Young Shubbak are delighted to announce an open call for Sawa, Sawa launching this summer as part of Shubbak Festival 2021.

We are a collective who believe in the importance of openness and inclusivity in the arts, programming multi-art form events and exchanges that are relevant to young people’s cultural experience.

Sawa, Sawa is a digital, multi-artform gallery platforming the work of South-West Asian and North African (SWANA) artists between the ages of 16 and 26. We are inviting submissions from young people who experienced lockdown in the UK and Ireland, and used art as a means to cultivate connections within their communities.

Submissions can be from any discipline, including music, literature, visual arts and film/photography. (This list is not limited to the suggested art-forms, however, the final work must be suitable for exhibiting online.) Works can be in any language from the SWANA region, and can be existing material or newly-made.

We are looking for works that explore some of these questions, reflecting on how the lockdown and pandemic have affected our generation. These questions are here as guidance, and we are open to understandings of these experiences from other angles.

  • How do we hold together during lockdown and how have we found strength in our cultures and communities to go forward?
  • Has community taken on a new meaning for you? How has it manifested? How have your relationships transformed?
  • How have you adapted to a world that we have not been trained for?
  • How have we learnt from lockdown and how can we exchange with others what we have learnt through an artistic medium?

As the world has shifted to the digital realm, the way we can interact with each other has transformed; so much is dependent on two-dimensional, online communication where we engage with each other through our screens rather than in an embodied way. We want to platform work that shows how you have found ways to preserve the multi-dimensionality of human experience, and celebrate what makes you, you and us, us.

Sawa, Sawa will be part of Shubbak Festival in June-July 2021. Shubbak is Europe’s largest biennial festival of contemporary Arab culture. It connects London audiences and communities with the best of contemporary Arab culture through an ambitious festival programme of premieres and commissions of visual arts, film, music, theatre, dance, and literature.

This is a paid opportunity with production support from the Young Shubbak team. Please submit your application by 15 March 5pm (GMT), 2021. Selected artists will be notified by 23 March. Due to limited capacity, we cannot notify unsuccessful applicants or offer individual feedback. General applications that are not in response to this particular project, will not be considered.

Eligibility criteria

  • The opportunity is for 16–26 years old SWANA individuals across any creative discipline based in the United Kingdom and Ireland during lockdown.
  • The work must be suitable for exhibiting online.
  • No previous professional experience is needed.


  • Applicants must be available for general contact between March and July 2021.
  • Applicants must have access to the internet throughout the period. If this is not possible, please indicate in your application form and the Young Shubbak team will do everything they can to assist you.
  • Applications and submitted materials can be in either English or Arabic.
  • Final works can be in any language from the SWANA region as long as supporting materials or commentary is available in English or Arabic.

If you have any questions, please contact Young Shubbak.

حمل الدعوه المفتوحه

Complete the application form