Following the successful start of Nuqat’s 2014 creative conference; The Missing Link, the second day promised to develop on the themes of data and perception from the day before. Despite the lectures now being given predominantly in Arabic, live translation was available for all and we settled into the second day.

Having been briefed that behavior and context will be explored, we had in mind that the talks would explore cultural heritage; class, tradition, national identities vs the ethos of art; all are equal. Doreen Toutikian took the lead in her talk titled Eliminating the Capital D: The Value of Multidisciplinary Collaborating in the Design Process. Through her presentation, Toutikian dissected the shift of design principles from the outdated ‘Designer’ who either produced luxury goods or mass consumerism, to the contemporary state whereby design takes the form of using its concepts for many different aspects of society, including economic development and strategic planning.

Bayan Al-Barrak followed Toutikian with a talk on the history of Bahrain’s most famous gallery Al Riwaq Art Space. She explored the history and foundations of Al Riwaq, including the numerous exhibitions and educational programs run there. The gallery plays a key role in the island’s creative scene, supporting many initiatives, including its own Market 338 which is about to commence.
The effect of collaboration was then shared by the Onqoud team from Saudi Arabia, whose shared experience of working together lead them to form the creative incubator. Their passion and belief in the positivity of collaborating shone through as they discussed their experiences of being a collective.

After a brief break for lunch Aya and Raneem shed light on the growing number of curators in the region, who are emerging as the Middle Eastern art world is cementing itself on the international platform. Through their trials and errors, they recognize that this field still needs developing and are optimistic that by working as a curatorial team in Saudi Arabia they will be able to build a strong foundation for the expansion of curators across the Gulf.

By the end of day 2, Nuqat: The Missing Link had taken a strong form and as Huda Abi Fares observed in the final lecture of the day, Uncommon Grounds: Intercultural Collaboration through Design, it is through our global networks and extensive appreciation of diversity that collaboration has become a necessity for the creative world to flourish.

– Lucy Moore

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