | Spring 2018
Kosmas Nikolaou
Artist | Spring 2018
Michael John Whelan
Artist | Spring 2018
Mona Ayyash
Artist | Fall 2017
Ali El-Darsa
Artist | Fall 2017
Jaret Vadera
Artist | Fall 2017
Franziska Pierwoss
Artist | Fall 2017

Shada Safadi

Shada Safadi was born in 1982 in Majdal Shams, the occupied Syrian Golan Heights. In 2004, Safadi completed a two-year class in painting and etching at Adham Ismail Institute, Damascus, following which she graduated with a degree in Fine Arts from Damascus University in 2005.

A founding member of Fateh Al Mudarris Center for Arts and Culture in Golan Heights, Safadi has participated in multiple exhibitions, including a solo exhibition at Fateh Al Mudarris Center for Arts and Culture, Majdal Shams in 2006. In addition, her work has been featured in exhibitions in Damascus and Aleppo in Syria; Jerusalem, Ramallah, Birzeit, and Bethlehem in the West Bank; Umea in Sweden; and London in the UK. Recently, she participated in the Syrian Cultural Caravan, with exhibitions in France, Germany, Norway, Spain and Belgium.

In 2008, Safadi won third place at A.M. Qattan Foundation’s Young Artist of the Year Awards for her series of paintings In the Presence of the Crow. In addition, in 2014 she was an artist-in-residence for three months at Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris. She currently lives and works between her hometown in Golan Heights and the West Bank.

Research Focus

During her research, Safadi will explore the migratory birds that cross the skies of the UAE. The topography of the country, its location, and the richness of its nature have formed a winter haven for more than 388 species of migratory birds. In her research, Safadi will compile stories of these birds through a series of interviews with people who raise birds and specialists in the UAE. Safadi will also visit several nature reserves in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which are taking care of wildlife and helping to protect endangered species such as the houbara bustard.

Safadi will explore the possibility of linking these stories with the stories of the myna, a bird that settled in Palestine. Her project will also look at how to link these stories with subjects that she is working on such as the story of the karim bird, which has a special place in the religious community of occupied Golan. In addition, Safadi will look into links between these stories and the crow, a bird she previously focused on in a project during her studies in Damascus.

Selection committee:

Maya El Khalil
2022 - 2024 | Curator and Art Advisor
Lawrence Abu Hamdan
2022 - 2024 | Independent Investigator and Private Ear
Rupali Gupte
2022 - 2024 | Architect, Urbanist and Artist
Shandana Khan Mohmand
2022 - 2024 | Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex
iLiana Fokanaki
2018 - 2021 | Curator, Writer and Educator
Uzma Z. Rizvi
2018 - 2021 | Associate Professor of Anthropology and Urban Studies at the Pratt Institute
César García-Alvarez
2018 - 2021 | Founding Executive and Artistic Director of The Mistake Room (TMR)
Filipa Ramos
2018 - 2021 | Writer and Editor
Raja‘a Khalid
2019 - 2020 | Artist
Monica Narula
2018 - 2020 | Member of Raqs Media Collective
Pierre Bélanger
2018 - 2020 | Landscape Architect and Urban Planner

Maya El Khalil

Maya El Khalil is an independent curator and art advisor, based in Oxford, UK. As founding director of Athr Gallery in Jeddah from 2009 - 2016 , she pioneered exhibition approaches and cultural exchange in the absence of local public art institutions, making significant contributions to the establishment and development of a contemporary art scene in Saudi Arabia. For the last decade, she has continued to work with artists, collectors and institutions to develop the identity and ideas that have defined an art scene, participating in multiple artist mentorship programs in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

El Khalil is currently collaborating with international institutions on progressive socially engaged exhibitions, developing multidisciplinary conversations that address the environmental and climate emergency, including the ongoing digital platform Take Me to the River https://takemetotheriver.net //, in collaboration with Goethe Institut and Prince Claus Fund. Other recent curatorial projects include Portrait of a Nation II: Beyond Narratives, ADMAF Abu Dhabi ( 2022 ); Take Me to the River, Hamburger Bahnhof Museum of Contemporary Art, Berlin ( 2021 ); I Love You, Urgently, 7 th edition 21,39 Jeddah Arts ( 2020 ); Architecture of Tomorrow: Frei Otto s Legacy in Saudi Arabia, co curated with Prof. Georg Vrachliotis ; The Clocks Are Striking Thirteen, Athr Gallery, Jeddah ( 2018 ); Amma Baad , Nasser Al Salem s first international solo show at the Delfina Foundation, London ( 2019 ) and Casa Arabe , Madrid 2019 ).

El Khalil holds a Bachelor s degree in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA from the American University of Beirut. She is enrolled in MA Art and Politics at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

Feeling inspired by our programmes or want to participate in our events? We’re interested in learning more about your projects. Get in touch or learn about eligibility here.