Tasmeem Doha 2011 – ‘Synapse: Designer as Link’ is open to the public and will take place at VCUQatar from 21 to 24 March, 2011.
On day one Allyson Vanstone, dean of VCUQatar welcomed the audience to the opening ceremony of the Conference and went on to say this gathering was made possible by the dedication and hard work of faculty and staff at VCUQatar. Vanstone thanked Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser, Chairperson of the Qatar Foundation for her support, her vision and ongoing enthusiasm and commitment to education. Dean Vanstone also thanked Muneera Spence and Pornprapha Phatanateacha, co-chairs of the conference and wished everybody at engaging time at Tasmeem 2011.
The welcome was followed by Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Journals (BQFJ) launching Tassmeem on QScience.com, the digital publishing portal for research journals. Peter Chomowicz, managing editor of Tassmeem and associate dean for Research and Academic Affairs at VCUQatar, said, “The aim of Tassmeem is to publish high quality, thought-provoking, original research that engages in the evolving scholarship of design.”
Arend Küster, managing director of BQFJ, added, “With QScience.com, we support Qatar Foundation’s ongoing commitment to bring research from the region to the widest possible international audience and to connect the global research community to one of the fastest growing research and development centers in the world. Design research is an integral element of this mission.”
Tassmeem encompasses, but is not limited to, the following areas, creativity and innovation, design education and pedagogy, design theory, criticism and history, sustainability, applied design, design methodology, interdisciplinary design, experimental design, the practice of design and global/local design.
Dr. Saif Al Hajari, vice-chairperson of Qatar Foundation in his address spoke about the positive change design was making in Qatar and how it was contributing to a safe and sound environment. He thanked VCUQatar, the students for working with the community to “improve art in our country and making Tasmeem a part of their vision”.
The activities of the first day of the conference concluded with the key note address from Tom Kelley, general manager of IDEO. Kelley spoke about how the role of designers had changed in the last 25 years and how design is a connector that drives enterprise strategy. He mentioned the two big challenges facing business today – the rapid escalation of complexity and the need for creativity. He also illustrated on the Red Queen Effect that summed up that it was no longer enough to be creative or innovative, “you have to outdo your competition”.
The second day of Tasmeem 2011 saw design educators participate in the MEDEA (Middle East Design Educators Association) workshop sharing ideas, methods, challenges and opportunities with their colleagues, and fostering dialogue between the design industry and those who educate the next generation of designers. The session included presentations by Jimmy Ghazal, head of Digital at M&C Saatchi MENA and Richard Grefé, executive director of AIGA, the oldest and largest professional association of designers in the United States.
TasmeemLab with four designers from the Arab world – product designer Younes Duret from Morocco, interior designer Khalid Shafar from the UAE, and graphic designers Richard Kahwagi, from Lebanon and Manar Al Muftah from Qatar - had live demonstrations of how their work is made.
Adobe and Feast Tasmeem were two workshops which were offered today. Feast Tasmeem aims to raise awareness and bring a better understanding of an anthropological and a psychological design process. The dinner act will be the cultural and social event to study human interactions. Ultimately, it will create a link between human dynamics and the design process.
Qatar is a virtual land of design opportunity, a context insatiably hungry for the kind of wild, risky, high-impact experimentation of designers like Natalie Jeremijenko. Her presentation dealt with understanding human health as environmental health and vice versa. She elaborated on how this was important. “The last 15 pandemics came from animals as borders are hard to maintain given the movement of animals.” She explained why it was critical to address these complex issues and involve everybody – from two year olds to 80 year olds - in the redesign process. Her design solutions took into consideration “anything you do to improve your environment health” has benefits for anybody one shared the environment with.
Jeremijenko is an artist and engineer whose background includes studies in biochemistry, physics, neuroscience and precision engineering. She is currently an Associate Professor at NYU in the Visual Art Department, and has affiliated faculty appointments in Computer Science and Environmental Studies. Jeremijenko is also a visiting professor at Royal College of Art, in London and an artist not-in-residence at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto.
Speaker Hunter F. Tura articulated on how he curates the team of designers he works with. As opposed to a ‘Superman model’ they work on the Avengers model’ which is a collective way of working. He gave examples of how the multi-disciplinary team at Bruce Mau Design comprising design experts in branding, content, research, architecture from across the world work in projects in different parts of the world, “constantly cycling through different ideas, different references. Some of the work he showed included designs for Facebok, the sustainability campaign for Coca Cola, rebranding Guatemala and the transportation study for Mecca.
Tura is the President + CEO of Bruce Mau Design, Inc. (a member of the MDC Partners network of companies) where he is responsible for driving global growth in all business sectors and expanding the legacy of the BMD brand. Tura has taken on the task of advancing BMD’s role in the conversation around contemporary design, design education and rethinking the contemporary design organization. Recent BMD collaborations include projects for the Oprah Winfrey Network, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Li Ning, and OCAD University in Toronto.
Tura’s presentations were followed by presentations from Amal Al Mehain and Fiona Raby and day two concluded with a discussion panel with the speakers moderated by Alice Twemlow.
Tomorrow’s afternoon presentations will be given by Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa, Mark Heggen, Hoda Baroudi, Maria Hibri and Michael Mauer and workshops will be held in the morning.
Tasmeem 2011 "Synapse: Designer as Link", with 14 speakers and 14 workshops, is interdisciplinary and collaborative, aiming to forge dynamic links between students, creative problem solvers, local community members, community stakeholders and VCUQatar. Tasmeem 2011 is situated as a working conference, featuring student driven teams investigating the role of design as a problem solving activity that tackles community issues, our daily life-worlds and future concerns. Conference activities are designed to generate awareness, raise important questions and provide meaningful, realizable solutions. For more information about Tasmeem 2011, featured speakers, workshops and events, and to register please visit http://www.tasmeemdoha.com/
Tom Kelley, general manager IDEO, delivering his keynote address at Tasmeem 2011
Dr Saif Al Hajari, vice chairperson of Qatar Foundation, addressing the audience at Tasmeem 2011
A section of the audience Day One of the Tasmeem conference
Jimmy Ghazal and Richard Grefe at the MEDEA workshop
Hunter F. Tura speaking at Tasmeem 2011
Natalie Jeremijenko speaking at Tasmeem 2011