A series of events highlighting the skills, experiences, and achievements of Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar) alumni, faculty, and students recently took place during Qatar Week at the parent campus VCU in Richmond, Virginia, US.
Qatar Week is an annual exchange between the VCUarts Richmond and VCUarts Qatar campuses that includes exhibitions, panel discussions, film screenings, alumni talks, student dialogues, and much more.
VCUarts Qatar is a Qatar Foundation partner university.
The Qatar Week was preceded by the 'Research Labs Exhibition' at the Anderson Gallery at VCU.
Running until October 28, the exhibition comprises works by faculty, students, and alumni and explores a broad and diverse spectrum of territories, including cultural production, nanotechnology and textiles, sound design, art and law in the gulf, product design, statistical analysis, pedagogy, Arabic typography, and emergent technology.
A reception to celebrate the exhibition was attended by Dr.
Srirama Rao, VCU’s vice president for research and innovation.
He spoke about the achievements of VCUarts Qatar’s Institute for Creative Research (ICR), officially launched in May 2022.
Also in attendance were VCUarts Qatar dean Amir Dean Berbi? and other guests from VCU, as well as members of the ICR.
“Qatar Week was an opportunity for us to illustrate to our home campus community the impact that VCU and art and design are having in Qatar, and the exciting research and incredible alumni achievements that are taking place,” said Berbi?.
“A highlight of the week was having three of our alumni travel to Richmond to present on their projects contributing to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
Aisha al-Ziani, a Qatari artist and singer, and VCUarts Qatar alumna, spoke of her contribution as a soloist in the official soundtrack of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 soundtrack, titled, ‘Hayya Hayya’,” he added.
Qatari artist Bouthayna al-Muftah, a graduate of VCUarts Qatar with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design, also spoke.
She designed the official poster for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
They were recently exhibited at the Design Museum in London.
The third alumni panelist was Fatma al-Jaidah, project director for the Corniche Activation at the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy in Qatar.
A 2007 Graphic Design gradudate, she leads the delivery of the World Cup visitor experience in collaboration with host country project teams and stakeholders.
The three alumni shared details of their involvement in the tournament, the challenges that they had to face through their journey, and their professional and personal goals that they aim to achieve by completing their missions related to FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, and the role their education in art and design at VCUarts Qatar contributed to their success.
Qatar Week also featured a Student Dialogue session, where students from both campuses engaged in presentations and discussion about art, student leadership, semester exchange and new areas of collaboration between the two campuses.
Midweek, a panel discussion was held at the Institute for Contemporary Arts (ICA) on the VCU campus, with the four directors of Tasmeem Doha, discussing the impact of the biennial from a post-pandemic perspective and the theme of Radical Futures.
Tasmeem Doha is VCUarts Qatar’s biennial international art and design conference focusing on unique and contemporary themes within art and design.
Later that evening, VCUarts dean Carmenita Higginbotham, and VCUarts Qatar dean Berbi? hosted a reception and programme at the ICA for special guests from the Pollak Society.
The programme featured video reels and film screenings, and was curated by Róisín Tapponi, an Assyrian Iraqi-Irish film curator, programmer, writer and academic based in London.
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