The European Union (EU) and the EU National Institutes of Culture's (EUNIC) foreign policy plan is to support the cultural and creative industry field in Egypt by raising social awareness of the importance of creative industries via job opportunities creation and achieving sustainable development
(L-r) Aya Dowara presenting the event, Davide Scalmani, Anne Eberhard, Juana Mira Cabello, Michele Rizzi
The EUNIC announced the recipients of grants from the EU and the EUNIC in the cultural and creative industry field for the year 2021. EUNIC supported 10 projects with small to medium grants.
The small projects are ‘Echo’ by Nermin Habib, ‘Bahgaga Mic’ by Ayman Helmy, ‘On the Map’ by Medhat Anis, ‘My Voice is Heard’ by Zahra Abdullah, and ‘Hair’ by Valerie Aref.
The medium grants projects for the institutions are ‘AFCA School of Art’ by the AFCA Art Foundation, ‘Art Windows’ by Alwan and Awtar Foundation, ‘Basarya B’AVLab’ by Basarya for Arts Foundation, ‘Urban Heritage Exhibition in Mansoura’ by the Urban Initiatives Platform Foundation CLUSTER, and ‘Silsilah’ by Rézodanse Egypte Centre.
The grant winners were announced and signed their contracts in a special event held at the Italian Cultural Institute's terrace in Zamalek, on Sunday 11 July. The signing of the contracts was attended by the representative of the EU Juana Mira Cabello, Head of the Economic Cooperation Sector of the EU Michele Rizzi, Head of EUNIC and Director of the Italian Institute Davide Scalmani, and the cultural attaché of the EU, along with a number of members of the EUNIC, Director of Cultural programming at the Goethe Institute Anne Eberhard, Communication Officer of The European Egyptian Cultural Programme (EECP) Mona Massoud, and Project Manager of the EECP Aya Dowara.
The EECP also works on several specialised components to support the cultural and creative sector, including the grant programme, which is organised annually, the artistic residency programme, a specialised programme to support art festivals — such as the Cairo Jazz Festival, Panorama of the European Film Festival, and Aswan Film Festival for Women — and training programmes to raise artists’ capacity in this important sector.
The EECP and EUNIC support individuals and small initiatives via small grants (Up to EGP 80,000 or approximately 4,000 Euros), and institutions that have more than two years of experience in the cultural scene through medium grants (Up to EGP 300,000 or approximately 15,000 Euros).
The projects develop new spaces in the fields of art, culture, and creativity. The ‘Echo’ project trains women on contemporary dance and storytelling through performing arts in Port Said and Luxor. The fund also supported ‘Bahgaga Mic’, which trains a group of women on singing folklore monologues that they can perform in a concert by the end of the project with the famous band Bahgaga.
In Upper Egypt, in Sohag in particular, the ‘On the Map’ project organises technical trainings and workshops in the film industry with the aim of professionally producing two short films. Another project in Upper Egypt is the ‘My Voice is Heard’ project, which aims to enable women in Sohag to tell, write, and document their stories through holding open meetings and producing a book that collects their stories along with an open performance.
Finally, the ‘Hair’ project demonstrates the societal models of hair styles, aiming to create a community dialogue about beauty, the body, and our perceptions of feminism, freedom, etc. through commissioning different artistic photographers.
As for the medium projects, the AFCA presents the school of arts to teach children outside of Cairo about performing theatre arts. The ‘Art Windows’ project was chosen to train children in various forms of art and creativity in Dakahlia.
In Mansoura, the ‘Urban Heritage Exhibition’ project will restore Andria Café and make it a platform that brings artists, creators and craftsmen together in one place, establishing alternative cultural spaces in Mansoura city.
The ‘Basarya B’AV-Lab’ and ‘Silsilah’ projects, on the other hand, will take place in Alexandria. The lab will create an intensive formation with 12 artists that will work together collaboratively on exploring many potential relationships of incorporating music and visual arts together and create a unique original artwork.
‘Silsilah’ is a dance training programme aiming to provide a comprehensive training opportunity to a group of 10-15 young adults from Alexandria. By the end of the progaramme, ‘Silsilah’ will produce an original dance piece and performance. It will be presented on the stage of the Great Hall of the Alexandria Library, with another performance planned to take place in Cairo.
The EUNIC in Egypt is a European network of 13 organisations engaging in cultural relations. EUNIC Egypt works though the Euro-Egyptian Cultural Programme and has been supporting the Egyptian cultural and artistic scene since 2019.
Its philosophy is to support artists through providing technical and financial capacities to put start-ups on track, support the already ongoing project’s sustainability, and support organisations in developing projects and initiatives.
The EUNIC seeks to create a liberal space for the arts and cultural sector in Egypt, where countries and organisations share knowledge and expertise in order to introduce different cultures and bring them together.
The programme seeks to create European Egyptian partnerships in the creative sector that would enrich the cultural community dialogue, open the space for knowledge and expertise exchange, and monitor and seize opportunities to create new spaces for artists that would help them reach their goals.