VCUarts Qatar Announces Schedule for Tasmeem Doha 2024 ‘Under Construction’

February 29, 2024
Tasmeem Doha 2017 Gathering In The Atrium

This year, the conference will be held at various locations across the city, including but not limited to VCUarts Qatar’s campus in Education City, M7 in Msheireb Downtown Doha and Expo 2023 Doha in Al Bidda Park

In addition to its Open Day on March 2, the university is offering a number of panels and workshops to members of the public due to popular demand

VCUarts Qatar has announced the public schedule for its latest edition of Tasmeem Doha Biennial, titled ‘Under Construction’, which will be held from March 2-5, 2024.

This year, the conference will be held at various locations across the city, including but not limited to VCUarts Qatar’s campus in Education City, M7 in Msheireb Downtown Doha and Expo 2023 Doha in Al Bidda Park. As with previous editions, the conference consists of workshops, panel discussions and talks by renowned experts from the fields of art, architecture, technology and design.

With a one-time registration, members of the public can attend the conference’s opening events and reception that will take place on Saturday, March 2, 2024, from 3 pm to 7 pm, free of charge.

To attend the workshops on the second and third days of the conference, public attendees need to register for each workshop separately, as seats are limited.

The workshops open to the public include: ‘Conflict Exchange’ co-led by Wafaa Bilal, Drew Francis Cameron and Habeeb M. Abu-Futtaim; ‘Digital Craft. Carbon Fiber Bicycles’ led by Ben Jurgensen; ‘Wander, Unearth, Narrate’ led by Faysal Tabbarah; ‘Sour Things: The Workshop’ led by Mirnah Bamieh; and ‘Reviving Third Places’ co-led by Isabella Rossen, Robert Čanak, Sebastien Turbot, Ethan Kent, and Nihal Mohamed.

For more panels and workshops and further details including registration links, the conference’s full schedule and individual workshop details including location and timings can be found at

Tasmeem Doha is an international, biennial, art and design conference hosted and organized by VCUarts Qatar since 2004.

Each edition of Tasmeem Doha highlights a unique and contemporary theme within art and design, exploring novel concepts, methods and applications through masterclasses, discussions and workshops led by pioneers and renowned specialists in various fields.

The curator of Tasmeem Doha 2024 Richard Lombard said, “For 2024, the theme emerged somewhat organically through interaction with the community.  ‘Under Construction’, is a state that is often considered negative; but the hope was to turn that around. The idea was to investigate the criticality of change, and the role that Art and Design can play in that change.

“Beyond the obvious connection to development in Doha and the region, there is also the metaphorical connection to education, to personal development, and creative research.

To be under construction is to be active, to be activated, and to be (in the best of cases) improved.”

The three-day event features technology gurus, critical theorists and robot makers in addition to practitioners in those core elements of Art and Design that VCUarts Qatar is currently engaging with. This year’s conference features two keynote speeches, with one each on the opening and the closing days.

The opening keynote speech, titled ‘(Re)Constructing Urban Spaces: Unearthing the Palimpsest in Arabia’ will be delivered by Yasser Elsheshtawy. Elsheshtawy is a Professor of Architecture and an independent scholar focusing on urbanization in developing societies, informal urbanism, urban history and environment-behavior studies, with a particular focus on Middle Eastern cities. He is currently a Non-Resident Scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington D.C. and an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Yasser is a previous contributor to Tasmeem Doha, in  2007.

In his opening keynote address, Elsheshtawy will focus on the city of Doha, and its rapid expansion in the context of other cities in the region. The talk will highlight the value of preserving the past by allowing a city’s various layers of development to accumulate over decades, thereby contributing to the formation of a unique and distinctive identity.

The closing keynote speech will be delivered by Bernard Khoury. Khoury is the founder and principal of Bernard Khoury/DW5 in Beirut and a previous Tasmeem Doha contributor from 2008.  He graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design and holds a master’s in Architectural Studies from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. Since setting up his independent practice in 1993, he has gained an international reputation. He has won the Borromini Prize given to architects under 40 years of age, and the Architecture+ Award. He is the co-founder of the Arab Center for Architecture. He was a visiting professor at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, ‘Ecole Speciale d’Architecture in Paris and the American University of Beirut. 

Tasmeem Doha 2024 will also host a book signing by artist Wafaa Bilal entitled 168:01 in the School’s academic library on March 2nd as part of the biennial’s opening day.

The libraries at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, and the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA), are also participating with 168.01 installations from February 25to March 5, 2024. The installations raise awareness and funds that benefit the Baghdad libraries that were looted and burned in 2003. 

The installations consist of blank white books representing the books destroyed in a 13th-century assault on Baghdad.  Legend has it that the books were thrown into the river and the water washed the ink away, turning the river blue for 168 hours.  The ghostly volumes in this installation now represent the more recent assault on knowledge, the Iraq invasion in 2003.

In parallel with Tasmeem Doha 2024, VCUarts Qatar is also hosting an exhibition titled ‘Inner Structures – Outer Rhythms: Contemporary Arab & Persian Graphic Design’  featuring works by more than 30 graphic designers from the SWANA region.

The exhibition is on display at The Gallery at VCUarts Qatar until April 6, 2024, and is curated by Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFarès, Ph.D., a Lebanese-Dutch typographer, writer, researcher, graphic designer, and curator.  AbiFarès specializes in Arabic and multilingual typography and is the founder and director of the Khatt Foundation, in Amsterdam.

‘Under Construction’ takes place during the 25th Anniversary year of VCUarts Qatar. To mark the uniqueness of this year, Tasmeem Doha 2024 also features returning speakers and workshop leaders, Richmond-based VCUarts faculty, and VCUarts Qatar alumni, all of whom led or were involved in previous editions of the conference.

Tasmeem Doha 2024 ‘Under Construction’ takes place with the generous support of Lead Sponsor Ashghal, Sponsor Sasol, and Community Partners Clay Encounters, Qatar Auto Museum, Earthna, and FROMM.