Ladies of Letters
Upcoming Lecture

Ladies of Letters

Ladies of Letters
May 21, 2021 | 5 pm CEST | with Bahia Shehab, multidisciplinary artist, designer, activist and historian


Having turned to online programming due to COVID-19 in July of 2020, the Cairo-based lecture series TYPE Lab hosted “Ladies of Letters”—a four-generation program featuring women designers who have made extensive contributions to Arab type design and visual culture. The program included a presentation by historian Dr. Noha Abou Khatwa about forgotten female calligraphers and patrons from the Islamic Mamluk era, as well as presentations by thirteen female designers with ages varying between 20-60. Each of them shared their work experiences in various design disciplines, as well as the challenges they face as women working in the field. In this talk, we reflect on their stories, the digital mode of knowledge exchange and production, and its potential for history writing.

Bahia Shehab is a multidisciplinary artist, designer and art historian. She is Professor of design and founder of the graphic design program at The American University in Cairo. Her work has been exhibited in museums, galleries and streets around the world. Through investigating Islamic art history, she reinterprets contemporary Arab politics, feminist discourse and social issues. She has received a number of international recognitions and awards, which include the BBC 100 Women list, a TED Senior fellowship, and a Prince Claus Award. She is the first Arab woman to receive the UNESCO-Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture. Shehab holds a PhD from Leiden University in The Netherlands, and is the founding director of Type Lab@AUC. Her publications include You Can Crush the Flowers: A Visual Memoir of the Egyptian Revolution, At The Corner of a Dream, A Thousand Times NO: The Visual History of Lam-Alif and the co-authored book A History of Arab Graphic Design.

Register here for the Against the Grain Online Course to watch the lecture synchronously and asynchronously


This lecture is part of the Against the Grain Online Course:

April 16 | 5 pm CEST
Decolonizing Colonial Desire
with Uzma Rizvi

April 23 | 5 pm CEST
Deforestation as Epistemicide
with Franca López Barbera

April 30 | 5 pm CEST
Imperial Fevers, Invisible Lives
with Edna Bonhomme

May 7 | 5 pm CEST
The Frame of History
with Evan Nicole Brown

May 14 | 5 pm CEST
Finding Louise E. Jefferson
with Tasheka Arceneux-Sutton

May 21 | 5 pm CEST
Ladies of Letters
with Bahia Shehab

May 28 | 5 pm CEST
Salted Waters in the Whorls of Time
with Luiza Prado de O. Martins

June 4 | 5 pm CEST
Visualising the Invisible
with Sria Chatterjee