Art Jameel, the independent organisation that supports arts, education and heritage in the Middle East, today announces details of the Jameel Library, an open contemporary arts research centre dedicated to cultural histories of the Gulf and its neighbouring regions, located at the heart of the new Jameel Arts Centre. A truly pioneering asset for the regional arts community, the specialised bilingual library is the first of its kind made accessible to the public.
Jameel Library is an integral component of Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai. The Library’s collection focuses on making accessible the knowledge embedded in arts and culture; enabling the construction of multiple narratives; and making visible the fluidity of these ideas. Key content subjects include: exhibition histories, arts education projects, contemporary discourse from and about the region, in addition to selected artists’ monographs and mapped journeys of practice and influence.
The library will become home to students, artists, researchers, writers, professionals and ‘the curious’ and, with an Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) that can be searched entirely online. Future plans include the digitisation of materials, as well as the production of publications and translations to expand the collection’s accessibility. Reflecting Art Jameel’s commitment to collaboration, the Library’s collection has been in large part crowdsourced from Jameel Arts Centre’s extensive network of local, regional and international artists and academic, arts and cultural organisations.
Designed to support the development of innovative writing and research, the next Art Jameel Commissions programme will grant a three-month residency to a writer, inviting the awardee to be ‘resident’ at the Centre and engage with the Jameel Library’s unique collection. An annual programme in a three-year cycle, Art Jameel Commissions is foundational to the programming of Jameel Arts Centre.
An open call for proposals to Art Jameel Commissions: Arts Writing and Research runs until December 1, 2018. Jameel Library is an active and dynamic learning platform, home to talks, reading groups, curated bibliographies, symposia, exhibitions and interventions. A spring 2019 symposium will expand themes from the Jameel Arts Centre’s inaugural exhibition ‘Crude’, curated by Murtaza Vali, which considers oil and its impact on history, society, culture, economics, the environment and the future.
From November 2018 through January 2019, Jameel Library will host a second edition of Research Studio: Confluence reading sessions. In response to a bibliography developed by author, curator and translator Omar Berrada, interdisciplinary artist Noush Anand and translator and critic Hafsa Hariga will run a series of free, public reading groups in English and Arabic. Each interlocutor will create an open platform for discussion, reflection and debate.
Over 30 diverse participants took part in the first edition this summer at Art Jameel’s temporary pop-up space in Alserkal Avenue – including playwrights, journalists, philosophers, technologists, engineers, designers, artists and book-lovers based in the UAE, and hailing originally from India, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Palestine, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the UAE, the United States and Yemen. Source Art Jameel images Courtesy of Katrina Weber Ashour.