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...

I had a fantastic time serving with Diane Derr and Rab McClure on Zeinah Zahir’s MFA committee and can’t wait to see what happens next with this meaningful project! Zeinah’s thesis proposes concrete ways to capitalize on visually impaired students’ enhanced abilities through other intact senses like touch, sound, taste, or smell. Thesis Title: Sensory Substitution, Key to Inclusive Learning Abstract: Visually impaired students, in primary education, encounter unique challenges while learning...

Nuqta: End of the Line was a three-week exhibition held at VCUarts Qatar from November 23 to December 12, 2019. The show featured speculative design work created in the Co-Lab Studio course I adore(!) co-teaching with Basma Hamdy. In this iteration of our collaboration, we brought together students enrolled in the elective courses Future Realities + Design Activism to examine power and resistance positions. Our students worked together in small teams using world-building...

What does a Graphic Design thesis look like at VCUarts Qatar? Anything you can imagine! Students explore various materials, methods, and investigations to carve out a unique space for themselves, from printed matter to speculative artifacts. As a course dedicated to the BFA thesis, the Senior Studio engages with the multiple facets of design studies, serving as a proposition explained by design research and written elements. The form an individual...

I am so proud of Rabeya Khatoon for passing her MFA Oral Thesis Defense this week. Her project "Whirling Hybrids: A Dichotomy Of Belonging" involved creating a series of hybridized spinning tops infused with sensory materials to celebrate Qatar's diverse cultures. It was an honor to engage with such a wonderful group of people around a project dedicated to belongingness across cultures and nationalities. A quote that beautifully captures the...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Three is an exhibition based on three components of design: condition, action, and effect. It was produced by students in their third year of the Graphic Design program and taught by three faculty: Basma Hamdy, Levi Hammett, and Denielle Emans. The exhibition is the product of combining two classes: Systems in Design and Interaction Design into one expanded studio and is based on a model of identifying a real-world condition,...

With an introduction to 3D modeling, this multi-phase project asked students to navigate basic 3D rendering technology and translate a vector illustration into three dimensions. Once complete, students printed their characters on a MakerBot and hand-painted the character models. For the final phase of the project, students expressed the personality, habits, and traits of their character in a short visual narrative. The execution of the narrative included photography, video, and an...

For this assignment, students devised a series of experiments to explore a chosen verb through typographic formal compositions. Each student aimed to develop a unique visual representation of the word based on its meaning using single letters or different words. Following the experimental process, students developed a book jacket for a fiction or poetry hardcover found in the University library. The goal was to simultaneously employ the use of expressive typography...

Four outstanding students from the Fall 2014 Design for a Sustainable Future course accompanied me in an exhibition opportunity at the 'AASHE 2015 Conference and Expo: Transforming Sustainability Education' held in Minneapolis. Accepted for inclusion as part of the conference in a double-blind peer review process, the exhibition highlighted our collaboration with RIT graphic design students on shared approaches to sustainability challenges. Held at the Minneapolis Convention Center, the exhibition with Kelly...

For this Imaging II project, students created two binary posters to reflect two opposing emotions (ie. confidence vs fear), time-periods (ie. past vs present), selves (ie. how you see yourself vs how others see you), or even melodies. The goal was to capture the quality, emotion, and essence of the 2 emotional states using only self-generated materials, textures, typography, and photography. The concept behind each collage was an important factor for students...

This project was a collaboration between GDES students and MAHATAT, a public art organization located in the Middle East. During the collaboration, students worked to revive the magic of traditional ‘wonder-boxes’ by developing prototypes in English and Arabic, while considering the need for both functionality and portability. The project methodology leveraged interactive and trans-media approaches for engaging the community in dynamic cultural and visual storytelling. Following the assembly of the boxes,...

Sustainability—it’s a word we hear a lot. We casually refer to sustainable choices, products, and lifestyles, but what exactly is this idea of sustainability? In order to unravel this buzzword, nineteen Graphic Design seniors from Virginia Commonwealth University’s campus in Doha, Qatar (VCUQ) and Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in Rochester, NY USA collaborated across the globe to make meaningful connections between the concept of sustainability and our day-to-day lives. The...