BeMA Research Grant “Unearthing Histories”

“Unearthing Histories”
BeMA Research Grant
Award Amount: $5,000 per recipient
Grant duration: 6 months
Number of grantees: 2
Deadline for application: December 31, 2023

The BeMA Research Grant Program emerges from the museum’s commitment to advance the study and practice of art history in the region. It offers 2 grants of up to $5,000 each, providing financial support for scholarly research through innovative formats while developing professional practices.
As the custodians of over 2,700 works of art belonging to the Lebanese Ministry of Culture (MoC), BeMA has selected 1,600 works to be part of the museum. As such, BeMA will be able to provide direct access to this valuable resource consisting of mostly Modern paintings, works on paper, sculptures and ceramics.
The grant will encourage knowledge creation, allowing for a greater understanding of late 19th Century and 20th Century art practices in Lebanon through the MoC’s collection. The approach should focus on the writing of art history, cross-referencing collections, and scouting and studying archival primary sources.
A temporary link to the collection can be found here for reference and to facilitate the development of the applicant's proposal: BeMA Collection

Research Guidelines
The Unearthing Histories Research Grant encourages researchers and cultural practitioners to propose new forms of goal-specific research that incorporate cataloguing, documentation, biography writing, interviews and artwork analysis to provide insights into art historical narratives.

a) Conduct an in-depth examination and analysis of an under-researched art collection.
b) Scout and investigate archives, documents, correspondence, and ephemera associated with the collection, including those held by artist estates, museums, galleries, private collectors, and relevant institutions.
c) Situate the collection within the broader art historical, sociocultural, and historical contexts to understand its significance and impact on artistic movements, cultural heritage, and society.
d) Produce a scholarly essay, curatorial materials, and educational resources that enhance the understanding of the collection, its creators, and its relevance to art history.

The research grants are open to:
Master's degree or Ph.D. students
Established professional researchers with university affiliations
Researchers within museums
Independent researchers
Applicants are welcome from all nationalities; however, candidates must work and reside in Lebanon for the duration of the research.
Knowledge of English and Arabic are mandatory.
Knowledge of French is a plus.

- 5,000 - 7,000-word essay (can be in English, Arabic or French)
- Abstract of 250 words (in English and the language in which the essay is written)
- Select and document iconography coming from the MoC Collection and scouted archives.
- Innovative online and / or printed document format summarizing and communicating the entire research project.
- Grantees must provide a digital and hard copy of the upon mentioned deliverables resulting
from their research to BeMA.

Application Process
Applicants are required to submit an online application
Kindly upload the materials in PDF format only.
Proposal materials can be submitted in English, Arabic or French
Only complete proposals will be examined by the Selection Committee.

Selection Process
The proposals will be evaluated by a selection committee comprised of BeMa’s museum staff, Lebanese scholars and art practitioners with extensive research and teaching experience.

Evaluation criteria:
-Contribution to advancing original knowledge in the arts in Lebanon.
-Projects fostering collaboration.
-Distinctiveness from existing works in the field.
-Addressing the needs and priorities of the country and region.
-Ethical research practices and methodologies.

Awards will be announced on January 21, 2024 and considered active as of February 15, 2024. The research project will be conducted over a period of 6 months to be completed by August 30th, 2024.
For any inquiries about the grant or application process, email us at
with the subject line: “BeMA Research Grant – Application”

Knowledge Transfer to Younger Generations
Since 2017, BeMA has been at the forefront of a highly successful public school/artist-led learning program in all corners of the nation.
As of 2022 the department of Learning & Outreach has been developing more programs with the mission of creating awareness about Lebanese art and artists through publications and youth workshops. All programs are designed around the comprehensive collection of BeMA.


2017: Launch of BeMA in Public Schools program for the Lebanese public schools in partnership with the Lebanese Ministry of Education

2022: Launch of Learning & Outreach Department

Results: Learning booklets on Lebanese art and artists
Series of Children's books in development
16 schools across Akkar, Sebeel, Zahle, Tyre, Byblos, Saida, Damour, Broumana, Chouf , Tripoli, Batroun, Beirut have benefited from this highly successful program

Targets 2023 – 2028: 40 Lebanese public schools to reach 1,500 students across Lebanon
 Raise awareness on Lebanese Art and Artists
Nurture a public through a shared heritage

Video links:

Decentralized Public Engagement
Innovative Outreach & Exhibition Formats

Outreach programs are rooted in a strong belief in the transformative power of the arts and the right of all people to access culture.
These programs, which target an array of audiences both within and outside Beirut and the country, define BeMA’s commitment to the general public.
These programs began in 2010 through APEAL and are ongoing until today. To cultivate a larger audience and support artists, BeMA provides de-centralized visibility and access to their programs.


2022: Launch of BeMA Beyond the Walls Programs

  • Public Access Campaign
Lebanese art and artists from the collection exhibited for the first time through awareness campaigns and loans to local institutions:
  • Bridging the Gap:
1Program - 6 outcomes Artist Commission/Artist in Residence with Artisan/Exhibition from the Collection/Link to Scientific Conservation Lab/Research and Online Publication/ Learning Booklet
  • Yi! Street Posters
  • Travelling mobile exhibitions in remote villages and towns
Targets 2023 – 2028:
  • Reach 60 Lebanese villages and towns and 500,000 members of the public across Lebanon
  • Raise awareness on Lebanese Art and Artists, a shared cultural heritage
  • Cultivate an art-engaged community

Publishing the National Heritage

Very few academic studies around Lebanese Art history exist.

There is need for research and data creation. Topics will stem from the collection itself through the conservation procedures all the way to the primary sources linked to it.
Through institutional collaborations, BeMA will centralize this data virtually to make it accessible to the public and researchers


2021: Launch of Research Department

2022: BeMA collaborates with art historians and historians on 30 Lebanese artists and 60 artworks setting a standard of reference for Lebanese art historical data

Innovative design and technical development of a public online database and CMS

Results: Launch of BeMA's online database, a national resource, accessible to academics and the public.
8 online essays published on research from the Conservation and Research department

Targets 2023-2028:
  • To research the entire collection of 2500 artworks and 470 artists
  • Become a reference for research on Lebanese Art and Artists, a shared cultural heritage
  • Establish partnerships with research institutions
Documenting National Heritage
Archives & Digitization

Archives and Primary sources will be preserved and amassed to offer a depository of information for researchers and cultural experts.


2021: Launch of Digitization campaign starting with the National Art collection
Guidelines and policies create according to The American Institute for Conservation (AIC) standards

2022: Creation of an innovative mobile digitization kit to enable on-site digitization
Acquisition of 80% of archiving & digitization equipment

Results: Identified and outsource endangered archives
Collaboration with archive owners
500 artworks are digitized to the highest standards

Targets 2023 – 2028:
  • Digitize the entire collection of 2500 artworks
  • Purchase specific-use equipment
  • Digitize endangered archives
  • Become an archives depository on Lebanese Art and Artists, a shared cultural heritage
  • Transfer know-how
Digitizing private collections & archives

Our in-house imaging lab boasts state-of-the-art equipment designed to digitize paintings, various paper-based materials, photographs and sculptures. 
If you have a collection that you wish to preserve digitally according to international museum standards and you would like to benefit from our digitization facilities, please fill out and submit this form
All proceeds directly support our digitization department.