The Power of Stories
The final thesis work of students shine light on the educational practices followed by educators; and going by the design solutions from VCUarts Qatar, students seem to be encouraged to preserve a questioning mind that present thought-provoking answers. SCALE looks at the thesis works of two students from the MFA in Design programme that are dipped in traditions yet explore technology to make the stories relevant in the future.
Master of Fine Arts students
VCUarts Qatar is providing the public with the opportunity to view the work of the university’s Class of 2020 students, through a website that gives a glimpse into the stimulating themes hand-picked by the students. “We were thrilled with the expansive areas of interest and contemplation that were explored in this collection, some on issues that profoundly affect society and others from a more playful, light perspective,” says Rab McClure, Director, MFA in Design, who stresses on the value of collaboration during such unprecedented times as he wonders about the change this new outbreak might usher in for design. He says, “This experience underscores the value of collaboration, communication and clear design documentation. If I’ve drawn or prototyped my idea carefully, I can explain it, solicit feedback, collect ideas for improvement, invite expert opinion from artisans and makers with insight gained from deep experience. Our opportunity, educationally, is to communicate with students about design in a virtual setting, in ways that are as effective, direct and engaging as sketching and sitting side-by-side in the studio. If we do our jobs well, we are teaching students to interact in ways that will make trans-global project collaborations second nature.”
SCALE looks at two more projects from the Masters programme.( An earlier project was also featured.)
Language to Connect – ABIR ZAKZOK
Abir in her final year thesis for the Masters of Fine Arts in Design looks at the strong connect that Arabs have towards their language and the ensuing disagreement with the various linguistic connotations. In her thesis, she tries to uncover behaviors and connections with the language by taking a critical design approach using interactive design. Her fascination for the Arabic language mainly stemmed from observing Arab’s behavior towards it, be it while it’s dealing with family at home or customers in design stores.
“Arabs have an immense pride and attachment to their language; my interest is the relationship between a language and its speakers and how to translate that into design.In my thesis, I’m proposing designs that utilize the Arabic language go beyond aesthetics such as the beautiful famous calligraphy and explore other themes such as linguistics and behaviour,” she says.
The Memory of Rituals – REEMA ABU HASSAN
Displaced Palestinians have always held on to their Palestinian memories and identities in order to remain connected to their lost homeland. According to Reema, even though memory serves as an important tool of connect added to their years of suffering and exile, there is no monument that is designed as a collective memory.
“The objective of this research is to monumentalise rituals that Palestinian families have developed—throughout the diaspora, worldwide—which help them cherish and maintain connections to their ancestral homeland. The four rituals that I have monumentalised are inspired by four unique stories. Each of the four projects celebrates the memory-triggering power of scent, the shared comfort of inherited ritual, and the singular magnetism of the family matriarch. The four rituals are making maamoul, applying orange and mashmoom perfume oil to hair, pouring Palestinian olive oil and dispersing sage tea leaves within a family. The rituals elicit memories and narratives of Palestine,” explains Reem.
The embrace of history, land and ancestors’ form the foundation of many innovations within the University while collaborations and technology give the skills acquired by the students the advantage of remaining relevant through times to come.