Episode 05: Equality in Design: The need for just representation

This talk was broadcasted on the Dubai Design Week website on 14 November, Saturday 2pm and on Dubai Design Week’s YouTube Channel

This year has been historically instrumental with the uprising of public awareness against racism and all sorts of discrimination, which makes addressing the topic of just representation in the creative industries and communities a crucial and more than ever crucial subject. Continuing with the intention of addressing currently relevant and timely discussions, this panel welcomed Designer Chrissa Amuah, also founder of Africa by Design and curator of the Ghania Pavilion the London Design Biennale who offered her experience in organizing design collaboration in underrepresented communities, Designer Liyan Al Jabi from Arini Studios and their work on capacity building using design tools in formal and informal refugee camps in Amman as well Christopher Benton’s (Dubai-based artist) research work on informal and contextual design in the Satwa neighborhood in Dubai.

The talk will discuss the importance of updating design curriculums and how to change the reality remains on how the design ecosystem does not guarantee full representation of all social constituents and contributors by shedding light on under-represented and marginalized communities and hear from them, in order to start adopting real inclusive approaches by rethinking current systems and processes.

Speaker Biographies

Chrissa Amuah
Chrissa Amuah is the Founder and Creative Director of AMWA Designs, an Adinkra-inspired luxury homeware and interiors brand. She is an MA graduate from the world-renowned Chelsea College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London. In 2917, she established AFRICA BY DESIGN; a concept of love intended to showcase and celebrate the best of Afrifa’s design talent. AFRICA BY DESIGN has exhibited in five cities across four continents. 2021 will see the launch of her collection with multi award winning, Bernhardt Design – one of America’s largest and most highly reputed textile and furniture manufacturers.

Liyan Jabi
Liyan Al Jabi is an architect, researcher and curator that is constantly exploring the notion of multi-disciplinary design for social change and its application on communities as a tool for change to re-imagine and re-make especially in marginalized neighborhoods in Jordan. Liyan co-founded arini.org in 2011, a research led design practice that work on the intersection of scholarly research that focused on the predicaments of urbanization and the built environment, in addition to design activism and architectural pedagogy. We continue to explore this through various mediums from workshops, design and curatorial projects.

Christopher Benton
Christopher Benton (b. 1988, US) is a Dubai-based artist and advertising creative director working across photography, film, and installation art. His practice explores the narratives of black and brown people, through its interface with labor and the hypnotic power of the mediated image. Past work has been presented at Alserkal Avenue, the Fikra Graphic Design Biennial, Jameel Arts Centre, and the Dubai Design District.

Moderated by Ghassan Salameh