Fobzu-Oxford University MEC Writing Residency

In 2020 Fobzu partnered with the Middle East Centre (MEC) at Oxford University to launch the Fobzu-Oxford University MEC Writing Residency for Palestinian Scholars. The partnership reflects the historic links between the two institutions, which date back to Fobzu’s founding and first Chair, Middle East Centre Fellow Elizabeth Monroe and early committee members such as Roger Owen, as well as a commitment held by both institutions to supporting Palestinian higher education.

The Writing Residency supports visa procurement, travel from Palestine, accommodation and access to Oxford University libraries and the archive at the Middle East Centre during the scholar’s stay for a period of six to eight weeks during either the summer or autumn. The recipient will also benefit from a stipend of £2000 to cover living costs during the residency.

For information about eligibility and how to apply, please see below. 

Applications are currently on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Fobzu-Oxford Writing Residency is dedicated to supporting Palestinian scholarship by facilitating the completion of a writing project in Oxford for a Palestinian scholar.
The Residency aims to further links between UK and Palestinian scholars and thereby contribute to challenging the international isolation faced by Palestinian higher education under occupation.


Application to the Fobzu-Oxford Writing Residency is open to all Palestinians holding a position or affiliation at any Palestinian university in the oPt. Applications are welcome from scholars undertaking writing projects for publication in disciplines across the humanities, arts and social sciences.

Applicants must possess a working command of written and spoken English and be able to obtain a leave of absence from their home university to undertake the residency in the UK. Applicants must hold a current passport, Palestinian Authority or other, and should support the aims and objectives of Fobzu.


One scholar will be selected by a committee comprising members of the Fobzu Board of Trustees and prominent and emerging UK-based scholars and researchers. Applications will be assessed according to the quality and viability of the writing proposal. Priority will be given to scholars who can demonstrate the additional benefit of access to archival or research facilities and networks in Oxford and the UK. Fobzu cannot, as yet, support the accompaniment of dependents or spouses.


Fobzu will begin accepting applications on 23rd January 2020. Completed applications should be sent to no later than 23rd February 2020 and must include:

  • A writing proposal and plan for the duration of the residency, for a period of between 6 to 8 weeks. (Two pages maximum – 11-point font Times New Roman). The proposal should describe your writing project, include a proposed writing schedule, an explanation of how you believe the residency would benefit your work, and a plan for publication.
  • A current academic CV.
  • The name and contact details of two professional referees.

For any queries, please contact Fobzu Director, Omar Shweiki:

Professor Hala Nassar – the first Fobzu Writer in Residence

In 2019 Fobzu set up our first writing residency, the success of which led to Fobzu's partnership in 2020 with the Middle East Centre at St Antony's.  Professor Hala Khamis Nassar was the successful recipient chosen from an impressive array of applicants. Hala, an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Education at Bethlehem University,  also holds the position of Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs in Teaching and Learning, and Director of the Center of Excellence in Teaching and Learning. She received her PhD in Performing Arts and Middle Eastern Studies from the Free University in Berlin. She has published widely on the history of Arab theatre, with a particular focus on Palestinian cultural productions and drama.

Professor Nassar spent her residency in summer 2019 in Oxford as an Academic Visitor at St Antony’s College. While in Oxford she worked on completing her book on the history of Palestinian theatre. One of the first works of its kind, her book spans the late 19th century to the present and will explore the role of theatre and its various aesthetic forms in political and social transformation in Palestine and amongst Palestinians.

Here she talks about her experience as Fobzu's first writer-in-residence based at the Middle East Centre in 2019.

The Middle East Centre is delighted to be welcoming Dr Hala Nassar to Oxford in the summer of 2019. Her work on the history of theatre in Palestine, and on commemorating the Nakba in particular, is of such relevance to the interests of the faculty and students of the Centre. Our archival collections on Palestine and the holdings of our library will be of real use to her as she writes up her findings. We are also pleased to be engaging with the Friends of Birzeit University, which has a long association with the fellows of the Middle East Centre. We hope this visit is the start of a more regular exchange and we will work closely with Fobzu to build on these foundations.
Professor Eugene Rogan

Director, Middle East Centre, Oxford University

Such a life changing experience as this will not only enrich my scholarship, but also provide the space to write creatively and uninterrupted by the daily demands of teaching and administrative duties. I’m excited to share this wonderful history with everyone, and in particular with the broader theatre and arts world in Oxford, London and the UK.
Professor Hala Nassar

Bethlehem University

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