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.
These are collective answers from the Lifta Volumes team.
- About the Platform:
Our vision is to produce and disseminate a multilingual publication of stories from Palestinians living all over the world in a way that moves beyond rhetoric and discourse surrounding current affairs. We want to engage Palestinian artists, poets, writers, architects and designers that working sincerely in the world today.
- Content: what is your publication concerned with and what kind of content does it feature?
Our project is a publication of anti-narratives from the Middle East and North Africa. The first volume explores futurist narratives on Palestine. This means more than binaries of utopias and dystopias; the aim is to move beyond the boundaries of traditional politics, historic narratives and current affairs. To create a time capsule of what Palestinian writers, poets, artists, activists, architects and designers have been dreaming up; what is on their minds and in their practice.
LIFTA is a platform that explores and interrogates the narratives, histories and issues of the wider Arab world. Crafted by people of the region, our inaugural project is a book centered upon the theme of Future Palestine. Volume I features work from award winning artists, poets, curators, researchers and writers from Palestine and its diaspora.
The theme of Future Palestine is a step away from the past and present, from the limitations of current affairs, memory and rhetoric — a step towards intangible possibilities and impossibilities. It examines all the things that bind Palestine to Palestinians: time, land, exile, ideals of return, and for those that remained; ideals of exit, nationalism and things lost, found and held onto. This departure brings forth the question: how much of history, reality and experience can we shed in the realm of the imaginary? What follows are doctrines of depth and disappointment, a log of what is learned, feared, yearned (for), romanticised, dejected and cut out.
Our instagram account is a resource for the aesthetic history of the Middle East and North Africa.
LIFTA’s contributors are Palestinian Artists, writers, poets, photographers, curators, literature enthusiasts and more from within Palestine and the Diaspora.
While we wrap up production on our first volume, our digital presence is focused on our instagram which features curated work by creatives from all over the region.
- The team behind the platform:
We are a team of 3 with supporting freelance writers, editors and translators.
Amira Asad is a writer, editor and curator. She co-founded LIFTA in 2017 and has worked with a number of publications including Brownbook Magazine, Al Jazeera English, VICE and The Guardian. More recently, she co-curated an exhibition at Vitra Design Museum and acted as the managing editor of a book made in collaboration with Lars Müller. Leila Peinado is a creative director, designer, curator, artist and co-founder of LIFTA. She has worked on a variety of publications and exhibitions for creative, with the likes of Lucky Peach Magazine, Brownbook and more. Recently, she designed and helped curate an exhibition in collaboration with the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. Rashed A. Atef is a writer, editor and creative director with a portfolio that spans the Arab world and has been published in Brownbook, Smith Journal and the like. He co-founded LIFTA in 2017 and is currently pursuing his Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Oxford.
- Work Space:
We are all in different parts of the world at the moment but in August we will make our headquarters in CDMX and London.
Images courtesy of Lifta Volumes.