As a visual form of language, typography has cultural and social meanings embedded in its use. Typography can emphasize information, provide personal connections to an observer, and create deep emotional resonance. As such, this project explores how design can be used to help bridge social divides through communication and typography on light post banners. Students worked as part of a team (of two or three students) to address topics such as...

This project serves as a starting point towards finding connections between design and community engagement while helping develop students' confidence in their abilities as a researcher. As a community-researcher, students learn about the lives, experiences, opinions, and ideas of people and facilitate inclusiveness in their research process, project, and long-term goals. Working in teams, students decide on a strategy that honors the input of the participants and/or community members they work...

The Information+ Conference 2018 was absolutely inspiring! This inter­disciplinary platform brought together a fantastic lineup of speakers who explored a range of historic and future practices in information design and data visualization. The entire event was thoughtful, inclusive, and beyond informative! I can’t remember the last time I attended a conference where the entire audience remained engaged in productive exchanges from the first keynote to the very end. It was indeed...

I am still recovering from jet-lag but wanted to share just a few thoughts about the fun I had this past week at AIGA Decipher 2018. There was so much great energy from all the speakers, participants, and keynotes—it's hard to know where to begin. One of the outstanding sessions I attended was the activity group “Critical Race Design Studies: Exploring Practical Approaches and New Opportunities in Design Curriculum” led by Nikita...

I am humbled to have received the Distinguished Achievement in Teaching award this past week! The recognition was not only an incredible surprise, but an opportunity to share the stage with a group of faculty who continue to inspire me with their talent, energy, and brilliance. VCUarts Qatar is comprised of so many dedicated educators, outstanding staff, and creative students who represent diverse geographic regions across the world, all of whom...

I had the distinct opportunity to participate in the PhD by Design event this June, a one-day event held prior to the DRS 2018 (Design Research Society) Conference in Limerick, Ireland (June 25-28, 2018). This event was established as a vehicle to vocalize, discuss, and work through some of the many issues of conducting a practice-based Ph.D. in Design. I sincerely enjoyed the opportunity to meet so many great people working...

It was a privilege to take part in the MAKE: AIGA Design Educators Conference at Herron School of Art + Design in beautiful Indianapolis this week (June 7-9, 2018). The conference was an opportunity for design educators, researchers, and practitioners to come together to establish a space to explore the full complexity of making and its applications within today’s social and political contexts. [gallery link="file" size="full" ids="9311,9309,9310"] I really enjoyed getting to...

Wow! I had an amazing time in Guana (Egypt) over the past four days serving as a mentor, workshop leader, and speaker at Vested Summit (May 9-12, 2018)! It was an honor to get to know the conscious tech community—a diverse group of startups, investors, designers, and developers working together to make conscious choices, conduct business responsibly, find an inner drive, and build happiness. “The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed.”...

Sidra Zubairi captivated the crowd during her MFA thesis defense entitled “Gender Beyond Binary: Pakistan’s Hijra Community.” Her project is a vital exploration of how to support the transgender community in Pakistan through adaptable and transformative clothing. I am honored to have served as one of her thesis advisors and look forward to her continued work bridging the gap between what people need to fully express themselves—and how to cope...

Last week, Kelly Murdoch-Kitt and I were honored to be featured in a podcast produced by the College Art Association (CAA)! The weekly CAA Conversations Podcast explores arts and pedagogy, tackling everything from the day-to-day grind to the big, universal questions of the field. Episode 29 of the series features myself and Kelly Murdoch-Kitt, (Assistant Professor at University of Michigan’s Stamps School of Art and Design) discussing our virtual cross-cultural collaborations...

Encouraging bilingual literacy is paramount to language and heritage conservation efforts in Qatar. Although Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation has produced a series of Arabic books that are a great start to a regional library, there is a need to expand access to children’s books’ that share a local perspective. This project aims to add to the library while addressing the growing demand for multilingual children’s books that embrace regional stories from...

The annual AIGA (the professional association for design) design conference has consistently provided an opportunity for the design community to make connections through inspiring presentations, networking events, and educational sessions. The 2017 conference title “connect” went on to reflect the importance of fostering meaningful connections with other designers and across design work. It was great to see so much engagement and commitment to the idea of inclusion within the conference. According to Tina...

During the Eid al-Adha break, I had the opportunity to visit Limassol for the three-day Advanced Media Institute Conference (AMIRetreat 2017). It was both an opportunity to engage in dynamic conversations about “Journalism, Society and Politics in the Digital Media Era,” but also to enjoy some rest and relaxation in this lovely Cyprian city. The interdisciplinary conference was held at the Cyprus University of Technology and brought together an inspiring mix...

Just a few short days after our commencement ceremonies at VCUArts Qatar, I jumped on a plane headed to Michigan to participate in the "Sustainability and Social Science Research Symposium." The conference was held at the University of Michigan (U of M) in cooperation with the Inter-University Sustainable Development Research Programme (IUSDRP), Manchester Metropo2litan University, HAW Hamburg and a number of institutions active in this field. The symposium provided a multidisciplinary overview of...

Yesterday, our Junior Graphic Design students presented interactive prototypes at the Qatar Foundation Headquarters as part of the Qatar Dynamic History Information Platform. This project aims to link Qatar’s National historical narrative with regional and global events while fostering the development of a sense of identity unique to the nation. As part of the initiative, students devised prototypes around the notion of collaborative and interactive features that appeal to the general...

Have you ever missed hearing your mother's lullabies? Or wanted to hear your father's comforting words during a time of stress? Mona Makhlouf's thesis delves into the beauty of these intangible sound memories and transforms them into tangible (and beautiful) objects. Brilliant! Check out Mona's thesis and more great work at the upcoming BFA + MFA exhibition this Saturday, April 29 at 3 pm at VCUQatar. Looking forward to seeing you...

Wajiha Pervez's oral thesis defense today was an inspired examination of circular economies. She expertly shared her material explorations in paper-making and reused jeans from the fashion industry, sparking an exciting discussion about sharing this information with the VCUarts Qatar community through classes or workshops. Wajiha's work is a critical examination of the hospitality industry's throwaway culture and how a more mindful approach to production systems can help the environment. Check...

HoneyQueen, a little Bengali restaurant in Doha is getting a makeover thanks to a team of students winning 2nd place in the Wajha Project Competition! This regional honor and achievement was announced on March 25th during a live broadcast from Amman-Jordan, where Wajha founders Ali AlMasri and Hussein Alazaat announced the final results to a live and virtual audience. ‘Wajha’ is an independent social initiative that uses design and branding knowledge...