As a consequence of the majilis I designed for the “Strange Wonders” exhibition, along with some of my scarf designs and my current project working with Khaleeji visual language, I was invited by UNESCO with the support of the Dean and the Art Foundation department, to give a presentation about how VCUQ works towards preservation of cultural heritage, specifically traditional crafts.
My presentation was intended to be provocative, encouraging conference participants to consider “caring for the past by cultivating the future.” The presentation demonstrated how art and design education at VCUQatar, specifically in the Art Foundation program contributes to the development of Qatar’s human potential, helping young Qatari students propose a new story, one that is critical, engaged and considerate of their cultural identity and their sustainable future, and by consequence their cultural past. My presentation was part of a larger conversation about preservation and modernization of the handicraft industry in Qatar with participants from UNESCO, Qatar University, Katara, and several regional crafts cooperatives.
With the support of Simone Muscolino, my presentation was recorded and disseminated to other stakeholders in our community to represent ideas that the Art Foundation department values and to share our vision of what we do and why it matters. I am honored to have the opportunity to shape these ideas and to have them supported and shared. Without the continued encouragement of my colleagues, particularly Simone Muscolino and Jesse Payne, the impact of my ideas would not be as relevant or strong. This presentation allowed my views to be disseminated to decision makers at a very influential level. I am certain that other collaborations and opportunities will grow from this dialog with UNESCO.