Dubai Design Week

Banafsajeel’s talk and workshop in Dubai Design week




Emerging designers in the region are engaging with traditional heritage in new ways. The Human-Centred Design method has been used by Banafsajeel (a curatorial platform) and 1971 (new design space in Sharjah) to better understand this creative movement and to facilitate it moving forward. Project leaders, Noor AlDabbagh and Dana Al Sadek, shed light on ways that traditional heritage is getting reinvented in the Gulf, and showcased two local examples with different perspectives.

This talk was preceded by a hands-on workshop where 38 participants learned the HCD method for themselves.

Noor AlDabbagh, Founder of Banafsajeel
Dana AlSadek, Public Programme Manager at the Maraya Art Centre and 1971 Design Space
Zainab Al Hashemi, Conceptual Artist
Hamad Khoory, Architect and partner in Loci Architecture & Design

Noor AlDabbagh is the founder of Banafsajeel, a curatorial platform that engages artists and designers through collaborative projects and creative learning experiences. She graduated from Harvard with an honors degree in Visual Studies and obtained her MA in Art Business from the Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London. Banafsajeel’s theme for this year is Reinventing Heritage, focusing on designers drawing inspiration from traditions in the Gulf.

Dana AlSadek is Public Programme Manager at the Maraya Art Centre and 1971 Design Space. She works alongside guest curators, artists, filmmakers and arts educators on curating contemporary exhibitions and public programmes. She holds an MA in Law, Development and Globalisation from SOAS in London and a BA in Business Administration from the American University of Beirut. Dana is also the organiser of Pecha Kucha Nights Sharjah, a member of Global Shapers Dubai Hub and co-founder of Reel Palestine, a Palestinian pop-up film festival.

Zainab Al hashemi is a Dubai-based conceptual artist focusing on what she calls ‘construction design art’. She employs design solutions in her work, such as in her truss.t installation featured this year in Dubai Design Week. Zeinab completed a residency at the Delfina Foundation in London this past summer, and has participated in previous years in a number of locally based programmes such as A.i.R Dubai 2012.  She obtained her BA in Multimedia Design at Zayed University, and since then has exhibited her work in Dubai, Sharjah, Beijing and Washington DC.  

Hamad Khoory is an architect and partner at the Dubai-based studio Loci Architecture + Design, who designed the ‘Abwab’ pavilions at Dubai Design Week this year. Hamad completed his BA in architecture (BArch ’08) and his Masters in architecture degree with a concentration in design & research (MArch ’09) both at the Wentworth Institute of Technology, between Boston-USA & Berlin-Germany. His experience in multinational companies includes W.S Atkins and RMJM as well as Ruy Ohtake Arquitetura e Urbanismo in Sao Paulo, Brazil.



Human-Centred Design (HCD) is a creative approach to problem-solving that focuses on the people designers are designing for, and that results in tailor-made solutions based on people’s needs. Participants in this workshop learned the basics of HCD, to help in their own organisation, project or field. In this fun, fast-paced crash course they did the HCD process, in order to consider applying it to their own projects or organisations. This workshop was followed by a public talk presenting a case study on utilising HCD to benefit emerging designers in the Gulf: the Reinventing Heritage project by Banafsajeel.

Led by Banafsajeel and Global Teams
Beth Yoder is managing partner at Global Teams, based in Dubai and operating globally. She has been facilitating engaging and creative intercultural learning and development for individuals and organizations for almost 20 years. She completed her MA in Intercultural Relations and has been a returning fellow at the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication since 2005.