Tanween 2021: Ithra’s creativity season kicks off in Saudi Arabia

Featuring talks and workshops, the event will take place from October 27 to November 13

Now in its fourth year, Saudi Arabia’s Tanween has launched in Dhahran under the theme Tools: Crafting Creativity.

The creativity conference, which will take place until November 13, is run by the King Abdulaziz Centre for World Culture, also known as Ithra.

This year’s theme will delve into the creative process and how the cultural sector can contribute to the creative economy. The specific focus will be on the tools that have enabled creative production over the centuries.

“From the first stone hammer to modern-day technology, tools enable our creativity to shape our world,” Miznah AlZamil, head of innovation and creativity at Ithra, said. "From hand and head tools to digital and physical tools, and abstract and real toolsets, Tanween 2021 explores the role ‘tools’ have in our creative process and industries and [in] shaping our creativity for the future."

Since its launch in 2018, Tanween has invited key speakers to discuss a wide range of subjects, including fashion, branding, advertising and architecture. In 2019, the event drew in about 100,000 people to its lectures and workshops.

The headline speakers for 2021 include Chris Law, formerly a senior designer at Adidas; Dr Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFares, founding director of the Khatt Foundation; Sougwen Chung, an artist and researcher; and Arthur Mamou-Mani, founder of the award-winning Mamou-Mani architecture practice.

Ithra will also be unveiling findings from a comprehensive study on the cultural and creative landscape of the Middle East and North Africa, on Friday.

The three series of cultural reports includes the first Commodity Channel Index (CCI) on Saudi Arabia, conducted by research partners Economist Intelligence Unit and Boston Consulting Group. The research will be presented alongside a discussion panel with key figures from various institutions.

Over the next few weeks, Tanween will host various activities for students, young professionals in the field of visual communication, design and graphic arts, architecture and other creative industries to develop their practice. Topics will cover brand building, innovation in the tech industry, design and its evolution, and insights on sustainability, ideation, design and architecture for designers and makers.

There will also be a selection of workshops, from creating digital risographs to 3D laser scanning available to attend for visitors.

A total of four pavilions on heritage, architectural ingenuity, culture, design and innovation will host exhibitions such as Sa’af by Azaz Architects, by Shahad Alazzaz, in which the architect will highlight Saudi Arabia’s heritage, particularly from its rural villages.

There’s also House of Hairs by Eidetic Space, which looks at community bonds in Bedouin life, and Faseelah, an architectural pavilion dedicated to smart construction methodology and technique. The final pavilion is Sketch, which presents the concepts of place and space from the perspectives of artists.

Updated: October 28th 2021, 6:10 AM