The UNESCO DigiArts Team organized an experts meeting on the evaluation and stocktaking of the Masters Module on Art, Design and Technology in the Arab States on 9 April 2006, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates at the Kitabat: Arabic Calligraphy and Typography Conference. Twenty one students completed the online part of the module and submitted project proposals in applying their newly acquainted skills in creative thinking, writing and design.
Online teachers expressed their surprise in the success of the course and complemented the enthusiasm of the students, but also the quality of the visual material that was produced. The online environment managed and hosted by the MediaLab in Helsinki, permitted not only an in-depth exchange of ideas and documentation on the visual environment in the Arab States but dialogue among students also served as motivation to create artworks reflecting their rich cultural environment. The online course material included Arabic typography and design culture, Typographic Landscape in the Arab world, and the introduction to Art and New Media in the Arab States, with a case-study of Lebanon.
The experts meeting permitted furthermore the organizers to finalize the logistics for the second part of the online and face-to-face Masters module ‘Digital imaging in art and design’, to take place at ALBA (Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts), AUB (American University of Beirut) and LAU (Lebanese American University) starting from 26 June 2006. Fourteen students from 5 countries in the Arab States with different academic backgrounds were selected to participate in the second module.
Lastly, next steps were discussed in expanding the network of universities in the region involved in Art, Design and Technology and promoting the masters initiative within the Arab States.
The American University in Dubai is thanked for their hospitality in organizing the intervention of DigiArts in the Kitabat: Arabic Calligraphy and Typography Conference and the logistical support provided for the Experts Meeting. The Conference is an example of the growing demand of interest in Arabic calligraphy and typographic design in the region and the need to map a future for the Arabic script that is fully engaged with both the latest technologies and knowledge of its rich past.
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