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The 5 Enchanting Artist Residencies Within the SWANA Region to Know

Calling all artists!

Be it from Pakistan, Tunis, Saudi Arabia, or the UAE, artist residencies have long represented a sort of economy and form of recognition for artists around the world. Residencies create the proper framework for artists and practitioners to support their artistic creations by giving them the opportunity to culminate their ideas and identity as a whole. For artists to keep an eye out for and tune into, we compiled a list of artist residencies within the SWANA region. 

Dastaangoi Artist-in-Residence Program 


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Just recently announced, this special residency is calling all artists from all over the globe to participate in an exchange of ideas, and to build cultural bridges in the heart of Pakistan for its second artist residency in Islamabad. Founded by Amad Mian in 2020, artists are given an opportunity to expand on their own practice through ongoing discussions and experimentation in a magical 14 acre vineyard and orchard occupied with sheep and water buffalos and dotted with olive, grape, and orange trees for a two-week residency. The application deadline for the residency, which kicks off this fall, is Aug. 15, 2023. 

 BL79 Artist Residency 


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The center of contemporary arts in Tunis was launched by Lina Lazaar, an art critic and curator, and aims to facilitate artists’ comfort and calm by offering a modern, refined and beautifully furnished pavilion for its artist-in-residence program. Some of the previous names who took part in the program include Finnish-Tunisian painter Dora Dalila, visual artist Malek Gneoui, and BLTNM’s Ahmad Zaghmouri (also known as Shabmouri), among others. 

The Sharjah Art Foundation Residency Programme


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The program offers visiting artists and practitioners alike a respective outpost in Sharjah, as a safe artist space to cultivate, reflect, and explore their artistic practice, in addition to a chance to reassess their relationship with the Emirates and the region. Residencies are typically offered by invitation or through a call for applications.

AlUla Artist Residency 


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Founded in 2021 as a collaboration between the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) and the French Agency for AlUla Development (Afalula), AlUla’s artist residency program was established to bring artists from diverse backgrounds, techniques, and mediums– giving creatives a chance to create beautiful art amidst the alien-like landscape of AlUla, alongside its rich culture and history. The three-month-long residency program is open to artists who dabble in any kind of medium— from sculpture and poetry to painting and photography. 

Homebound Residency: Digital Communities 2023

Unlike the other residency programs in this list which require your physical presence, Homebound is a six-month-long online program running until April to September 2023 offering residents curatorial support as well as a production budget. For its third edition, the digital residency being led by guest curator Sara bin Safwan, is open to all creatives in the West Asia, North Africa, and South Asia region. 


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