In response to the acute crisis in Lebanon, which has had a devastating impact on the Lebanese arts scene, the Institut français, the Association des Centres culturels de rencontre (ACCR) and the Institut français du Liban have joined forces to offer residencies in France to 100 Lebanese creative artists and arts professionals via an emergencyprogramme entitled "NAFAS", from the Arabic word نفس, meaning "breath".
The programme is an extension of the emergency aid for Lebanon announced by the President of France in September 2020 and is jointly funded by the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the French Ministry of Culture. The arts - in the shape of restoration of heritage and help for creative artists - feature prominently in the French emergency reconstruction aid package.
"NAFAS": an emergency programme to support the Lebanese artistic scene
The objective of the programme is to allow 100 Lebanese artists, who have been severely affected in the exercise of their profession, to maintain a creative activity within the framework of cultural exchanges with France. This programme aims to support Lebanese artists, creators and cultural professionals by hosting them in France for artistic residencies. It aims to offer help and guidance with the development of creative and/or research projects, in all sectors of the contemporary creation.
Through this ambitious residency programme, carried out in coordination with multiple French actors, public and private, at the regional and national levels, France wishes to show its support to the Lebanese artistic community and to act in favor of diversity and freedom of expression that reflect the aspirations of large sections of the Lebanese population, all communities and origins combined.
The choice of residencies: a breath for Lebanese artists, creators and cultural professionals
The NAFAS (from the Arabic word نفس, meaning "breath") residencies are designed as a breathing space to allow Lebanese artists to pursue their creative work via cultural exchanges with France. The aim of the programme is to provide Lebanese creative artists, designers and arts professionals with support in the form of residencies of a specific duration in all parts of mainland France to enable them to develop a creative and/or research project in any sector of contemporary creative arts.
A programme that brings together three residency schemes
The programme was instigated in October 2020 following the explosion in Beirut on 4 August 2020. As of March 2021, it is being stepped up with the implementation of three schemes:
- A call for applications by the Institut français, in collaboration with a network of host structures. The scheme has been devised in association with six local authorities (the Sud, Hauts-de-France, Centre-Val de Loire and Nouvelle-Aquitaine regions, the City of Lyon and the Greater Lyon Metropolis);
- A call for applications by the ACCR, in partnership with the members of its network;
- a special selection by the Institut français du Liban, in partnership with the French UNESCO Creative Cities Committee (cities of Angoulême, Enghien-les-Bains, Limoges, Lyon, Metz).
In addition to these three residency schemes, specific residencies will be offered by associate partners such as the Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée (CNC) and the Cité internationale des arts.
The Institut français call for applications
The scheme of the Institut français is devised in conjunction with fifteen host structures and is receiving support of six local authorities (the Sud, Hauts-de-France, Centre-Val de Loire and Nouvelle-Aquitaine regions, the City of Lyon and the Greater Lyon Metropolis). It offers three-month individual residencies within identified host structures on the French territory, in all fields of contemporary creation.
The call for applications will be published on the Institut français website on March 17, 2021. It will be open until April 30, 2021 for residencies that will take place between September 2021 and March 2022 (subject to health conditions).