Open Call for Artists and Cultural Institutions ‘Musical Practices in Palestine’ (Temporary Title)

Deadline date

On the exhibition: A Theoretical Framework
The Palestinian Museum plans to hold an exhibition on Palestinial (in, of, and about Palestine) musical practices to take place from 2023-2024 per the conceptual framework detailed below. The exhibition will include archival, visual, and sound materials; videos; ethnographic, heritage, and archaeological exhibited objects; commissioned artworks; interactive stations; specialised publications; activities; and public events for guests of all ages and specialists alike, deepening the exhibition themes.

The exhibition concept converses with the different manifestations of ‘place’ that are found within musical practices in Palestine. These manifestations emerge as a result of the interaction between Palestinians and their reality and are expressed through their music and musical practices.  In the context of the exhibition, ‘place’ is to be understood beyond its physical qualities as an entity that reflects and embodies Palestinian history and identity. The exhibition thus presents several manifestations of ‘the Palestinian place’ found in musical practices and devised through reading and analysing musical archives, audio and visual materials, literature, and historical documents. Music and its practices then become a way to explore the Palestinian ‘place’ that we at times view realistically, other times nostalgically, and still other times as parallel to reality. 

Call to Contribute with Commissioned Artworks: First Phase
The Palestinian Museum invites you to participate in the music exhibition by presenting proposals for commissioned art and installation works primarily inspired by the exhibition, based on its topics as suggested below.

Suggested Topics for Artists’ Participation
1.The Ideal Place
- On the power of archives: Musical practices between the modern, the elite, and the popular
Here we explore the ideal ‘place’ of the city of Jerusalem as depicted by a selection of musical archives from the Mandate era. Though critically examining some of the Orientalists’ archives, we will be able to highlight the margins of these musical practices with distance from their outlook, thus restitching the Jerusalemite musical scene and deconstructing archives’ power in written history.

2. The Natural Place
- On the fragmented landscape: Musical practices in dialogue with power structures
This theme focuses on the Palestinian landscape(s), and how music and musical practices express the disintegration of these landscapes from the violence inflicted by the apparatus of power inherent to the occupation. It also sheds light on the different spatial contexts that have produced and influenced different musical styles and their content, thus becoming a tool for confronting colonial projections.

- ‘Zajal’ From the River to the Sea
Through looking at the musical archives of three Palestinian ‘zajaleen’ (vocalists practising zajal, a traditional form of oral poetry), we aim to explore the differences between zajal styles prevalent in each region and question the impact of the natural landscape and cultural history on types formed and inherited within them.

3. The Revolutionary Place
-‘For two hands of stone and za’atar’: Manifestations of the massacre in musical practices
This axis revolves around musical patterns that evoke the massacre. It examines how music expressed the violence of an event/moment, bringing out spatial manifestations with revolutionary connotations that Palestinians share and internalise as part of their identity. 

4. The Heterotopic Place
- Rap and Trap Music: Practices to reproduce the city
Here the manifestations of ‘place’ that emerge in musical practices between two contradictory dualities are explored. One is dictated by the coloniser through their infrastructure designed to control Palestinian space; the other, by Palestinians’ daily actions to infiltrate said infrastructure, of which rap and trap music manage to undermine and redraw the map of their space as they see it, not as the coloniser does.

- Electronic Music and Class Struggle
This section explores musical practices that have been imbued with class connotations and framed within closed spatial boundaries. It does so to question the forms of class struggle prevailing in society and the role of music in either fuelling or erasing them.

- The Palestinian Wedding: Between dahiya and tarweeda traditional song styles
Here the musical practices present at Palestinian weddings are discussed, as relating to their framing within gendered connotations and between the duality of what is permissible and what is forbidden, manifest in musical patterns, dances, and rituals developed over time and practised by men and women alike (across gendered lines).

Application Terms and Conditions
This call is open to artists, architects, musicians, writers, filmmakers, and researchers in the fields of social and urban studies or other related fields. Each application must include the following:
-  A brief CV, not exceeding 150 words. 
- Synopsis of previous work and research.
- An abstract of the proposed intervention or artwork related to one of the topics delineated above, not exceeding 500 words. This abstract should include the work concept and its connection to the general exhibition idea; reflect the extent to which the proposal relates to the overall orientation of the participant’s previous works and methods of personal expression; detail the participant’s objectives of exhibition participation; the research questions the intervention or artwork seeks to ask or answer; and the nature of the final output.

- Descriptions of visual and/or audio resources, texts, or references the participant seeks to present or use in their research.
- A preliminary work plan which includes research and production phases, implementation time frame, and anticipated technical needs.

To Apply:
Participants should submit their technical and financial proposals in two separate envelopes. The first must include the technical summary, work objectives, research questions which shaped the final output, and the work plan, while the second must include the proposed implementation budget. Technical and financial applications are to be delivered in closed separate envelopes to the Palestinian Museum headquarters in Birzeit.

The deadline for submission per the aforementioned requirements is 14th of November 2022- Monday- 3:00 pm (Palestine time).
Those interested in submitting are kindly requested to send a preliminary letter of interest to the email: This is to ensure participation in the meeting on available archives and their potential use in artistic interventions, to be held via Zoom.

Selection: Method and Criteria
A Palestinian Museum special committee will select eligible projects, based on the proposal’s research and intellectual orientation and per special criteria proposed by the committee. Proposals will be evaluated across two stages: The first aims to select a preliminary list of works within the set criteria, while the second will include additional evaluation, interspersed with interviews and a presentation of illustrative materials to clarify the applicant’s general idea. Further development of the initial concept may then be requested. This will be followed by the selection of final exhibition participants.

- Relevance of the work to the exhibition’s main concept and its intersection with the general initial axes.
- Compatibility of offer with other submitted offers and proposed research resources.
- Originality and creativity of the proposed intervention and its presentation.
- Contribution of new ideas and questions about the exhibition theme.
- Applicant’s previous artwork and/or research.
- Integration of the idea and its various components and stage of development.
- Suitability of its implementation with the nature of the exhibition, its determinants, space, capabilities, and available resources. 

Time Schedule:

October 19th, 2022   Launch of public call for proposal first phase
October 23rd, 2022   Zoom meeting on available archives and potential use.
November 14th, 2022   Application deadline.
November 16th, 2022    Selection of applicants and invitation to interviews.
November 23rd, 2022   Final selection and the start of work.
February 23rd, 2023   Final work submission.