MFA Thesis Advising 2020: Asma Derouiche

It has been an absolute pleasure to serve on Asma Derouiche’s MFA committee and work alongside a fantastic group of interdisciplinary colleagues this year. Asma’s thesis brought together artisans and designers in Doha to reenvision the notion of product “authenticity” in this highly international capital city. I am looking forward to seeing Asma lead more critical collaborations such as these, shedding light on the importance of inclusive creative practices throughout Qatar and the world.

Thesis Title: Cultural Production in Qatar: Design, Dialog and the New Authentic

Abstract: Qatar, as a rapidly modernizing Arab country with a highly heterogeneous emergent community, is working to achieve a balance between accelerated development and cultural identity. Qatar’s cross-cultural environment and diverse attributes offer unprecedented opportunity to produce forward-looking, “100% Qatari Products,” that express a New Authentic. This thesis explores social dynamics governing cultural production in Qatar, and it challenges unproductive manifestations of social hierarchy—particularly related to norms surrounding the default working relationship between designers and artisans. The research highlights and celebrates the inherent diversity of the Qatari artifact, creating a platform and methods wherein designers and artisans collaborate equally and meaningfully. This thesis re-envisions authenticity as a celebration of magnified possibilities of creativity and innovation that emanate from a cross-cultural environment.

First Advisor: Marco Bruno
Second Advisor: Basma Hamdy
Third Advisor: Denielle Emans
Reader: Rab McClure

Read the full thesis document at: