Writers Prize

NEW OPEN CALL: Art Writing Prize

December 2020

Launched in 2019, the Art Writing Prize aims at encouraging inquiry on and boosting the understanding of the trajectories of Syrian art through rigorous research and clear, accessible writing. The Prize is a development opportunity for art writers; in line with our mission of fostering critical thinking and research through knowledge creation, it contributes to building a bridge between the past and the future of art production in Syria. 

It now gives us great pleasure to announce that submissions are open for the third Art Writing Prize, on the theme of the history and practice of art galleries in Syria.

The winner will be awarded $600 and commissioned to write an essay of 2500-3000 words (either in Arabic or English), whichwill be translated and published bilingually in our online publication – The Journal.


Application Guidelines

We are currently accepting essay suggestions focused on the history of art galleries in Syria, their role in the development of the art scene in the country and their relationship with various stakeholders such as their audiences, collectors, artists and institutions (both in the country and beyond). The gallery’s role as a link between art and society cannot be reviewed independently from social, political, cultural and economic frameworks that have prevailed in the country, therefore we encourage inquiries that foreground those aspects. Below we list some potential research angles that applicants may address, yet this list is by no means exhaustive and we will accept submissions on other topics around the same theme.

·       Analysis of the emergence of an art market and of private galleries in Syria from 1960s to 2010.

·       Perspectives on the roles assumed by art galleries in Syria and the challenges faced by them, in relation to a specific decade or a specific Syrian city. 

·       A Ccase study of specific private galleries and their part in the development of the Syrian art market.

·       Public vs. private exhibition spaces, the relationship between them and their different roles in the development of an art scene in the country.

·       A case study discussing the different role of gallerists as opposed to art patrons. 

We encourage clarity of text, but also integrity of content, so applicants are asked to include footnotes, citations and source materials where appropriate. Analytical papers will have an advantage over plain historical recounts.


Required documents

We invite applicants to submit a proposal outlining the angle from which they wish to address the theme in question. To submit, simply send the following to info@atassifoundation.com:

-       a brief 400 word summary and outline of your intended essay 

-       a brief CV

Submission Deadline: 20 January 2021



20 January 2021: Deadline for submitting overview, outline and CV

5 February 2021: Announcement of winner

20 March 2021: Submission of final winning essay


Judging Panel

Shireen Atassi- Director, Atassi Foundation

Nour Asalia: Academic and Artist

Anna Wallace-Thompson: Arts Writer and Editor of The Journal

Ambra D'Antone: Academic and Editor

Alma Salem: Curator and Cultural Advisor