About the Masarat grants programme

At a time of significant challenge for artists and the cultural sector globally, the British Council remains committed to supporting the development of diverse and creative expression and mutual cultural exchange between the UK and the rest of the world. 

  • The Masarat Grants programme seeks to respond to the needs of artists and cultural practitioners in Iraq, Jordan Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Yemen, providing financial support to enable continued production and project work in very difficult circumstances.  
  • Masarat aims to strengthen artistic practice through supporting production, training and showcasing activities. Selected grantees are also given opportunities to build their professional networks and make new connections with the UK and the Arab world.
  • Masarat grantees have been awarded grants ranging from 4000 to 10,000 GBP in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Yemen. This grant programme is designed to support the professional development of emerging artists, creatives and cultural practitioners in the region.

A total of 21 projects have received grants to implement their projects in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Yemen by October 2021.

Discover the projects happening in Yemen

Kitabat Writer-in-Residence program

In Yemen, visa restrictions, political conflicts, and most recently, COVID-19 have all imposed many restrictions on Yemeni artists' abilities to connect with other artists around the globe. The political conflict in the country has produced similar restrictions. Movement between different geographical locations within Yemen has become nearly impossible.

Kitabat is part of a wider literature and creative writing programme, and through Kitabat, Romooz Foundation aims to provide an online platform for Yemeni creative writers and novelists to further promote their work locally, regionally, and internationally.

Powered by technology, the Kitabat virtual residency will give Yemeni young writers the chance to learn, engage, and express their writing through mentoring by established Yemeni and international writers and copy editors. The project also supports exchange and collaboration between Yemeni writers from different local geographical areas, bridging the gap created by the current conflict. The virtual residency will be conducted for six writers for three months.

At the end of the project, three written works will be published, with the six participating writers working in pairs to produce a piece about the other writer’s city.

Nerdo Animation Academy

Nerdo Animation Academy have recently established the first studio in Yemen that specialises in animation.  They have created a safe space for young people to learn and and transform their passion for art and painting into animation skills.  Nerdo also support the creation of short animation films with a focus on sharing Yemeni culture with a broad audience.

The project supported through Masarat has two phases. The first phase will focus on training and skills development for young people with an interest in animation. During the second phase, 12 trainees will be selected from the pool of participants for further, more advanced training including: drawing and animation programmes, screenwriting, filmmaking and marketing skills. Through the second phase, trainees will develop four short animated films tackling important themes in Yemen such as heritage and its preservation, enhancing the role of women, the importance of education in promoting the principle of coexistence, and climate change and environmental preservation. Films produced through the project will screened online at the end of the project.

1941-Short Film

Artists in Yemen are often faced with multiple challenges, from art supply shortages to connectivity issues, affecting their projects and their sense of connection with the world.  The short film “1941” -directed by Asim Abdulaziz Ahmed. will focus on the emotional and psychological impact of living in a war zone. With so much going on, projects around mental health are rarely brought to light and often dismissed.

This project aims to raise awareness around depression, anxiety, fear, and sadness that Yemenis are grappling with daily. “1941” is a 5-minute experimental short film which reflects on the meaning of distraction from crisis and war, through knitting with its rhythmic repetitive movements placing people in the present moment, distracting them from mulling over the past or fear of the future.

The project will also bring together specialists in the field of filmmaking, creativity, and sound to work on the production and direction of the short film.

MaribGirls (Shila)

The Marib Girls organisation will work with a group of musicians and young people in Marib to write and produce a Shila - a traditional genre of song originating in Yemen and the Arabian Peninsula. The Shila will be shared online through a music video and will convey messages of peace in an engaging and unique format that enjoys popularity with Yemeni audiences.

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