Ithra’s Tanween Conference 2023 set to ‘Scale’ up design, creativity, and innovation
First-ever Mega Challenge targets real-world solutions supporting refugee relief.
Dhahran is set to take center stage in the design world during Nov. 1-4 as thought leaders, cutting-edge brands, industry experts, students, and professionals spanning architecture, graphic design, fashion, digital media, and product design descend on King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) for the sixth edition of Tanween, an annual event that promotes creativity, design, innovation and cultural exchange.
Tanween is the largest creativity platform in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia designed to celebrate, explore and inspire the creative process.
Since its inception in 2018, Tanween has welcomed some 170,000 visitors and connected more than 75,000 change-making creatives, innovators and global subject matter experts in an inspiration-fueled environment designed to nurture creative potential, share ideas and redefine what creativity means in a rapidly changing world. It runs in parallel with the wider AlSharqiya Gets Creative creativity movement, another Ithra initiative.
The theme of ‘Scale’
Ithra is expecting to welcome hundreds of participants to experience a four-day interconnected journey. Centered on the theme “Scale,” this year’s conference will continue to provide a platform for emerging and established designers from across the globe to showcase their work, engage in critical discussions and collaborate on innovative projects powered by a program that includes a wide array of workshops, exhibitions, panels, performances interactive challenges and talks.
“Scale in design is dynamic concept that spans macro to micro and encompasses ratios, sizes and relationships among various elements,” says Mizna Al Zamil, head of Creativity and Innovation. “During Tanween 2023, we won’t simply be exploring scale quantitatively; we’ll be delving into its qualitative impacts. From architecture to fashion, graphic design, and more, our experts and participants will collectively and interactively examine the diverse methods and perspectives of applying the concept of scale in various design fields.”
Mega Challenge to focus on refugee relief
Motivated by humanitarian efforts to change lives of disenfranchised people, for the first time Tanween will challenge 75 innovators from across the globe to design sustainable and empowering solutions that improve the quality of life for refugees inside camps.
The Mega Challenge targets three tracks in need of innovative solutions: education, food security, and power. Winning ideas will be submitted by Ithra to a list of qualified sponsors for evaluation and, pending approval, implementation in selected refugee camps in Mauritania, Zimbabwe, Jordan, Indonesia, Ethiopia and Bangladesh.
Industry thought leaders provide access and insight
The conference will also feature thought-provoking panels and talks headlined by industry luminaries. On opening day Carlos Moreno, scientific director of the Lab “Entrepreneurship Territory Innovation,” Sorbonne University will speak on "The Revolution of Proximities,” while creative director Dan Goods, who leads a team of creatives at a jet propulsion laboratory, will discuss “Seeing the Unseen.”
Architect Carmelo Zappulla, founder and managing director of the Barcelona-based studio External Reference, will join Lebanese product designer Nada Debs and Ramzi Najjar, chief creative director of DDB, in providing participants with an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at their creative processes and tricks of the trade in a new program called “A Day with An Expert.”
Additionally, Isola, in collaboration with Ithra, will present “Routes to Roots,” a dynamic exhibition featuring live demonstrations and pieces created by 20 international designers that explores the power of scale in the realm of design celebrating those that preserve our heritage and the Earth.
Tanween continues to bolster Ithra’s growing reputation as a center for creativity, innovation and cultural exchange in Saudi Arabia, the Arab world and across the globe.
— Mizna Al Zamil
“Ithra was built to transform today’s possibilities into the realities of tomorrow by providing year-round purpose-driven programming that enriches, educates and inspires,” added Al Zamil. “Our flagship creativity conference Tanween continues that tradition by connecting risk-taking creatives, change-making innovators and global subject matter experts to expand ideas, create new opportunities and nurture creative potential.”