Why the Fellowship?
We at Living Arts International (LAI) are initiating the South-South Arts Fellowships in 2022 as our pilot international program. We are launching this fellowship as we are acutely aware of the limited support available for nurturing long-term connections in arts, heritage and culture within the Global South. Yet, there remains deep interest among cultural workers in connecting with peers within one’s region as well as across the Global South, given the many similarities in our political, cultural and socio-economic contexts. It is in response to this existing gap and urgent need in the transnational cultural exchange ecosystem that we have created the South-South Arts Fellowships in 2022.
This pilot is a first step towards our intention to launch a longer-term transnational program that will connect cultural workers and networks in the Global South. Our pilot and future programs will champion the arts as an agent of transformation, foster global knowledge exchange and empower emerging leaders and arts organizations in the Global South. We aim to initiate policy-driven, transnational cultural actions, inspired by the resilience of arts communities operating in societies experiencing conflict as well as those in a post-conflict stage of development.
KHADIJA EL BENNAOUI
south-south arts fellowship advisor 2022
“I joined the South-South Arts Fellowship because I strongly believe that it is these kind of initiatives we need to set the foundations of networks of collaborations within the Global South. The prospect of seeing this endeavor unfold before my eyes is what drives my engagement in the arts and culture sector.”
Ms. Khadija El Bennaoui is a cultural practitioner with over 18 years of experience in the arts and culture sectors. Currently, she is the Head of Performing Arts at the Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation.
In 2005, Ms El Bennaoui launched Art Moves Africa, the first mobility fund devoted to artists and cultural operators travelling within Africa. She is the author of the chapter “Surviving the paradoxes of mobility” in the UNESCO Global Report 2018 on the implementation of the 2005 UNESCO Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. As an independent consultant, she has collaborated with UNESCO, the European Commission, the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, the Ford Foundation, and more. She is based in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
south-south arts fellowship advisor 2022
“Dialogues and conversation between creatives of the South are bound to catalyse and nurture ways of being in the world, and seeing the world which are transformative and deeply healing.”
Ms Deirdre Prins-Solani is a closet poet, dabbler in visual arts and avid reader. She has worked in museums, world heritage and professional capacity building in the cultural sector for more than two decades. She is a UNESCO facilitator in intangible cultural heritage (ICH or living heritage). She serves as a committee member of the ICH subcommittee for the Association of Critical Heritage Studies.
Ms Prins-Solani has conducted training and policy advisory services across the African continent, the Caribbean and the Asia-Pacific. She is currently registered for an MPhil in Southern Urbanism through the African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town. She is based in Cape Town, South Africa.
For more about Prins-Solani and her work, please see:
south-south arts fellowship advisor 2022
“Throughout my career, I have been committed to the idea of building South-South solidarities, not least because such few opportunities exist to enable us to do so. The South-South Arts Fellowships program has the potential of bringing together dedicated people and innovative processes to build networks within and between regions which is as necessary as it is powerful.”
Ms Pooja Sood is a founding member and Director of Khoj International Artists’ Association, an autonomous, not-for-profit society committed to experimentation and exchange in the visual arts in India. She has actively built a robust network of experimental spaces across south Asia resulting in the South Asian Network for the Arts (SANA).
Alongside her directorship of Khoj, Ms Sood has held several important positions including Director General of the Government-owned Jawahar Kala Kendra (JKK); Founding Director of ArThinkSouthAsia; Artistic Director and curator of 48C. Public Art. Ecology.
Ms Sood has served on several international art juries and participated in various forums on Indian contemporary art, art management and South Asian art. She is a Chevening scholar (Clore Leadership Programme, UK , 2009-2011). She lives and works in New Delhi, India.
“Even in 2022, regular and structured access to one’s peers in the Global South is very much of a privilege for many cultural workers. I got involved in co-creating the South-South Arts Fellowships as a first step in the direction of permanently changing this unfortunate status quo.”
Ms Anupama SEKHAR has been facilitating transnational cultural co-operation for over 15 years, both North-South and South-South. Currently, she is Director of Policy and Engagement at the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies (IFACCA). Prior to that, she was the Director of the Culture Department at the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF).
Ms Sekhar has been a member of the UNESCO Expert Facility since 2015 and in this capacity, has supported the implementation of the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. She is a member of the selection committee of the International Fund for Cultural Diversity. Currently, she is also a Board Member of ArtsEquator and sits on the General Assembly of The Festival Academy. She is currently based in Dubai, UAE.
Ms Fatima Avila is a communications professional with extensive experience working with cross-functional teams in both non-profit and commercial organizations. Currently, she is a Director for Digital Production at Resolute Digital delivering web/digital and marketing projects for private sector clients from various industries.
Prior to that, Ms Avila was a Project Manager at the Asia-Europe Foundation where she held roles both in the Communications Team being in charge of all things digital, and in the Culture Department where she managed programs that fostered both North-South and South-South cultural cooperation.
Earlier in her career, Ms Avila worked in various visual arts galleries in Southeast Asia combining her knowledge of business management with a passion for the arts (yes, the wine and cheese are great, but somebody had to plan the exhibitions, manage the budgets and bring in the sales!). She currently lives in Washington DC.
“For the past ten years, I have progressively developed a strong interest for the issue of collaborations among art practitioners and cultural workers from the Global South, not only as I have witnessed first-hand the challenges they face, but also because not so many opportunities exist for them. With the South-South Arts Fellowship, I am very thrilled to contribute to building the gaps within and between regions across the Global South.”
François Bouda is a cultural manager with more than fifteen years of experience from the culture and development sector. He is the co-founder and associate manager of Sankhof’Arts Productions, a cultural engineering agency based in Burkina Faso.
He has collaborated with international organizations in Europe, Asia and the United States of America, including the ACP (African, Carribbean and Pacific countries) Group, the Permanent Mission of la Francophonie to the UN in New York, the CKU (Danish Center for Culture and Development), Art Moves Africa and Africalia. He is the author of several studies, including the Note on the Critical Analysis of Developments in the ACP Group’s cultural strategies and the chapter on dance for AMA’s study on Mobility and touring in West Africa. In 2022, he was the main expert for the evaluation of Africalia’s five-year cultural program in Burkina Faso (2017-2021).
We, Living Arts International (LAI), are a non-profit organisation which believes that the arts are at the heart of a vital society. Our vision is for a peaceful, sustainable future with living arts as a catalyst for change. At LAI, we are the organisation that connects Cambodian Living Arts (CLA) and Mekong Cultural Hub (MCH), both of which have been supporting cultural workers in Cambodia, southeast Asia and beyond, since 1998 and 2018 respectively.
living arts international
A visionary cultural entrepreneur, Mr Phloeun Prim spearheaded Cambodian Living Arts’ as a leading cultural organization in Cambodia and the Mekong region. He serves on the boards of Artisans Angkor and Bophana Audiovisual Resource Center; is a member of Asia Society’s Asia 21 Young Leaders Network, and sits on the Southeast Asia Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Culture of Taiwan.
Mr Prim regularly presents and participates in global dialogues and international forums on arts and development. Born during the Cambodian genocide and raised in Montréal, Canada, Phloeun is proud to have returned to Cambodia to be part of the movement to use the arts for healing, social transformation, and economic development.
living arts international
Frances joined Cambodian Living Arts in 2012, and has taken a lead role in growing CLA’s regional networks within South East Asia – especially the Mekong Region. Regional program highlights include the Living Arts Fellows Program, participation in the ANCER network, including hosting the third ANCER conference Vitality & Viability: Arts Ecosystems in Asia in Phnom Penh.
Building from CLA’s regional programs, in 2017-18 Frances oversaw the launch of CLA’s sister organization Mekong Cultural Hub (MCH). Today, MCH offers personal and professional development opportunities for creative cultural practitioners in the Mekong Region and wider Asia working at the intersection of arts and society. MCH’s programs include the SEAD Fellowship, which brings together 10 Fellows from 10 countries and looks at cultural leadership and sustainable development in South East Asia. In 2021, MCH organised a Meeting Point on Art & Social Action in Asia which brought together nearly 300 people to exchange and connect on the role of arts and culture in social transformation.
Frances also serves on the Board of SAVVY Theatre, an inclusive theater company in Croydon, UK.
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