Through our network, RCF identified shelters that have emerged sometimes as a collective initiative of the artists in exile themselves, sometimes as a gesture of solidarity by cultural actors in the host countries. Following five assignments to visit ten potential shelters for artists in exile near the conflict zones, from January to July 2016, RCF selected three spaces. Shelters receiving funds are non-political, non-denominational and non-profit. The funding serves to protect the artists by alleviating difficulties in finding residencies, overcoming bureaucratic and legal constraints and recreating social and professional dynamics. The three selected shelters are currently the best prepared to assist artists in exile in the framework of the Fil Manfa programme.
RCF decided to suggest to institutional partners such as the French Ministry of Culture, Directorate of European and International Relations, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, local authorities of the Canary Islands and the Farrah Foundation, the City of Paris, the SYNDEAC (French syndicate of artistic and cultural companies), a French senator, to help set up a funding mechanism to support the host organisations in these peripheral areas of conflicts. We would like to extend our gratitude to them for their support as well as to the Kurdistan Regional Government, with whom we have signed an agreement for logistic purposes, and Duhok Governorate.
The support goes to the host organisation to pay a permanent manager, provide professional equipment, renovate or rent work or accommodation spaces. The funding is provided on an annual basis, which can be renewed depending on the monitoring outcomes. The agreements with the three organisations were signed between December 2016 and March 2017, including a memorandum of understanding with UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) in Iraq. A coordinator in Duhok signed a contract with RCF to run the programme and buy equipment. UNFPA will organise art workshops inside Domiz camp.
The selection of beneficiaries has been run jointly by the host organisation and RCF (Board members and committee of experts). Hosting is limited for 3 to 6 months in order to cater for a maximum of beneficiaries. Hosting can cover accommodation, workspace and administrative assistance or only one or the other depending on the characteristics of each shelter and the needs of the individual artists.
The Fil Manfa programme is attentive to the follow-up of the artist after their hosting period is over and will make use of its network of contacts worldwide to support the artists in finding other solutions to further their artistic projects.
We are grateful to all those who have made this programme possible.