Tashkeel to issue Open Calls for Three Prestigious Programmes for Artists and Designers


This season, Tashkeel – one of the UAE’s key art and design incubators – is accepting applications from artists and designers for its three most prestigious initiatives: First Solo Residency, Critical Practice Programme and Tanween Design Programme.  With each platform offering creative practitioners the chance to strengthen skills, push practice and develop new work, Tashkeel continues its commitment to the UAE visual art and design sector.

First Solo Residency: Entering its third edition, Tashkeel’s First Solo Residency programme is a remarkable opportunity exclusively for Tashkeel members to refine their practice, experiment with new mediums and showcase work. The two six-week residencies (24 Oct – 22 Dec 2023 & 2 Jan – 4 March 2024) provide a package of studio space, mentorship, resources and funding leading to a solo exhibition at Tashkeel Al Fahidi. Natalya Konforti (one of 5 artists who have benefited from a residency so far) said, “The First Solo Residency offered an invaluable experience, profoundly benefiting my artistic practice. The dedicated space in Al Fahidi, a truly inspiring neighbourhood, facilitated growth and exploration. With the added institutional support and mentorship provided by Tashkeel, the impact was so transformative.”

Critical Practice Programme: With applications open until 10 October, the ninth edition of Tashkeel’s Critical Practice Programme (CPP) fosters critical thinking and experimentation, offering a vehicle for thought-provoking dialogue, artistic expansion and engagement with contemporary art.  The 12-month journey (January to December 2024) will prompt the chosen artists to challenge convention, enrich their creative processes, engage with mentors and develop new skills while undertaking research and experimentation leading to the production of a new body of work, to be showcased in a six-week solo exhibition at Tashkeel in 2025.

“Tashkeel’s Critical Practice Programme provided me with the two most vital elements I needed to rediscover my love of making art – the time and space from creativity and inspiration to evolve, and the mentorship of two highly-respected thought leaders.” said Sophiya Khawja, CPP2022 alumni. The Tashkeel Critical Practice Programme counts some of the UAE’s most celebrated artists among its 16-strong alumni, including Vikram Divecha, Chafa Ghaddar, Mays AlBaik, Hind Mezaina and Shamma Al Amri.

Tanween Design Programme: The 11th edition of this groundbreaking 11-month programme encompasses ideation, experimentation, prototyping and manufacturing of a commercially viable design piece that embodies the values of UAE contemporary design and the principles of sustainability. By utilising natural resources, traditional craftsmanship and cutting-edge manufacturing technology, Tanween provides the necessary training ground for early-career design practitioners to develop their own voice and establish themselves in the UAE market, with the debut of their final designs at Dubai Design Week. Tashkeel will be accepting applications for the 2024 Tanween Design Programme between 2 October and 19 November.

To date, 39 UAE-based designers have participated in the Tanween Design Programme at Tashkeel, with the latest 5-strong cohort due to reveal their designs at Downtown Design 2023.  Alumni include UAE national designers Abdalla Almulla, Latifa Saeed and Reema Al Mheiri, as well as Hamza Al Omari and Huda Al Aithan, among others .

“Tashkeel’s professional development programmes have become highly prized opportunities for UAE-based creatives to enhance their skills, strengthen their knowledge and realise their new-found vision in the form of innovative new work. The experience has proven to be an important springboard for both careers and practice, as evidenced by the growing list of distinguished alumni,” said Lisa Ball-Lechgar, Deputy Director of Tashkeel.  “These initiatives enable creatives grow their careers and foot themselves within the thriving creative and cultural industries of the UAE.”

About Tashkeel:

Tashkeel is an incubator of visual art & design and a commercial consultancy rooted in the United Arab Emirates. Established in Dubai in 2008 by Sheikha Lateefa bint Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Tashkeel’s facilities enable production, experimentation and discourse. Its annual programme of training, residencies, workshops, talks, exhibitions, international collaborations and publications aims to further practitioner development, public engagement and lifelong learning. And its commercial services seek to embed UAE-made art and design in the very fabric of society and the economy. By nurturing the growth of contemporary art and design, Tashkeel seeks to empower the country’s ever growing creative and cultural industries.

Tashkeel’s commercial services include Consultancy, ranging from advisory, sales, design and production services and special projects for a wide range of clients; Training, the development and delivery of art-based learning for the education, cultural, public and private sectors; Membership, providing comprehensive access for the creative community to facilities and studios to research, experiment, make and collaborate; and Printing & Cutting Services of laser-cutting, fine art/photography & risograph printing; and Retail, selling UAE-made art and design products instore and online as well as across a nationwide network of partners.

Tashkeel’s incubator initiatives include: Tanween, which takes a cohort of UAE-based designers through a one-year skills development programme, taking a product inspired by the UAE from concept to completion; Critical Practice, which invites visual artists to embark on a one-year skills development programme of studio practice, mentorship and training, culminating in a major solo presentation; Residencies at Tashkeel or abroad, ranging in duration and often in partnership with international partners; Make Works UAE, an online platform connecting creatives and fabricators to enable designers and artists accurate and efficient access to the UAE manufacturing sector; Exhibitions & Fairs to highlight innovation and excellence, growing audience for art & design in the UAE.