Tanween Begins

Ithra’s Fourth Tanween season explores ‘Tools’ that shape creativity for the future

King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture kicks off with virtual and physical events.

Ithra’s Fourth Tanween season explores ‘Tools’ that shape creativity for the future


The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) launched the fourth edition of its flagship Tanween creativity season. Held under the theme “Tools: Crafting Creativity,” the event features high-profile speakers and a series of targeted workshops and masterclasses through Saturday, Nov. 13, and is designed to celebrate, explore and inspire the creative process. 


Underscoring Ithra’s goal of supporting and developing the region’s creative industries, a key highlight will be the unveiling of the results of one of the most comprehensive studies mapping the cultural and creative landscape of the Middle East and North Africa, including rare insights into the Saudi cultural pulse.


“Since its inception, Ithra has positively disrupted the scene in culture, art, knowledge, creativity and community,” said Ashraf Fagih, head of Programs at Ithra. 


Ithra’s Tanween by the Numbers
Since launching in 2018, Tanween has welcomed more than 165,000 visitors and over 75,000 participants, hosted 103 speakers, delivered 107 workshops, 26 exhibits or installations and 52 live performances. For more information on Tanween and Ithra’s regular programs, visit www.ithra.com.


Through the annual creativity season, Tanween, a cultural catalyst and global gateway, it has succeeded in creating an unprecedented ecosystem that embodies Ithra’s five pillars, while offering unique experiences to the public and to creative professionals.
— Ashraf Fagih

Tools explore the creative process, industries

Miznah Alzamil, head of Innovation and Creativity at Ithra explained, Like “Disruption”, “Play” and “The New Next” before it, the “Tools” theme will explore an aspect of the creative process and tap into how cultural and creative industries continue to innovate and steer the future of the creative economy – highlighting the tools at their disposal. 


“Tanween 2021 empowers the creative industries through exploring the innovative use of tools and identifying new opportunities presented by adopting and developing new toolsets,” said Alzamil. “From the first stone hammer to modern-day technology, tools enable our creativity to shape our world. 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 shaping our creativity for the future.”


From its launch in 2018 Tanween has connected change-making creatives and innovators with global subject matter experts in an inspiration-fueled environment to nurture creative potential, share ideas and redefine what creativity means in a changing world. It offers a platform for them to connect with curious learners, aspiring creatives and professionals across all levels and industries to unlock creative potential.  


This year’s headline speakers include former Adidas senior design director Chris Law; founding director of the Khatt Foundation Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFarès; international contemporary artist and researcher Sougwen Chung; and Arthur Mamou-Mani, founder of the award-winning Mamou-Mani Architecture practice.

Tracks and programs

The main tracks and programs featured during Tanween include: 

Emerging Creatives (completed) — Final-year students, recent graduates or early careerists can learn to polish their personal brand, practice their pitch and build their network to support building their Creative Career


Creative Economy — New Tools and New Opportunities (completed) --Risk-taking creatives and change-making innovators take participants through the tools and technologies revolutionizing the industry


Graphics and Communication — Analog First — (Nov. 5 and 6) A must-attend event of the year for visual communicators, designers, and graphic artists to explore how the evolving role of design creates impact on both business and culture 


Architecture and Products — Designer and a Maker — (Nov. 12 and 13) Insights on the role of tools in sustainability, ideation and creativity in design and architecture, and Your Future in Design, a partnership with the Saudi X Design initiative to provide a new platform of resources for emerging creatives. 


Tanween 2021 also presents a series of workshops that are not to be missed.


The Personal Productivity Toolkit (bridging the gap between ideation and execution), The Professional Starter Kit, Design Plastic Product (transform, reuse and process plastic to create new products), Digital Risograph (learn how to get their files ready for print), 3-D Laser Scanning (illustrating a c digital workflow for 3D data processing), and Folding Structures: Satellites to Shoes (use of contemporary origami in design, art, architecture and engineering), and many more. 


Furthermore, visitors can explore four pavilions focused on heritage, architectural ingenuity, culture, design and innovation. In Sa’af by Shahad Alazzaz, the architect brings the Kingdom’s heritage to the forefront, weaving in the history of Saudi’s rural villages. House of Hairs by Eidetic Space offers a journey through tradition and culture, evoking a timeless significance tied to Bedouin life and their deep sense of community. Faseelah is a Tanween Challenge architectural pavilion showcasing smart construction methodology and technique. Sketch, meanwhile, welcomes visitors into an exploratory environment analyzing concepts of place and space through artists’ words and thoughts illustrated across a massive canvas. 


Visitors and participants can also look forward to a series of meet-ups, social events and performances. 


Key cultural reports

As part of Tanween, Ithra also launched three series cultural reports, including the first CCI Index on Saudi Arabia, with a discussion panel featuring key cultural representatives from renowned institutions. They will discuss the commissioned cultural reports that was led by Ithra in collaboration with research partners Economist Intelligence Unit and Boston Consulting Group. 


The study explores the evolution of culture in the Kingdom, and regionally within a global context, and includes a very special report on the impact of COVID-19 on this industry. 


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