Basma Hamdy

Associate Professor


+974 4402 0692
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PhD candidate, PhDArts: Leiden University and The Royal Academy of Art (KABK), The Netherlands

MFA, Maryland Institute College of Art, 2003

Post-Bacc., School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 2001

BA, American University in Cairo, 1998


Basma Hamdy is a research-based designer, author and educator producing work that bridges historical, political and social issues with archival, documentarian, participatory, and critical mechanisms. She is an advocate for collaboration and participatory practices, believing that design must promote multiperspectivity. She has collaborated with historians, photographers, designers, activists and cultural organizations to create work that reformulates or challenges established norms or conventions. 

Since 2011, she has been researching and documenting the creative output of the Egyptian Revolution culminating with the book ‘Walls of Freedom: Street Art of the Egyptian Revolution’ in collaboration with Don Karl, published in March 2014 by ‘From Here To Fame’ (Berlin). She is currently working on her second book ‘Found Khatt’ in collaboration with Noha Zayed, documenting found typography across Egypt. She has been interviewed and featured extensively in prominent international media –such as The New York Times, Fast Company, Jadaliyya, Huck, Der Spiegel and Print– and exhibited and spoke at several international art and design festivals and conferences such as Duke University’s Arts of the Revolution,  Spielart Festival Munich and The Graphic Design Festival Breda. In 2016, Basma Hamdy was recognized for excellence in research (scholarship) by a panel of distinguished jurors as part of the Communication Design Educators Awards by Design Incubation.

Hamdy earned an MFA from MICA in 2003, a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2000 and a BA from the American University in Cairo. She is currently a candidate at PhDArts: Leiden University and The Royal Academy of Art (KABK), The Netherlands. She has extensive experience teaching in the Middle East and is currently Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar.

Twitter: @basmahamdy

Instagram: basmahamdy



“Walls of Freedom Street Art of the Egyptian Revolution.” (with Don Karl), Berlin: From Here To Fame, March 2014. (book/international)

Book Chapters:

[FORTHCOMING] “Design in Qatar.” (with Denielle Emans) in The Encyclopedia of Asian Design, Volume 3, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016

[FORTHCOMING] “A Language of Resistance: The Subversion of the Arabic Script.” in Aesthetics of Resistance edited by Sarah H. Awad and Brady Wagoner, Palgrave Macmillan, 2017

Selected Journal Articles:

[FORTHCOMING]“Collaborative Design Competencies (DESCO)” (with Denielle Emans) in FORMakademisk, Special Issue, 2016 (accepted)

“Walls of Freedom: Process & Methodologies.” Street Art & Urban Creativity Scientific Journal”, No. 1, December 2015. (juried/international)

“Graffiti of the Egyptian Revolution.” Al-Malaf Al-Masry, Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, Edited by Dina Shehata, July 2015: 21-24. (invited/print & online)

“WonderBox: Storytelling and Emerging Technologies” (with Denielle Emans), Proceedings of LearnxDesign, the 3rd International Conference for Design Education Researchers, Edited by Robin VandeZande, Erik Bohemia, Ingvild Digranes. No.2. (604–622), Chicago, IL, June 28–30, 2015. (juried/international)

Suspending Freedom: Image Politics and Propaganda in Egypt.” Seismopolite, Journal of Art and Politics. No. 8, December 2014. (juried/online/international)

Selected Interviews and Bibliography:

“New Texts Out Now: Don Karl and Basma Hamdy, Walls of Freedom: Street Art of the Egyptian Revolution.” Jadaliyya. May 25, 2015. (online/international)

“Q&A: Egypt’s graffiti ‘The Unmediated Voice of People’” Al Jazeera. 26 February 2015.(online/international)

Steven Heller. “Art & Outrage” (slideshow of 7 books). Review of Walls of Freedom: Street Art of the Egyptian Revolution, by Basma Hamdy and Don Karl. New York Times, October 24, 2014, Sunday Book Review.

Alex King. “Egypt Now: A Lack of Colour.” Huck Magazine, March 28, 2014.(Print & online/international)

Toivo Jokkala. “Revolutionens röster fyllde Kairos väggar.” Review of Walls of Freedom: Street Art of the Egyptian Revolution, by Basma Hamdy and Don Karl. Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, July 17, 2014.(Swedish/print & online)

Katharina Pfannkuch, “Die Wandzeitung der Revolution”, Zeit Online, July 2013.(German/online)

Jordan Kushins. “A Look At The Street Art That Spurred A Revolution”, Fast Company, June 2013. (online)


“Walls of Freedom: A Journey of Resistance” (with Don Karl). Talk. Spielart Festival: Art in Resistance, Munich, Germany, October 30, 2015. (juried, 40 of 800 applications/international)

“Walls of Freedom” Talk. Graphic Design Festival Breda, Current Characters Convention. Breda, The Netherlands, October 14, 2015. (invited/international)

 “Wonder-Filled Design: Reviving Dynamic Visual Storytelling and Cultural Narratives” (with Denielle Emans). Presentation at LearnxDesign, the 3rd International Conference for Design Education Researchers and PreK-16 Design Educators, Chicago, IL, June 28–30, 2015. (juried/international)

“Design as a Social and Political Tool” panel member with  Joseph Grima (panel chair), and Corinna Gardner. The Global Shift: Who Shapes the Future of Design? Symposium. Vitra Design Museum Germany, Palazzo Clerici Milan, Italy, April 15, 2015 (invited/international)

“Culture in a Box: Reshaping Community–Based Narratives into Visual Constructs” (with Denielle Emans). Presentation at the AIGA Design Education Conference, Spaces of Learning: Inside Outside Graphic Design Education, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, April 16–18, 2015. (juried/international)

“Scarabs, Buraqs and Angels.” Paper presentation. Arts of the Revolution Conference. Duke University Middle East Studies Center, Durham, NC, USA, March 29, 2014. (invited/international)

 “Art, Revolutions, and the Ethics of Alternative Social Projects”, Panel member with Erda  Göknar (panel chair), Abdelhay Moudden and Rebecca Joubin, Arts of the Revolution Conference, Duke University Middle East Studies Center, Durham, NC, USA, March 29, 2014 (invited/international)

“Aesthetics of political change. Arabic streetart/ Arabic graffiti.” Panel member with Ammar AboBakr & Don Karl. Festival Against Fatigue, The Heinrich-Böll-Foundation, Berlin, Germany, June 3, 2012. (invited/international)


Recognition of excellence in Research/Scholarship, Communication Design Educators Awards,  Design Incubation, 2016.

Spielart Festival: Art in Resistance, official selection, 40 from 800 international projects (with Don Karl), Munich, Germany, Oct 30-Nov 1, 2015.

Crowdfunding Campaign: 'Walls of Freedom: Street Art of the Egyptian Revolution' (with Don Karl), Indiegogo, 186% funded, $46,575 by 746 people in 43 countries.

Faculty Research Grant: 'Found Khatt: A Typographic Journey through Egypt', VCUQatar, 2016.

Faculty Research Grant: 'The 3ajeeb! Wonderbox: Interactive Storytelling for Cultural Preservation in Qatar' (with Denielle Emans), VCUQatar, 2015.