Artists in Residency Program in Lebanese Public Schools - Shared Imaginaries


As part of its mission, BeMA involves diverse communities in cultural and educational programs for the service of building a committed and engaged civil society. It does so, by bringing together different narratives, fostering conversations and dialogue, in collaboration with cultural organizations and partners across Lebanon, the region and globally.

Therefore, and in the lead up to its opening, BeMA is developing a series of educational programs directed at the Lebanese youth which will ultimately support the national education policy by promoting concepts like dialogue, civic education, cultural diversity and intercultural understanding.

The artist residency for the public schools, consists in an immersive series of classroom sessions directed and led by an artist for a period of 6 to 8 weeks. The artist leads the students, with the support of the art teacher, in a creative process, and the residency culminates in a tangible outcome that the children work toward and produce.

Launched in 2017, the “Artists in Residency Program in the Lebanese Public Schools System” is a pilot project conceived by Lyne Sneige (Education and Programming Consultant to BeMA) and curated and coordinated by Maya Hage (Education Consultant to BeMA), in partnership with the Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Education.

Under the theme of “Shared Imaginaries”, BeMA has implemented an Artists in Residency Program directed at the Lebanese Public School System in 7 schools, covering the Lebanese territory from the north to the south, including the Bekaa, and the city of Beirut.
The artists involved in the project have led the young participants, through a series of immersive classroom sessions over the course of six to eight weeks, in a process that brought out shared affinities, hopes, values, and thus ultimately helped imagine innovative common perspectives and create counter stories. 

Following the huge success of this pilot program, the committee has decided, upon the request of the Ministry of Education and High Education, to scale up this Artists in Residency Program in Public Schools over 10 years to reach more than 40 schools all over Lebanon. 

Participating schools and artists 2017-2018 under the theme "Shared imaginaries": Rachel Edde public school in Sebeel (5th grade) with the artist Chantale Fahmi, Tyre's public school for girls (5th grade) and Haret Saida public school (5th grade) with the artist  Soraya Ghezelbash , Emir Chakib Erslan public school in Verdun (5th grade) and Al Oula public school in Byblos (6th grade) with Studio Kawakeb, Al Jadida public school in Zahle (5th grade) and Kamal Jumblatt school in Chouf (5th grade) with Collectof Kahraba. 

Participating schools 2018-2019 under the theme "Shaping common spaces": Al Daoura mixed gender public school in Akkar (6th grade) and Al Jadida public school in Zahle (5th grade) with the artist Chantale Fahmi, Tyre public school for girls (6th grade) and Rachel Edde public school in Sebeel (4th grade) with the artist Ghaleb Hawila, Al Oula public school in Byblos (6th grade) Haret Saida public school (6th grade) with Samandal, Mixed gender school of Damour and Emir Chakib Erslan public school in Verdun (5th grade) with the artist Soraya Ghezelbash, Intermediate public school in Broumana (5th grade) and Kamal Jomblatt public school in Chouf (5th grade) with Studio Kawakeb. 

New participating schools 2019-2020 under the theme "Shaping tomorrow": Modern school for girls in Tripoli, Estephan Atieh public school in Batroun and Abdul Karim Al Khalil public school in Beirut with the new participating artists 2019-2020: Ibtisam Dib and Haya Khoury. 



Art residencies which are inherently based on the idea of collaboration and exchange provide a space for intensive interaction and dialogue, they promote the social and societal value of the arts as they foster participation in a common project, cultivate a sense of belonging to a larger community, and help reduce anti-social behaviors.

In addition to identifying and experimenting with different categories and media for artistic expression, it will encourage multidisciplinary learning as well as arts integration as it connects art processes and themes to other subject areas within the curricula.

However, the purpose of the residency is further than artistic development and transmission of a know- how alone, it aims at the developments of soft skills which are broadly applicable across disciplines and real life experiences. Those skills cast a different light on art and its relation to human values and highlight the ability of arts to inspire better understanding of the complexities of the world.