ADA-CMD SYMPOSIUM | Curating Culture: Perspectives on Architecture, Design and Art

Date: January 18, 2019

Time: 10:00 AM-5:00 PM

Venue: H. M. Habib Auditorium, Habib University

From the sinuous Seine to the raging Bosphorus, from the beaches of Beirut to the sandy shores of Karachi: Curating Cultures weaves together innovators from across the world. In collaboration with the ADA, this symposium explores the synergy of architecture, design and art that permeates our cities, lives and histories.

Navigating then and now, these conversations will include explorations into creative practices in a postcolonial landscape, the blurring line between studio and street, and the increasingly interdisciplinary approach undertaken today.

This symposium is a conduit for an international spectrum of visionaries, each working through their own regional lens yet with an eye for transnational understanding and collaboration.

The three categories include Creative Processes, Interdisciplinary Practices and Practices from the Region.

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Session 01 | Creative Processes

10.10 AM - 11.30 AM

The Creative Process: A Crystal-Clear Enigma

Javed Jabbar

Creative process is complex and chaotic, controlled and contradictory. The chemistry of the process eludes clinical analysis. All of one's life, particularly those aspects shared with other human beings, requires creativity that includes, but does not exclusively limit itself to devising content for different media.

There are four stages to the process. A preparatory phase without a clear start or a firm finish; the actual nuts and bolts of producing content; a brief or prolonged self-review; and after-thoughts, before releasing a completed unit. Then the difference between willed creativity and spontaneous, erratic creativity; one to be produced as per demand and deadline, as in advertising whose products and services cannot wait for the bulb to light up and the other revealed when the mood drives the hand.

Join us as Jabbar talks about the ebbs and flows of creativity that permeate the vividly different cultures, politics and parliament, remote villages, small towns and cities across the country's landscape.

Architect to Activist: Designing a Future in Tehran

Zahra Taraneh Yalda

What happens when you pass from an Architect-Planner to a Social activist?

Yalda has been working in Iran for over 35 years as a consultant and co-producer in the field of Architecture, Urban and Regional Planning and Design. An active voice in the press and academia, having spent years writing on city change and planning, Yalda made an official leap from architect to activist by running for the City Council Elections in 2017.

Despite not being elected, Yalda has remained a pioneering force in the public realm and works closely with an international group of 1400 architects, planners, urban designers, sociologists, lawyers, economists and students. Together they talk freely about the fate of their city: online, in person and through group tours around the city. Helped by members of the City Council; friends in the municipality, the Ministry and press; this talk will discuss the unique and exciting journey of laying unprecedented public claim to all the main problems of their city: Tehran.

The Scent of Trace

Gonca Pasolar - EAA-Emre Arolat Architecture

EAA - Emre Arolat Architecture was founded in 2004 as the continuation of Emre’s architectural career since the late 80s and continues its practice at the offices in New York, London and Istanbul, with a wide range of work, from urban master plans, airports, to residential, cultural buildings and workplaces.

Design process is mostly driven by a primacy to the relationship between the built and natural environment, the legacy of a local culture and the invaluable lessons of knowledge and experience accompanied by an approach based on intuitive thinking and passion. For EAA, every new project represents a journey of understanding the context, imagination and a great enthusiasm for creative experimentation. Each time, there are deliberations at length on notions of region, area, local patterns, cultural and physical resources. A multilayered effort at reading, researching and understanding is undertaken in order to reveal the collective and psychological features of the project, including social, economic and ideological factors.

It is important to identify the specific questions of each project and individual situation, to analyze special conditions and to search for responses with a multilayered description of the given situation. It’s an educational process of deep analysis; an attempt to feel the “scent of the trace.”

Session 02 | Interdisciplinary Practices

12.00 PM - 1.30 PM

Unfolding Pavilion: A Critical Spatial Practice (Quite Unexpectedly)

Davide Tommaso Ferrando

The Unfolding Pavilion is an unsolicited, independent curatorial project, which pops up at the Venice Architecture Biennale, inside of previously inaccessible but architecturally significant buildings. In its first two iterations, the Unfolding Pavilion has entered two iconic examples of twentieth-century Venetian architecture: Ignazio Gardella’s Casa alle Zattere and Gino Valle’s Giudecca Social Housing. In each occasion, the Unfolding Pavillion transforms its chosen site into a public exhibition venue adapted to the the intricacies and distinguishing features of its temporary space.

This talk will address how the Unfolding Pavilion problematizes traditional notions of exhibition and curatorship in the field of architecture. How does it critique the dynamics that encompass cultural events such as the Biennale? Finally, by means of the dialectics established between its short offline existence, and its permanent online presence, the Unfolding Pavilion questions what the real space of exhibitions is today.

Poster for Tomorrow

Hervé Matine

Launched in 2009, posterfortomorrow is a global initiative that encourages communication, freedom of expression, debate and mutual understanding on some of the most pressing concerns humanity faces together. Ten years later, we have established a large community of designers who are now actively involved in social design. We have hosted discussions, exhibitions and workshops across the world. From African indigenous art to Mughal miniatures; Persian calligraphy to Nicaraguan icons and Mayan symbolism; graffiti and classroom doodles: visual communication has brought us closer to understanding and recognizing our universal rights. Together we have explored how different technical approaches, media, languages and disciplines unite to foster a spirit of cultural affinity, critical thinking and mutual understanding.

Reflections on Creating Institutions of Higher Education in a Post-colonial Era

Sajida Haider Vandal

Considerable research has gone into understanding the colonial enterprise of art education in the subcontinent, though there remains a need to consider its long lasting impact. Especially given that arts schools being set up across the country today are modelled off institutions set up by the British, including Lahore’s Mayo School of Art and its successor, the National College of Arts. Accordingly, I intend to anchor my presentation in these happenings of the colonial period, which witnessed a colonial revision of the schooling system that laid the groundwork for formal art education.

It is difficult, however, to imagine that the realities of a colonial set up of the 19th century could be juxtaposed on the post-colonial realities of today. This talk will, therefore, also refer to the Institute for Art and Culture as a higher educational institution for the arts and culture that has developed keeping in mind the vast and rapid changes of the 21st century. IAC’s new educational model will be discussed in light of the integration of art education with culture, languages, the social sciences and humanities.

Students no longer emerge from the traditional spaces of studios as blank sheets but have already picked up the strands of knowledge from their paths of exploration and discovery. The approach and attitude of the university towards this new education environment, and its role in learning and society, could be the platform that enables students to weave the strands of their primordial past to their presence in the subcontinent today.

Session 03 | Practices from the Region

2.30 PM - 4.00 PM

Opportunity, Diversity and Chance: Art in Pakistan’s Changing Landscape

Salima Hashmi

The diversity and depth of art-making in Pakistan was evident in the two inaugural biennales held in Karachi and Lahore in 2017. The validity of art-making as a vital facet of contemporary Pakistani culture was reinforced, at least in these urban centres.

The rationale of new critical practices stems from expanding mechanisms of opportunity and access for would-be artists, and the entry of global patronage and virtual platforms via the internet. The dispersal of art teachers to smaller 'centres' has instigated a mushrooming of visual expression, while political tensions in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have brought aspirants to Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore in growing numbers. Public art has drawn together artists, academia and activists, while curatorial practices have united cultural anthropologists, writers, art historians and practitioners in unexpected ways.

The visual presentation will dwell on and summarise some of these discernible tracks and attempt to explore the compulsions shaping recent art practices.

Design: Visualising Change

Joumana Ibrahim

Data Visualisation is a form of storytelling, which transforms numbers, surveys and words into vibrant visuals that compel, inform and preserve. It is a field of growing import in an increasingly connected world, where power, the flow of information and privacy have become inextricably linked. This presentation will explore data visualisation alongside other fields of graphic design, through discussions on design aesthetics, techniques and forms. Ibrahim will also address design education, through her work at the Lebanese American University in Beirut, and her students who have presented winning projects at the Dubai Lynx. Against the backdrop of continuing debates on representation and design, Ibrahim will consider how design for social change can lead to exciting ways for creators to change the world.

Shifting Sands – Shifting Centres

Savita Apte

Contemporary art from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, the region often described as MENASA has been deemed to be born out of a radical break with historical tradition, an orphan concept, freed from the nuances of local culture and mediated by an international coterie of museum curators. In no small part, this misreading has been exacerbated by the new cultural centres of Dubai, Doha and Abu Dhabi

Focussing on the discernible trends throughout the region, The Abraaj Group Art Prize, permits an insight into a decade of shifts in the approach to art production and its reception as well as the rupture between centres of art production and centres of art mediation.

This presentation will be a visually annotated journey through a decade of art production in the MENASA region looking at the strategies employed by artists to create art that was accessible to an international audience whilst being rooted firmly in local concerns.


Javed Jabbar

A prolific writer for screen and paper, advertiser, filmmaker and former politician—has wielded, channeled and fallen victim to creativity all his life. Join as he talks about the ebbs and flows of creativity that permeate the vividly different cultures, politics and parliament, remote villages, small towns and cities across the country's landscape.

Senator (R) Javed Jabbar has diverse experience in writing, film-making, public affairs, voluntary work in grass-roots development and welfare organizations and international affairs.

He has served as an elected Member of the Senate of Pakistan as well as in the Senate Forum for Policy Research. He has been Minister in three Federal Cabinets and headed the Ministries of Information and Broadcasting, Science and Technology, Petroleum and Natural Resources, and has also worked as Adviser on National Affairs to the Chief Executive of Pakistan. One of several policy reforms he introduced as Minister was to draft the law to introduce independent, private TV and radio channels and to enable Freedom of Information.

During his 25-year association with the advertising sector, he created some of the most innovative, trend-setting campaigns, mentored hundreds of young advertising and marketing practitioners and contributed to the formation of new institutions in Asia and in Pakistan. He was Chairman of the Jury for the first PAS Awards and the Pakistan Advertisers' Society presented him with its first Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015. The Human Rights Society of Pakistan, Lahore has presented him with a Gold Medal for outstanding public service.

Film commercials, documentaries and cinema films written, directed and/or produced by him have won several global, regional and national awards for excellence.

His fifteenth book, " Pathways --selected writings " won the UBL Literature Prize 2017 for the Best English non-fiction Book at the 9th Karachi Literature Festival in 2018. Since August 2017, he presents the weekly radio programme on history and current affairs in Urdu every Friday at 8 pm on the FM 105 network titled: " Friday evening with Javed Jabbar ".

Savita Apte

Savita Apte is an art historian whose forte is Modern and Contemporary art from South Asia. A Museums and Institutions Consultant, she is a founder-director of Art Dubai, Associate of Serpentine Gallery for Indian Highway, and sits on the advisory boards of the Asia Art Archive, AlSerkal Avenue, Sovereign Art Fund and Para Site. Apte formulated The Abraaj Group Art Prize in 2009, which helped focus international attention on art production, curation and art writing from the MENASA region. Until 2016 she served as the Chair of the Prize overseeing the commissions whilst also expanding and documenting the corporate collection. She co- founded Asal Partners and Platform Projects, each of which advanced research based art and its audiences. Apte began her career at Sotheby’s and has been instrumental in setting up the Sotheby’s Prize for contemporary Indian art.

Davide Tommaso Ferrando

Davide Tommaso Ferrando is an architecture critic and researcher from Italy. He has a Master’s degree in Advanced Architectural Design, and a Doctorate in Architecture and Building Design. His interests lie in studying the points of convergence for architecture, city and media. Currently, he is Post-Doc University Assistant in the Department of Architectural Theory and History at the University of Innsbruck. Tommasso in 2018, is also the curator at Venice Biennale of Architecture; the “Unfolding Pavilion: Little Italy” exhibition and symposium which he co-curates with Daniel Tudor Munteanu and Sara Favargiotti. He is the editor of several publications and his work is published in accredited international journals and magazines. In 2018 he published his first monographic book: The City in the Image. He is the director of 011+ and vide-director of Viceversa.

Salima Hashmi

Salima Hashmi is an artist, curator and contemporary art historian from Pakistan. Professor Hashmi was the founding Dean of the Mariam Dawood School of Visual Art and Design at Beaconhouse National University, Lahore. She was Professor of Fine Art at National College of Arts [NCA] Lahore and was also Principal of the College. She curated the critically acclaimed exhibition titled ‘This Night-Bitten Dawn’ hosted by Gujral Foundation and the Devi Art Foundation in Delhi, which opened on the occasion of the Delhi Art Fair, 2016. She has recently curated a group show of Indian and Pakistani artists ‘Pale Sentinels’ at Aicon Gallery, New York. Government of Pakistan awarded her the President's Medal for Pride of Performance for Art Education in 1999. The Australian Council of Art and Design Schools (ACUADS) nominated her as Inaugural International Fellow, for distinguished service to art and design education in 2011. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Bath Spa University in 2016. She was awarded with title of Professor Emeritus from BOG Beaconhouse National University on the occasion of 12th convocation in 2017.

Joumana Ibrahim

Joumana Ibrahim joins the ADA Awards jury from Lebanon, where she is a graphic design instructor at the Lebanese American University. She is also a freelance designer, working with a range of global and multilateral organizations and private companies. Joumana holds an MA in Graphic Design from the London College of Communication in which she focused on information design. Her work as a designer and as an educator revolves around information and social design, and on the best ways to help clients and students communicate and engage with the world around them.

She has been involved in delivering workshops and seminars as part of Beirut Design Week since its inception in 2011, and now serves on the board of the MENA Design Research Centre. She has also led several workshops in Lebanon and abroad including most recently in Oman and UAE, as part of Dubai Design Week.

Before moving to work full time in education, Ibrahim worked as an art director at Leo Burnett Beirut, serving a wide range of leading Middle Eastern and global brands, and winning a number of regional and international awards.

Herve Matine

Herve Matine joins from Paris. He is the founder of HM Studio; a Graphic Design Agency in 1993, then became co-founder and general manager of Genie Interactif Communication Agency from 1996 to 2006.

In 2000, Hervé Matine initiated Mediavillage, the first co-working space, offering freelancers, communication and web agencies a high tech, plug and play open space office of 1600m2 in heart of Paris. From 2002 to 2008 he curated several exhibitions and hosted 2002 Greenpeace auction against global warming.

President of 4 Tomorrow Association, he is the founder of Poster for Tomorrow, an international project whose goal is to encourage people, both in and outside the design community, to make posters to stimulate debate on issues that affect us all. For 10 years, several editions of poster for tomorrow were under patronage of Council of Europe and French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is endorsed by charities such as Amnesty, Reporters Without Borders, FIDH, and collaborated with different department of United Nations.

Gonca Paşolar

Gonca Paşolar has been working with Emre Arolat Architecture as founding partner and senior architect since April 2004. She received her B.Arch degree in 1996 and M.Arch degree in 1999 from Middle East Technical University. She worked in Ankara between 1997-1998 and in Istanbul between 2000-2001 at two different offices. She then started working at Arolat Architects in 2002 before starting their own practice with Emre Arolat.

She has participated in various national and international conferences, seminars and juries; some of them are: 2014, Jury Member at Lapseki Municipality Office Building Design Competition in Çanakkale, 2012 Symposium of ACO in Rendsburg Germany, 2012 9 Eylül University Faculty of Architecture Jury Member at Graduation Project in Izmir, 2009 Boğaziçi University, “Project Management” Seminar in Istanbul.

Gonca received Europe 40 Under 40 Awards, given to the best young architects of Europe under the age of 40 in 2010 and was one of the 5 shortlisted candidates who was nominated for AJ’s Women Architects of the Year in 2015.

Gonca has led many projects, listed below, in EAA as the project responsible and team leader. Since 2014, as the Chief Operating Officer of EAA, in charge of the three offices in New York, London and Istanbul. She is responsible for the General Coordination, Process Management and QA/QC processes of all projects as well as the management and delivery procedures in accordance with the agreements. Proposal and Contract Management is another responsibility she handles together with all administrative affairs in EAA.

The practice opened their London Office in 2014 and New York Office in 2017. With Emre Arolat, she performed as Norman R. Foster Visiting Professor at Yale School of Architecture.

Sajida Vandal

Prof. Sajida Haider Vandal, the Vice Chancellor designate of the forthcoming Institute of Culture and Art, and the former Principal of the National College of Arts, Lahore is an Architect, Educationist, a Rights Activist and the CEO of THAAP, a SECP registered Section 42 Company. She is an alumnus of the University of New South Wales, Australia (Masters of the Built Environment 1984) and the University of Engineering & Technology, Lahore, Pakistan. (B.Arch 1970).

As principal associate of PV & Associates, Prof. Vandal’s architectural works include the Mira Phailbus Center at Kinnaird College, Lahore, the Comsats Institute of Information Technology Campus at Lahore, Sacred Heart School Senior’s Academic Block, Lahore, Punjab College Jhang and others. She has been involved in many heritage conservation projects including the Management Plans and Conservation of Structures in the World Heritage Site at Lahore (Lahore Fort & Shalimar Gardens) She has also been consultant to the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, UNESCO, and the Norwegian government on several of their initiatives and programs in Pakistan and the region. The firm was recognized through the Commonwealth Association of Architects Robert Matthew Award 2016, jointly awarded to M/S Pervaiz Vandal & Associates & M/S Grimshaw Architects UK.

Sajida Vandal is responsible for the Culture and Development Program of THAAP, where her work focuses on Safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Pakistani communities. She is designated as an ICH expert by UNESCO and works in capacity building initiatives of the organization in the Asia-Pacific region. She also has numerous publications to her credit including the seminal books The Raj, Lahore, and Bhai Ram Singh and Cultural Expressions of South Punjab.

Zahra Taraneh

Zahra Taraneh Yalda has been working in Iran for over 35 years, in the field of Architecture, Urban and Regional Planning and Design. Her claim to fame is the City Master plan for the cities of Mashad (1985-6), Susa (1983), Yazd, Kerman, Tabas, and many other Iranian cities, and finally The Master Strategic Plan for Tehran, from 2004 to 2012. Taraneh in the recent years is known for her Social activism and consultancy for the City of Tehran, as the head of an influent social virtual group that comprises of Artists, Architects and planners, other specialists and academia. She champions the cause “We are trying to convince the City of Tehran to change its attitudes towards a better life style for all social groups living in Greater Tehran”. Taraneh is loved by the media; locally and internationally. She is a prolific writer herself and has been published in various architectural magazines and dailies. She has also translated the book The Invisible Cities by Calvino in Persian language.


Shahid Sayeed Khan

Shahid Sayeed is an architect, who works in Rural Development along the coast of Pakistan parallel to the generic practice of an architect in Karachi. He established IET – Indus Earth Trust, with the vision of helping the underprivileged build better lives. Qualified as an Environmental Architect in the UK, he pursued private practice in Scotland for 18 years. Shahid further studied building techniques in France (CRATerre) and Japan (Tokyo University). He has been a consultant to the World Bank on projects in Afghanistan-Renewable Energies, Ethiopia-Water/land management, and Yemen-Livelihood Options. He has over 40 years of experience in Architecture and Rural Development. He has been working in Pakistan since the early 1990s.

Shahid Sayeed Khan is also an academic who has taught at Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Karachi University and Habib University. He has led many research programs and workshops in mud resilient architecture.

Saima Zaidi

Saima Zaidi, a Communication Designer, is currently Professor of Practice in the Department of Communication and Design as well as Director of the Center for Media and Design at Habib University, Karachi. She is a core team member of Numaish-Karachi, an award-winning interdisciplinary collective which opens public spaces of the city for cultural production–an open-air gallery, laboratory and playground.

Zaidi has researched, edited and designed the book ‘Mazaar, Bazaar: Design and Visual Culture in Pakistan’ published by Oxford University Press, Karachi, in collaboration with the Prince Claus Fund Library, Amsterdam.

She received her undergraduate degree from the National College of Arts, Lahore, and her Masters from the Pratt Institute, New York.


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Location Map

The symposium will be held at

H.M Habib Auditorium