This on-site roundtable discusses experiences, methodologies, and positionalities exploring themes of transnational identities beyond the Western canon.
Designers and researchers Naïma Ben Ayed, Farah Hallaba, Imad Gebrayel, Iskander Guetta, Sabah ElHadid, and Nadia Mounier share how they negotiate against the reduction of SWANA identities in their work: from unpacking collective stories of Egyptians in the Gulf, running a podcast exploring Arab-migrant voices in Berlin, and exhibiting photographic archival work in a Cairene context, to interrogating meme culture during the early days of Covid-19, proposing a passionate curriculum for studying multiscript type design, and rattling the Western hold on product design practices.
“For Us, With Us, By Us—لنا، عنّا، معنا” is a series of conversations run by a team of SWANA (South West Asia and North Africa) designers, practitioners, educators, and researchers that centers the voices of cultural practitioners, exploring themes of transnational identities beyond the Western canon. The program aims to promote an active exchange between Arab cultural workers and their Swiss-based counterparts.
This free event takes place at Startup Haus Cairo, 37 Talaat Harb Bab Al Louq, Cairo Governorate 4280170 Egypt
Naïma Ben Ayed is an independent type and graphic designer from France, based in London, UK. Her work with different foundries and individuals in the art and cultural sector ranges from designing retail and custom Arabic and Latin typefaces to creating visual identities. Her approach to design is telling stories with letters.
Farah Hallaba is a social anthropologist and visual ethnographer. In 2019, she started @anthropology–bel3araby انثروبولوجي بالعربي, aiming to publicize anthropology in an accessible way and in Arabic. Through online videos and collaborative workshops, her work addresses topics around social class and migration to the Gulf.
Imad Gebrayel is a Lebanese designer, lecturer, and researcher. He is currently undertaking ethnographic research on the negotiations of Arab-Arab identifications in Sonnenallee-Berlin, as part of his Ph.D. project at the Humboldt Universitv of Berlin.
Iskander Guetta is a designer, mostly based in Lausanne, Switzerland. Practicing between design, research and activism, his work focuses on the intersecting issues of ecology and decolonization. He works as a fellow designer at the SELCO Foundation in Bangalore.
Sabah Elhadid is an interdisciplinary artist, independent researcher, and graphic designer based in Cairo, Egypt. Her work focuses on the intersection of archives, data visualization, print, and physical interactive installations, speculating alternative future scenarios to inspire the potential of change.
Nadia Mounier is a visual artist working with photography and video. She is part of various art collectives that are interested in the city, image production, motherhood, and politics of representation. Currently, She is co-managing the Arts and Culture program at The Arab Digital Expression Foundation.
For Us, With Us, By Us
This program is a collaboration between For Us, With Us, By Us—لنا، عنّا، معنا (Mayar El Bakry, Noureldin Ahmed, Randa Hadi, Sherine Salla, Nada Ezzeldin, and Sohaila Khaled), Archief Cairo, cifrcifrcifr, and Futuress.
Archief Cairo is a multilingual lab for research, preservation and communication in Egypt. Their interest lies in researching, documenting, and understanding the visual/ aesthetic fabric of the city.
Cifrcifrcifr is an independent artistic research practice, working to create instances (virtual or physical) to collectively learn and unlearn, question the status quo and initiate critical conversations with, and about, their surroundings.
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