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22 March, 2011

VCUQatar Opens Tasmeem Doha 2011

Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar in partnership with the Ministry of Labour and Qatar Foundation launched its biennial design conference Tasmeem Doha 2011 on Monday, 21 March.

Tasmeem Doha 2011 – ‘Synapse: Designer as Link’ is open to the public and will take place at VCUQatar from 21 to 24 March, 2011.

Muneera Spence and Pornprapha Phatanateacha, co-chairs of the Tasmeem Committee opened with welcoming design industry professionals and students to the Conference. Spence introduced the theme of the conference, Synapse: Designer as Link and hoped the conference would help participants “be links to each other”. Spence also spoke about the post Tasmeem Doha publication which would capture the conference and be available soon.

The first morning of the conference saw participants of the various workshops being briefed about the projects. ‘Managing life in a construction zone’, one of the Synapse projects aims to tackle the needs of Qatar’s residents as they find themselves living in the midst of explosive growth and development. The second Synapse project ‘Health & Well-being’ seeks to address the struggle of staying healthy in a society undergoing enormous change and ‘Stratified Societies’ deals with the design challenge of Qatar undergoing modernization while preserving its traditions. VCUQatar students from the two-semester Tasmeem-related course briefed participants on the project. Design challenges from all these projects will be presented on the final day of the conference by their workshop leaders, Qatari architect Ibrahim Jaidah, designer Anab Jain and director of design foundation Line Ulrika Christiansen respectively.

This was followed by a Q&A session with Alice Twemlow, the conference moderator, who will also deliver short presentations at different points throughout the conference that reflect on the different types of learning happening at the different conference venues and forums.

In the afternoon participants joined the various workshops besides the Synapse projects, which included ‘Business Model Design and Development’, “Exploration of viral media’ ‘Exquisite Corpse Laser-Cut Totem’ and four more workshops – Exploring Design in a 3D World: Conceptual Thinking for Young Interior Architects, What is it that Designers do?, Thinking through Drawing and Fantastic Fashion Creative Workshop – that were specifically designed for high school students.

Alexander Osterwalder and Anders Sundelin presented with a multitude of inspirational examples why business model innovation and design thinking are important today and how they go beyond technology and product innovation. This workshop targeted entrepreneurs, businesses and designers specifically.

Exploration of Viral Media and Exquisite Corpse Laser-Cut Totem are two day workshops. The first explores the concept of viral media and attempts document and disseminate their observations through a variety of media from Twitter and Facebook to Youtube and blogs and also create more tangible art of in the form of street art that can be documented and disseminated as widely as possible. Exquisite Corpse is an undated adaptation of the surrealist game Exquisite Corpse where a set of participants each contribute a segment in consecutive images into a collated assemblage.

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 - also gave individual live demonstrations of how their work is made. Visitors were offered a rare view into the designers’ workshop spaces to understand the process that goes into the creation of design products.

The afternoon workshop sessions were followed by the keynote address by Tom Kelley, general manager of IDEO and the opening reception.

Tomorrow’s afternoon presentations will be given by Natalie Jeremijenko, Hunter F. Tura, Amal Al-Mehain and Fiona Raby 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/

Participants at Tasmeem Doha 2011 after registration

Tasmeem Committee co-chairs Muneera Spence and Pornprapha Phatanateacha welcoming participants to Tasmeem 2011 and introducing the theme of the conference

Section of the audience at the Tasmeem workshop briefings

Tasmeem co-chair Pornprapha Phatanateacha speaking about the conference theme

VCUQatar students speaking about Synapse Project ‘Managing Life in a Construction Zone’

Muneera Spence, Tasmeem co-chair, speaking about the Tasmeem workshops

Alice Twemlow, conference moderator, leading the Q&A session with students involved in the Synapse projects

Tasmeem workshop for high school students in progress

Winsoft workshop briefing during Tasmeem