"Ways of Traveling"

Apply by November 26, 2019, 11pm

A. M. Qattan Foundation Residency Programme 2020

To celebrate and remember John Berger, artist, writer, poet and critic, the A.M. Qattan Foundation is proud to launch the Qattan Residency: Ways of Traveling 2020. 

Over a lifetime John Berger produced works that always broke through the boundaries that separate high and low culture, fact or fiction, art and politics while constantly travelling across multiple genres. In the 1970s, John Berger’s book, Ways of Seeing revolutionized the way we see art and the world of visual representation. He examined not just how artworks are made, but made us aware of the politics of how we are encouraged to see them. He taught us that looking at a work of art or image involves entering into a visual relationship—not just between the work and the viewer, but between the social order that gave the work its visual language and the social order through which we, the viewer apprehend what is in front of us. By showing how power and the visual are intimately connected and where we stand within them; John Berger gave us the critical tools to begin to see art and the world for ourselves. 

Though often described  as an art critic or novelist he preferred to be called a storyteller. As a committed artist, he saw his role in the world as a transmitter of the stories that urgently needed telling. He said, If I’m a storyteller it’s because I listen. For me, a storyteller is like a smuggler who gets contraband across a frontier. Thus, he approached writing, largely as a process of making a story travel: of gently guiding it from its source and delivering it out into the world.

We have chosen to call the residency in tribute to John Berger “Ways of Travelling,” in order to capture the very unique way in which particular ways of travelling were a central to his philosophy and creative process especially in his visits to Palestine. John Berger famously disliked conventional forms of travel. He hated airplanes and cars. When he arrived in a different country he avoided major tourist sites and refused to cover a series of itineraries. The only physical means of travel that he liked was by motorbike, because as he explained it involved a particular way of seeing that was similar to drawing—bringing together the experiences of displacement and vision. But his preference for the motorbike was also about how he wanted to travel in ways that involved a particular way of being in the world. A way of being summed up in one of his essays:

"They were seeking a country between the familiar and the never seen. And to arrive there in this country, one has to travel in a special way. It’s not sufficient to look through a window. Nor will any highway take you there. Nobody can give you directions, since you don’t know what to ask for. On this journey a much trodden path is a warning rather than an encouragement. It isn’t bound to be either desolate or wild. It may be just beside where the baker regularly parks his car. The art is to arrive there by accident. Then one surprises the place, and it surprises you." 

The Residency for 2020 is open for multidisciplinary artists from all backgrounds and with emphasis on studio practice. Residents will be given a studio space and access to the library, and other building facilities. Successful residents, are required to demonstrate proposals that tie their studio work with the local community and Berger's legecy.   

All residents are required to contribute with a public presentation about their work or ongoing projects. The Residency Programme 2020, offers three seasonal opportunities, each for a duration between 1–2 months and with an all inclusive monthly award of USD 1,450 subject to 10% income tax deduction. 

For the application form, please click here

A.M. Qattan Foundation 22 Al-Jihad Street 90624 Ramallah Palestine Hours: Monday–Thursday and Saturday 11am–8pm

T +970 2 296 0544 F +970 2 298 4886 info@qattanfoundation.org


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