28 February 2009

VCUQatar Opens Mousharaka

Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar in partnership with Icograda opened the Mousharaka Conference with the Education Symposium. Mousharaka will take place at VCUQatar from 28 February to 5 March, 2009

Muneera Umedaly Spence, Chairperson of the Mousharaka Organizing Committee and the Chairperson of the Graphic Design Department at VCUQatar opened with welcoming the Icograda board members, design industry professionals and students to the Conference.

Allyson Vanstone, Dean of VCUQatar welcomed the audience to the Mousharaka Conference and went on to say this gathering was made possible by the dedication and hard work of faculty and staff at VCUQatar in collaboration with Icograda board members. Ms. Vanstone thanked Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al Missned, Chairperson of the Qatar Foundation for her support, Muneera Spence for hosting the conference and the sponsors for their continuous encouragement. “Mousharaka is building new foundations. We look forward to the first official gathering of regional design educators to establish MEDEA, the Middle East Design Educators Association. Mousharaka is one moment in the ongoing, educational and professional, project that we each work towards in our everyday practice. We look forward to continuing the communication and building upon the initiatives, connections and ideas being explored this week,” she concluded.

Don Chang, Icograda President, also welcomed the audience in his address and extended his congratulations and appreciation to the Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (VCUQatar) for their partnership in presenting Mousharaka: Icograda Design Week in Qatar. “Icograda welcomes the Education Symposium,” he started, adding the process was kicked off with the 70 papers submitted to the board. “of which eight were chosen for the different aspects of collaboration,” he said. “The core spirit of Icograda has always been a collaborative culture among our members that enables us to create a shared vision and common values. Collaboration is a combined effort resulting in the deepening of relationships and shared knowledge,” he added. He concluded hoping the Design Week, the first collaboration of its kind in the Middle East, would take designers on the road to innovation.

The Education Symposium opened with Brockett Horne, co-chair of graphic design at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, USA who spoke about the five ways designers are changing the practice. She talked about how designers are crafting solution for savvy audiences and setting opportunities to work in new collaborative ways. She showed slides of her students’ projects and elaborated on how designers can work as activists, researchers, artists and enablers.

Kelly Beaverford, the second presenter, has worked on design and education projects in Uganda, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Cambodia, Iran, Qatar, Turkey and Canada. Now teaching for the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Manitoba, she focuses on cross-cultural design and studio pedagogy. She is also the founder and Executive Director of Architects Without Borders Canada. She presented with Leland Hill, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at VCUQatar and their project – The Little Tea House that Grew – talked about service learning in the global community. The project in Deydinler, building a tea house for the community, involved taking a structure that was already on site and developing it into a tea house the community wanted. Architecture, Interior Design, Planning and Graphic Design students from the two universities first got to know each other, and then worked together with the community to make this project possible.

Ian Grout has been researching and teaching in Product Design at The Glasgow School of Art, where he is specifically concerned with future developments in Ecological and Sustainable design. His presentation Wide Horizons, talked about designing design education, its aspects as a collaborative activity – across disciplines, across cultures and how these collaborative perspectives afforded and clean and more meaningful practices.

The last speaker of the day, Claudia Meyer-Newman is Educational Director at AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Artists) and supports students in the AIGA Student Chapter at Cornish College of the Arts. Her presentation – Collaborative Learning Communities – 360 ways of creating relevance – focused on designers’ roles as strategic design thinkers who can contribute to advancing knowledge and enhancing both local and global understanding.

At the Education Symposium educators will share research, pedagogy, and new thinking and 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.

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. Mousharaka also launches Design Debate Doha - an opportunity for the design community to address an important global design issue in debate form. For more information about Mousharaka, featured speakers and events, and to register please visit http://www.mousharaka.com/

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