2017 Grant Recipients

In 2017 the following projects benefited from The Arab British Centre grants:

Don’t Panic, I’m Islamic

Words and Pictures on How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Alien Next Door

Edited by Lynn Gaspard, published by Saqi

Sunday Times Best Humour Book of the Year 2017

‘Bursting with creativity, wit and intelligence’ Brian Eno

How can you tell if your neighbour is speaking Muslim? Is a mosque a kind of hedgehog? Can I get fries with that burka? You can’t trust the media any longer, but there’s no need to fret: Don’t Panic, I’m Islamic provides you with the answers.

Read this book to learn how you too can spot an elusive Islamist. Discover how Arabs (even 21-year-old, largely innocuous and totally adorable ones) plant bombs and get tips about how to interact with Homeland Security, which may or may not involve funny discussions about your sexuality.

Commissioned in response to the US travel ban, Don’t Panic, I’m Islamic includes cartoons, graffiti, photography, colouring in pages, memoir, short stories and more by 34 contributors from around the world. Provocative and at times laugh-out-loud funny, these subversive pieces are an explosion of expression, creativity and colour.


‘The Unheard World’ explores the experience of deafness, migration, displacement and loss, plus language from a deaf perspective by working with artists and individuals from the UK, Syria, Iraq, Middle East and the Arab-Sudanese region.

Whilst music is the core driver for Audiovisability, we work across artforms including live painting, accessible music captioning, signed languages, textiles, photography, film and other visual arts to illustrate the auditory.

International Translation Day 2017

Presented by Free Word Centre English Pen and The British Library Translation Day is the annual event for the literary translation community.

It is an opportunity for translators, students, publishers, booksellers, librarians, bloggers and reviewers to come together and debate significant issues within the sector, discuss challenges and celebrate success. The vibrant day-long programme includes seminars on women writers in translation, multilingualism, the state of translation in higher education, alternative routes to publication and translating for the stage. Plus a detailed look at the entire chain from author to reader: what works and what doesn’t when it comes to publishing translated literature?

Hummus - Opera Lab Europe

Produced by Opera Lab Europe (Lisbon)


A man is stuffing himself on his favourite Middle-Eastern dish. Gradually memories of a massacre come back to haunt him. Opera Lab Europe bring this new staging of Zad Moultaka’s a cappella opera to London direct from performances in Lisbon. Arab folk musical influences and a surreal German text combine in an opera that draws on the composer’s memories of the Lebanese Civil War.


And Here I Am

bitter sweet, dark political comedy based on one man’s true story and his odyssey in search for identity.

Based on Ahmed Tobasi’s personal coming of age story, AND HERE I AM is an epic voyage of identity and self-discovery. Combining fact and fantasy, tragedy and comedy, spanning both the first Palestinian intifada and the second, we follow the protagonist through his transformation from resistance fighter to artist, his journey as a refugee from the West Bank to Norway and then back again.

In a series of tragicomic episodes vividly brought to life with music, dance and animation, we journey through this personal and political tale of occupation and resistance, fear and heroism, a life of self-pursuit and loyalty that transports us to the heart of the hardships, struggles and contradictions of a young man growing up under occupation and his pursuit for the true meaning of freedom.

Written by Hassan Abdulrazzak, performed by Ahmed Tobasi and directed by Zoe Lafferty

Palestine Jazz: Nai Barghouti, Mohamed Najem & Friends

Nini productions presents: Nai Barghouti, Mohamed Najem & Friends

Nai Barghouti stunned audiences across the UK when she toured with the Palestine Youth Orchestra last year, selling out at venues from Glasgow to London including the Royal Fesival Hall. Nai returns to London with an all-star band that includes musicians who perform with some of the most popular young Palestinian bands around, including members of the Awan Quartet, Al Raseef and the Mohammed Assaf Band, who join members of Nai’s Amsterdam based group of musicians from the Netherlands and Korea.

Nai shares the concert with Mohamed Najem, another leading figure to emerge from the cultural renaissance in Palestine. Originally from Bethlehem, Mohamed Najem’s solo performances have included the Ravello and Florence Festivals, Teatro San Carlo, UNESCO and the Montreux Jazz Festival. Mohamed’s band, Mohamed Najem & Friends have quickly become favourites of the Paris jazz scene, appearing at festivals across France and as far away as Gabon.

Featuring traditional Arabic instruments alongside standard jazz line-ups, both bands move effortlessly between Arabic music and jazz respelling the music of the Middle East in a new musical language. In defiance of a new age of barriers and alienation, these young musicians preach unity and creation at its finest. All artists are donating part of their fee to UNICEF Syria.

Bristol Palestine Film Festival 2017

Bristol Palestine Film Festival is committed to providing an opportunity for moviegoers in the Southwest to experience the lives of Palestinian people through film. By bringing to Bristol, Palestinian film, art and culture the festival invites viewers to explore the multiple realities and identities of the Palestinian people. It is this focus on humanness and the expression of the everyday lives of Palestinians that is at the core the mission of this Festival.


The Heat of Battle Exhibition

The Royal Welsh Fusiliers in Egypt and Palestine during the First World War

The Heat of Battle Exhibition at Wrexham County Borough Museum & Archives

The fighting in Egypt and Palestine was seen as a sideshow by many during the First World War. The front barely features in the popular memory except as a backdrop to David Lean’s famous film, Lawrence of Arabia. However, it was the second most important theatre of operations for Britain after the Western Front.

‘This exhibition reminds us that the First World War was a global war and that many British soldiers served beyond the western front. The war that brought down the Ottoman Empire gave rise to the modern Middle East. The Royal Welsh Fusiliers fought in places whose names are still in the news today as a new world order was forged in the heat of battle.’

William Philpott
Professor of the History of Warfare
King’s College London