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Leading scholars, designers and artists from around the world will gather in Doha this month to examine the role art and design have played in the transformation of Qatar, in just a few decades, from a small pearling and fishing community to what it is today.
Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar’s eighth biennial conference, Tasmeem 2013, will explore creative processes and society building with a focus on Doha, Qatar and the region’s sustainable future.
The conference’s theme of ‘hybrid making’ will explore hybridity in the process of making, building and sustaining a contemporary society, and engaging with art and design conceived or created in Qatar.
The biennial international design conference will be held at three locations: VCUQatar, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, and the Hamad Bin Khalifa University Student Center, from March 10 to 17.
“Despite this impressive and far-reaching transformation, very little is actually produced in Qatar. Goods, products, produce, architecture, art, artefacts and other manifestations of creativity are, for the most part, imported. Qatar buys rather than produces. This is a matter of national sustainability,” says Johan Granberg, assistant professor of Interior Design at VCUQatar and co-chair of Tasmeem Doha 2013.
“As a consumer rather than maker, Qatar is heavily dependent on other parts of the world not only for its day-to-day existence, but also for its identity. We believe that creativity and the act of making are key components in forming and defining a nation’s culture and character. Therefore, this iteration of Tasmeem focuses on the creative process, the act of making,” he added.
This year’s conference will push boundaries by going beyond its traditional format. It will involve not only experts but members of the public as well.
Tasmeem Exploration Platform (TEP), a new feature at Tasmeem 2013, will run parallel to the conference’s lecture presentations and film festival. TEP will have a variety of inputs, including 16 papers, 12 workshop outcomes, and extensions from the conference’s film festival and lecture presentations.
Besides the film festival, Tasmeem Doha 2013 will include a series of exhibitions, presentations by artists, designers and architects who have done projects in the country, and a series of workshops and labs for students led by professors from VCU and VCUQatar and artists.
A primary goal of the working sessions is to design projects that explore and fulfil civic needs in Qatar and may eventually be adapted to serve the community.
The five-day production phase involving the workshops and laboratories will take place from March 10 to March 14 at VCUQatar and Mathaf. The two-day conference (dissemination) part of Tasmeem Doha 2013 will take place at the Hamad Bin Khalifa Student Center in Education City on March 16 and 17.
The Tasmeem Hybrid-Making Workshops, which will take place at VCUQatar, are interdisciplinary, collaborative, charette-style workshops designed to produce viable end products. Over five days, groups of 15 people comprising faculty and professional artists and designers will collaborate to create innovative end products. These products may be in the form of academic papers, videos, full-scale semi-permanent structures, performances or any other form determined by the workshop leaders and participants.
The conference at Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s Student Center will include a series of exhibitions and presentations by artists, designers and architects who have done projects in the country or have led workshops and labs during the active phase of Tasmeem Doha 2013. The exhibitions will run from March 1 to 31 in the various spaces that surround the conference hall of the Student Center.