01 March 2009

VCUQatar invites public to opening of Mousharaka Professional Conference

Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar in partnership with Icograda would like to invite the public to the opening of the Mousharaka Professional Conference and keynote address by Ibrahim Jaidah on 2 March, 2009. Seating is on first come first seated basis with doors closing 1845. Mousharaka will take place at VCUQatar from 28 February to 5 March, 2009.

Ibrahim Jaidah, Managing Director of Arab Engineering Bureau, has been instrumental in the architectural development of Qatar and in presenting its image globally through major projects across all sectors. He is a pioneer of a new movement in architecture that combines the far-reaching influences of Islamic art with a modern style. At Mousharaka he will illustrate why collaboration in design should be considered as one among sustainable solutions to generate good architecture practices and to preserve the identity of a place.

VCUQatar hosted the second day of the Education Symposium on 1 March, 2009 with the second batch of Educational Speakers making their presentations in the atrium at VCUQatar to a packed audience comprising students and professionals from the design industry. Muneera Umedaly Spence, Chairperson of the Mousharaka Organizing Committee and the Chairperson of the Graphic Design Department at VCUQatar, introduced the speakers to the audience.

Nicholas Vanderschantz is a lecturer in Computer Graphic Design in the Computer Science Department at the University of Waikato, in Hamilton, New Zealand. His presentation dealt with Digital Storytelling as an art form. The Graphic Design students at his university worked on a collaboration with their partners over a 4-year period to develop a story-board and create the digital story. The stories were many and varied in their theme and communication aesthetic and included, live motion, stop motion, animation, photography, typography, hand rendered and computer rendered illustrations. The students learnt about communicating in collaboration, developing trust through honesty and became aware of the need for transparency of process.

The second speaker, Farid Esmaeil, is the founding partner of x-architects, a leading architecture and urban design practice in Dubai. He has been a driving force in conceptual projects such as “Xeritown”, a 60 hectare sustainable city in Dubai, and “Al Nasseem”, a 12 hectare community development in Al-Ain, amongst others. His presentation on Xeritown dealt with sustainable urbanization through collaboration focusing on the vision of the project, the ideas exchanged, methods of collaboration, the teams involved and the design. As the team comprised of everybody involved in building this town - from engineers, and graphic artists to landscape and lighting designers – based in London, Berlin, Cape Town Zurich, Dubai, Iran and San Francisco, the primary mode of communication was a digital online sketchbook they set up which would circulate with them writing in their comments. This would then go for approval to clients and changes would be made accordingly – a successful example of how this collaboration worked with the online sketchbook.


Barbara Sudick is the Nierenberg Distinguished Professor of Design in the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University where she teaches collaborative interdisciplinary classes to graduate and post-graduate students in Communication Planning and Information Design and Human Computer Interaction. Frank Armstrong is a visiting Assistant Professor in the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon, teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in Typography, Interaction and Motion Design. Their presentation talked about Using Collaboration plus Indigenous Knowledge to teach sustainable design. The presentation emphasized certain factors: 350 million indigenous people from over 70 countries comprising 5000 languages and cultures lived sustainably. The presentation regarded these people as a tremendous resource whose collaboration with the ecosystem has been long-term and holistic and how the design community today can learn from the indigenous people who believe collaborating with the entire community through indigenous practices is the only way for the earth to sustain itself. The points for designers


The final speaker of the day Dr. Ajantha Sen, is the International Director of Solar Project, a networking technology experimentation with cross-cultural collaborative learning environments for children. Her presentation entitled Mela (India) meets Mousharaka (Qatar) focused on inspirations from culturally rooted practices and constructs to drive cross-cultural collaboration in design. She highlighted the custom of ‘Potlatch’ practiced by the kwakwakwa’kwakw Indian tribe of British Columbia which entailed a gift giving ceremony that serves a host of functions, essential to keeping the spirit alive in difficult times, as in the case of the economy today, while promoting altruism in the community. The other projects she highlighted were the Khotachiwadi – village inside a city – which dealt with providing support through technology and the Solar Project – which networked a cross-cultural environment and was driven through technology. The Khotachiwadi project brief given to students entailed they capture the cultural rich information and locate design opportunities retaining earlier acts of collaboration.

The presentations were followed by a moderated Q&A session. At the Education Symposium educators will share research, pedagogy, and new thinking, while students engage in two-day workshops culminating in an exhibition of the best work. These will be exhibited on Monday, 2 March, 2009 in the Orange Hall in VCUQatar.

VCUQatar is also proud to Barwa as a sponsor for Mousharaka. Barwa is a company that has drawn on Qatar’s heritage in order to emerge as one of the country’s foremost, innovative real estate conglomerates. They are driven by an honorable promise to partner Qatar in its drive to develop a glowing future. Visionary leadership meticulous planning, discerning investments, and secure growth; these are the promises of this nation and these are precisely the promises Barwa has made both to their stakeholders and to Qatar. In their march towards fulfilling this pledge they have secured phenomenal growth on behalf of their investors, stakeholders and every community in which they operate.

Mousharaka / The Icograda Design Week in Qatar, presented by VCUQatar, is composed of the Education Symposium and the Professional Conference, where prominent speakers will share perspectives on design and design collaborations. VCUQatar is also spearheading the creation of MEDEA – the Middle East Design Educators Association - a platform for educators charged with getting the most out of design. For more information about Mousharaka, featured speakers and events, and to register please visit http://www.mousharaka.com/

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