Approaching Design

Approaching Design

A two day symposium hosted here at Al Riwaq Art Space at Al - Guful. It Brought together design practitioners, with different expertise and backgrounds, alongside the relevant institutions and cultural practitioners to engage with the audience in reflective, critical and constructive dialogue around the art and design practice. Each day presented different topics and discussion.  The Symposium set was to examine existing tools, resources and practice in the lines of design and production, and explore further possibilities and potential for growth, conversation, and collaboration. Design practice in Bahrain is at the crossroads for a realistic and integrative future with unlimited possibilities. 

On Day one, Sh. Khalifa bin Ahmed Al - Khalifa, President of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities speech on Approaching Design Symposium. 

The Panel Welcome remarks by Bayan Al Barrak Kanoo, Director of Al Riwaq Art Space. 
The Majal: Moving Forward conversation about incubating design moderated by William Wells, with speakers Bayan Kanoo, Nasim Javid, Ahmed Al Zayani, Faisal Al Fadda. At Alriwaq, Majal, as a first edition and its will progretion in the future. Majal is a creative initiative launched by Al Riwaq devoted to design production, mentorship, and peer learning. Established as a pilot program in 2022 as a 12- week incubator that provided ten local designers access to resources and a meeting space to gain feedback on their work, all while pushing the theme of sustainability, The panel discussed the value of a creative initiations and Majal continuation to evolve to launch local designers regionally and internationally. 

A discussion with Tamadher Al Fahal and Sumaya Shalabi, Design education and design initiatives, and the role of Universities and education institutions in teaching design and build a strong foundation their vital role planting the seeds for success. 

Design and the Community Netaj, Made in Bahrain. Explored the intersections between design and the community, and how the two can work together can uplift each other, represented through two successful experiences from Netaj and Made in Bahrain. Moving experiences, the thought, the plans, the challenges and the ambitions behind their work, and how artists and designers can work alongside their communities.


On day two, a closer and deeper look into the experience of Bahrain’s Pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020, examining the process, production, exhibition, challenges and rewards, with a focus on the experience of representing Bahrain Internationally, integrating with the global market, and BACA’s role in supporting Bahraini designers.
Followed by the Importance of Material with Hala Kaiksow, Lulwa Al Amin, Ithraa. Designers relationship, knowledge and understanding of materials.

“Based on Al Riwaq’s vision to support the arts, and our belief in the close link between art and design, and their role in advancing society and creating wider and more creative spaces for society, our motivation came to develop initiatives that combine art and design, such as the “Majal” initiative. It is the experience that inspired a serious and deep dialogue about the capabilities and talents of artists and designers in Bahrain and the importance of finding spaces to invest in and support their growth and launch. We are very happy to host the symposium, and with the cooperation and support of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, and all the speakers and participants, from local and foreign design institutions such as the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithraa), to draw inspiration from that for more institutional cooperation for the benefit of the art sector in the Kingdom, to which we dedicate ourselves in Al Riwaq Art Space." Bayan Kanoo on Alayam news.

History, Inspiration and Identity Examining modern interpretations of cultural heritage to represent designers’ identity in their work, whilst keeping their voice, personality, and authenticity. Presenting Quby’s experience in achieving this both locally and regionally in Saudi Arabia.
Curating a Design Collection, Inspired by Local Culture. Hands on experience of creating a platform for designers to create a collection inspired by local culture in the modern context, presenting Creative Dialogue’s Mana9a experience during Dubai Expo 2020. 
The Future of Design in Bahrain. Bayan Kanoo Al Riwaq, Farah Mattar - BACA,  Faisal Al Arayedh, Tamkeen. Moderated by Dr. Tamandher Al Fahal.
This panel has addressed steps, support and creating a viable landscape for designers to work towards local production, partnerships and collaboration are essential to sustaining a growing design ecosystem.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Is the residency only for visual arts?

No, it is open to all artists from different disciplines.

How long is the residency programme?

12 working weeks, from 28 January to 28 April 2024.

Please note the residency will coincide with the holy month of Ramadan as well as the Eid Holidays. Studio opening hours will be adjusted as appropriate during that period. 

Will there be an exhibition at the end of the residency?

Yes, participants' artwork and projects will be showcased in an exhibition at the end of the residency. The exhibition concept will be formulated and developed in discussion with the artists in residence. 

The exhibition will be developed in collaboration with Al Riwaq’s curation team, led by William Wells, and will open on 25 June 2024. 

Does this programme support research residencies?

Al Riwaq is open to receiving research-based resident artists, within Application 003 or independently. 

Artists seeking the unfamiliar around the corner, are welcome to apply for a  research-driven residency that can revolve around peer-to-peer exchange, and knowledge and understanding, not just in the arts but also in society.

Is there an age restriction for the applicants?

This residency is open for all above 18 years of age.