the Masarat logo with the inscription 'Masarat: Grants for artists and cultural initiatives'

About Masarat Grants programme

At a time of significant challenge for artists and the cultural sector globally, the British Council remains committed to supporting the development of diverse and creative expression and mutual cultural exchange between the UK and the rest of the world.

  • The Masarat Grants programme seeks to respond to the needs of artists and cultural practitioners in Iraq, Jordan Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Yemen, providing financial support to enable continued production and project work in very difficult circumstances.   
  • Masarat aims to strengthen artistic practice through supporting production, training and showcasing activities. Selected grantees are also given opportunities to build their professional networks and make new connections with the UK and the Arab world. 
  • Masarat grantees have been awarded grants ranging from 4000 to 10,000 GBP in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Yemen. This grant programme is designed to support the professional development of emerging artists, creatives and cultural practitioners in the region. 

A total of 21 projects have received grants to implement their projects in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Yemen by October 2021.

Discover the projects happening in Lebanon

We Must Clown

We Must Clown 2021 aims to bring together a group of professional and non-professional clowns living in Lebanon, to reveal the societal and political challenges they are facing through 5 filmed creations to be broadcasted and shared online. 

The films will reflect on several social and political difficulties people are currently facing not just in Lebanon but, the region as whole. 

The project will empower the participants to have a voice, engage into a deep reflection on their situation and work on their professional development.  It will also allow the non-professional Clowns to put into practice the training they will receive and start the first steps towards building a professional artistic career. 

“This is a great opportunity for us as a group to meet, work and laugh together, sustain our mental wellbeing and tackle important issues.”

Sabine Choucair

Ethno Lebanon presents: A Virtual Introduction to the Musical Heritage of Lebanon

This project – led by Jeunesses Musicales du Liban – seeks to introduce the beauty of Arabic music to the world through virtual training and performances that include local and international artists. The aim of this project is to highlight Levantine culture and create job opportunities for musicians who play traditional instruments. 

Ethno is a program for folk, world and traditional music. At the core of Ethno is a democratic peer-to-peer learning approach, whereby young people teach each other the music from their countries and cultures. Through an open call, inviting local and international artists, the project begins with an online training course exploring the heritage of Levantine Lebanese folk music.  

The project culminates in an online event coinciding with the World Music Day in June 2021 which will live-stream the outputs of the project.  

“This opportunity is very valuable for Jeunesses Musicales du Liban as well as for the artists who will be involved as it allows us to fill the gaps in the music sector in Lebanon. The support of the British Council during such difficult times in the country gives up hope and determination to accomplish our goals.”

Joelle Khayat

The Story of Nujoud

The ‘Story of Nujoud’ project is a creative response to a global humanitarian crisis that continues to repeats throughout human history and present: the experience of refugees and displaced people.  

This project – led by artist Dima Nachawi - will utilise a mix of shadow theatre, puppetry and storytelling to produce an artistic performance that will tour across Lebanon, showcasing to youth living in vulnerable communities. Nujoud`s story seeks to explore the experiences of those fleeing their countries to protect themselves and families from conflicts or authoritarian and corrupt regimes.  

“The story of Nujoud opens a discussion around the topic of immigration and fleeing from politically distressed countries and around the question of a possible return to help rebuild a better future for the next generations.”

Dima Nachawi


Studio Kunukku is a design studio telling stories of communities through lost and endangered crafts. The Barsees project will support the development of a collection of block prints inspired by at-risk Syrian architectural feats and design motifs. Starting with research into one of the only known collections of Syrian block prints, some dating back over 400 years, the studio will design a new collection of carved wooden blocks blending new and old design motifs. The block prints will be applied to textiles to create a new streetwear collection.  

The carved blocks will then be kept as an evolving archive to be used for collaborations with local and international designers, in training workshops for refugee and vulnerable youth and showcased through exhibitions.  

The printed collection – Barsees - will comprise modern streetwear pieces, including shirts, trousers and accessories. The collection will also serve as visual research in the connection of these motifs to concepts of home, tradition, modesty and how (the motifs) embed themselves within the Syrian visual memory. 

“The grant will help us create our first streetwear collection. It’s important for us to share this collection with a wider audience to tell stories from Syria & Lebanon not yet shared with the world.”

Studio Kunukku

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