Call for applications

Open Call – Independent Art Studio & Study Programme 2015 – 2016

MASS, Alexandria, Egypt
Deadline: 10 January 2016

Open Call – Independent Art Studio & Study Programme 2015 – 2016

The upcoming edition of the MASS Programme will run from the 29th January to the 31st October 2016 with a short summer break. It will include a Prologue , Workshops and Seminars focusing on the practices, theory and historiography of contemporary art, in addition to a series of one-on-one Tutorials with artists, researchers, curators and art educators. Like in the previous years, a study abroad and internship program shall complement the curriculum (see below). Last but not least, the students will be requested to show recent work in the context of an end of the year exhibition and to present their research in the form of a text, performance or lecture.

Resident professors, visiting artists, curators and art scholars for this programme will include:

Antonia Alampi , Curator, Writer, Founding Director of the Imaginary School Programme, Berlin, Haig Aivazian, Artist, Curator, Writer, Beirut, Bassam El Baroni , Curator, Teacher, Writer, Alexandria, Omar Berrada , Writer, Translator, Critic, Director of the library and translation centre at Dar al-Ma’amûn, New York City, Carolyn Christov-Barkagiev , Writer, Art Historian, Curator, appointed Director of GAM Torino and Castello di Rivoli, New York City/Torino, Ali Cherri , Artist, Paris, Clare Davies , Researcher, Writer, Curator, New York City, Chris Dercon , Curator, Director of the Tate Gallery of Modern Art, app. Director of Volksbühne Berlin, London, Tarek Abou El Fetouh , Curator, Brussels, Mohammed Hafiz , Curator, Director of Athr Gallery, Jeddah, Aleya Hamza, Curator, Director of Gypsum Gallery, Cairo, Salah Hassan , Goldwin Smith Professor of African and African Diaspora Art History and Visual Culture in the Africana Studies and Research Centre, and in the Department of History of Art and Visual Studies, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, Abdellah Karroum , Artist, Curator, Director of Mathaf: Museum of Modern Art, Founding Director of L’appartement 22, Rabat, Mahmoud Khaled , Artist and Researcher, Cairo, Hassan Khan , Artist, Cairo, Doris Krystof , Curator, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, Maria Lind, Curator, Director of Tensta Konsthall, Artistic Director of the Gwangju Biennial 2016, Stockholm, Basim Magdy , Artist, Cairo, Magda Magdy, Researcher, Writer, Translator, Cairo, Jens Maier-Rothe, Curator, Writer, Founding Co-Director of Beirut in Cairo, Berlin, Antje Majewski , Artist, Professor at Muthesius University, Berlin, Beatrice Merz , Curator, Director of Merz Foundation, Torino, Jasmina Metwaly , Artist and Filmmaker, Cairo, Joshua Mosley, Artist, Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung , Microbiologist, PhD, Curator, Director of SAVVY Contemporary, Curator at large of documenta 14, Jaoundé/Berlin, Nile Sunset Annex , Artist Initiative and Art Collection, Cairo, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Curator, Writer, Critic, Co-Director of Serpentine Gallery, London, Hoor El Quasemi , Curator, President and Director of Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah, Sarah Rifky , Curator, Writer, PhD candidate, History, Theory Criticism; Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, MIT, Cambridge, Mohamed El Shahed , Researcher, Historian, Critic, Founding Editor of Cairobserver, Cairo, Wael Shawky , Artist, Founding Director of MASS Alexandria, Visiting Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Alexandria, Mounira Al Solh , Artist, Beirut and Amsterdam, Christine Tohme , Founding Director of Ashkal Alwan, Curator of Sharjah Biennial 13, Beirut, Haytham El-Wardany , Writer, Cairo, William Wells, Founder and Director of Townhouse, Cairo, amongst others.

MASS Alexandria – study abroad and international residency programme:

Students admitted to MASS Alexandria, will be part of the study abroad and international residency programme. The programme gives students an opportunity to learn more about a seminal exhibition and the artists invited to explore a new environment though an artwork or a text-based performance. Through this practice-based form of learning, students develop new sets of skills and ideas, as well as nurturing new types of relationships to subject materials not usually explored in traditional educational environments. Following the programmes developed with the dOCUMENTA (13) and the Sharjah Biennial in 2012 and 2013, the study abroad programme in 2016 is intended to take place with the Manifesta. Please note that only ten students will be selected for this programme due to specific requirements. Intermediate knowledge of English is mandatory.


Former students and graduates of MASS Alexandria will not be considered for this years’ programme, but are cordially invited to attend the public lectures and talks.

To apply to MASS Alexandria, applicants should be 18 to 26 years of age at the time of application. In some cases, exceptions to the age limit will be considered. No former experience is required, however a strong interest and commitment to a study of art is desired. Knowledge of English, German or French is an advantage. Qualified applicants are required to write a one-page cover letter detailing their background, experience and motivation to study at MASS Alexandria. The letter of motivation should be written in either English or Arabic and addressed to Wael Shawky, Founding Director of MASS Alexandria. The letter should include the applicant’s personal details (name, age), contact information (address, email), and a description of previous/current educational experience, as well as a description of work submitted and/or an artist statement. In case of sending your resume via email, kindly send your mail to:


Since MASS Alexandria is dedicated to working with emerging artists, there are no requirements as to what type of work samples are submitted. The applicant is free to choose any techniques demonstrating his or her artistic expression.

The following directions apply for work samples:

– Documentation of work samples must be included with the application.

– Each application must include 10 to 20 work samples (not more, not less).

– Original works must be labelled with the applicant’s name, address and phone number.

– If original work is submitted, drawings and painting must not exceed 100 x 150 cm, and video/sound projects must not exceed 30-mins in length and no more than 3 projects (or excerpts) may be submitted.

Technical Instructions:

– Provide a numbered list of all work samples submitted.

– State title, year, dimensions, duration and medium of work submitted.

– Applications may be organized as a Slideshow/PowerPoint presentation.

– Digital projects (websites or interactive media) must be saved on CD/DVD/USB. The project must open on its own or within Safari/Firefox.

– All material submitted electronically is preferred to be Mac compatible.


The application (cover letter, list of submitted works, detailed description of the project, and documentation of work on CD or similar) can be sent by post or delivered by hand, but must be submitted to MASS Alexandria on or before the 10th January 2016 .

Wael Shawky

MASS Alexandria

2 Al Madina Al Monawara Street

Miami, Alexandria

Or by e-mail to:


Selection to the program is made through an assessment of demonstrated motivation, work samples and interviews.

The members of this year’s programme committee are Wael Shawky , Artist and Founding Director of MASS Alexandria and Salah Hassan , Goldwin Smith Professor of African and African Diaspora Art History and Visual Culture in the Africana Studies and Research Centre, and in the Department of History of Art and Visual Studies, Cornell University, USA.


The calculated overall cost for this year’s programme is 5,500 EUR (44,500 EGP) for each student. Each student will be asked to pay a one-time fee of 350 EUR (3.500 EGP) in the beginning of the year as a contributing to the production budget for the end-of-the-year exhibition. This tuition may be waived if a student shows exceptional talent in the interviews and cannot afford to pay the fee. Students have to commit full-time to the MASS Alexandria assigned programme on 3-4 days per week for the full year.


The admissions committee selects an initial shortlist of candidates. Short listed candidates are interviewed via mail or by phone until a final list of 16-24 admitted candidates is reached. The interviews take place between the 13th and 15th January 2016. The opening has been scheduled for the 21st January 2016. The programme starts on the 29th January 2016.


The applicant is responsible to retrieve any original works submitted within four weeks from the date of their application. MASS Alexandria holds no responsibility over damaged or lost work. Selection criteria are based on the quality of the applications.

MASS Alexandria is a non-profit space for contemporary artistic practices, interdisciplinary research, production and education situated in the neighbourhood Miami in the east of Alexandria. Founded by artist  Wael Shawky in 2010, it occupies a 440mÇ multipurpose facility, featuring an art studio, a library and a space for exhibitions, film screenings and lectures. Hosted within it and developed by Wael Shawky in collaboration with international curators, an independent studio and study programme offers a wide range of workshops, seminars, lectures and talks to supplement the state-run, official art education in Egypt. With an emphasis on the conceptual aspects of contemporary artistic practices, the  MASS Programme aims to encourage students from Egypt and beyond to work closely with cultural, artistic and scientific ideas in the fields of art history and theory, across disciplines and media.

Since 2010, it has established itself as an international platform for new ways of art production, learning, opportunities and encounters. Defining the framework of MASS Alexandria is the  Advisory Board whose knowledge of the local and international art scene and artistic practices, pedagogical experience and approach to art production is informed by a broad range of cultures, disciplines and places. Current members are Wael Shawky (artist), Hoor Al Qasimi, (curator, director of Sharjah Art Foundation), Salah Hassan (professor of art history, visual culture and Africana Studies, Cornell University), Nicoletta Fiorucci (art patron, collector, president of the Fiorucci Foundation), Sarah Rifky (curator, PhD candidate, MIT), Mohammed Hafiz (curator, director of Athr Gallery) and Mai El Dib (collector, consultant, Sotheby’s). For each edition of the MASS Programme, a  Programme Director invites one or several artists or artist collectives to direct a practice-based workshop as resident professor(s). The Programme Director also invites art scholars, independent researchers, writers and art educators to conduct seminars and tutorials. The seminars are meant to complement the students’ theoretical and art historical knowledge. The tutorials are designed to support the artistic process. Curator and researcher  Berit Schuck has been appointed Programme Director for 2016. Schuck has a master’s degree from Free University Berlin in Comparative Literature, Language Philosophy and Film and Theatre Studies. She was resident curator at Ashkal Alwan in Beirut (2011) and the Goethe- Institut Taipei (2015). Recent curatorial projects include Trading Zones (2015), Dream City, or The Waste Land (2014), Trading Urban Stories (2014), Speaking of Beirut and the City is Missing (2013), and the Alexandria Streets Project (2012).

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