The Khaleejesque team continually ponders with the barrage of research, commercial trends, and click bait articles that have called ‘time of death’ on our respective field of publishing. With our collected knowledge, network, and experience in what is seemingly a “dying field,” we set to formulate our own research more focused on the MENA publishing scene on a global scale—namely, niche and independent publishing platforms, whether print or online, founded and staffed by young Arabs and Muslims from around the world.
As a platform that strives to amplify the voices of creatives and activists alike, we are dedicated to sharing our findings on a burgeoning field amongst creatives of the MENA region and beyond. As traditional publishing houses increasingly diminish, these independent platforms are paving the way for a new movement—heralding a cultural paradigm shift towards an egalitarian voice in publishing far from the constraints of traditional print and online media.
In addition we’ve reached out to individual Zines who have shared with us their intricate workings and their missions and visions for their platform.
On behalf of Shawati' Magazine, Sabah Al Abbasi (Editor in Chief and Chief Creative Consultant) has answered below.
- About the Platform:
Publishing is in my blood, it is an extension of who I am. From a young age I was obsessed with magazines, I have been publishing magazines in the UAE for nearly two decades. I have witnessed many changes in the field during this time, the inspiration ebbs and flows with every issue we print. I feel that what we do matters and has an impact on our readers. I find it incredibly gratifying to introduce our readers to stories that they would have otherwise not known about, to introduce them to new ideas that inspire them and make a difference in their lives. The publishing industry is not an easy field, especially as digital magazines are now dominating the field, however nothing compares to the touch and feel of paper, holding a magazine or book in your hands and carefully flicking through the pages is incredibly gratifying. Regardless of the struggle to survive at times, and contrary to the growing feeling that print is dead, I’m here to tell you it is not!
We have been very fortunate to have so much support for Shawati’ – the feedback has been incredible. We hear from people around the world that receive the magazine or happen to pick up a copy from their local book store and are in awe of the content and design. This is what keeps me going, and wanting to continue, it is the energy from our readers, the new and the old and their enthusiasm that makes me want to push the boundaries further with every issue we print.
- Content: what is your publication concerned with and what kind of content does it feature?
Shawati’ Magazine adopted a phrase back in 2012 that best defines our vision and mission: globalising the local, localising the global. These words resonate at the core of our essence; to preserve our ‘local heritage’ while embracing the ideals of global mindedness; thus, creating an authentic Emirate set amid a modern world. Our publication covers Art, Culture, environment lifestyle and current affairs.
- The team behind the platform:
We have a dedicated team [both full-time and experienced freelancers] that work on the magazine, some are based in the UAE and others in different parts of the world.
We have a dedicated team of journalists [based locally and internationally, experts in their field] that contribute to the magazine. All creative aspects of the magazine [design, illustrations and creation of content] is done in-house.
- Work Space:
We work from our offices based in Abu Dhabi.
Images courtesy of Shawati' Magazine.