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.

As a result, we’ve published a MENA Indie Zines and Platforms feature which can be accessed here.

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 Jaffat El Aqlam, Sarah Ahmed (Founder and Curator) has answered below. 

Jaffat El Aqlam content
  • About the Platform:

Jaffat El Aqlam is an independent platform that celebrates artistic creations by humans from/based in the MENA region, establishing its digital existence through zines, open calls, workshops, and collaborative dialogue. It has grown to become an open space for artists, designers, writers, musicians, poets, start-ups, and researchers to feature their work and contribute to the exploration of identities for those within and out of the MENA region. In addition to our burgeoning existence on the Internet, we publish zines, conduct workshops, and sell merchandise realized by contributors. We are a self-sustained project, run by passionate team members, and adventurous contributors.

*Jaffat El Aqlam is an Arabic phrase that loosely translates to ‘Dried Out Pens’, a name derived from the gradual disappearing use and consumption of traditional media.

Jaffat El Aqlam Cover Art
  • Content: what is your publication concerned with and what kind of content does it feature?

Open space for artists, designers, writers, musicians, poets, start-ups and researchers to feature their work and contribute to the exploration of identities for those within and out of the MENA region.

  • The team behind the platform: 

Our team consists of volunteers and do this alongside our IRL jobs. All published content is by contributors or creators that we’ve contacted to collaborate with.

Artwork by: Fai Ahmed – Losing, Memory Issue (left), Reem Almutairi – The Real World, Memory Issue (right)
  • Work Space:

We rarely meet up, since we’re located in different parts of the UAE or abroad, most of our work is done through emails, accessing the websites, and the WhatsApp group for immediate actions and updates.

Images courtesy of Jaffat El Aqlam.

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