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 Locale team.
- About the Platform:
We strongly believe that it is necessary to have a platform that centers the Sudanese experience and caters to it within the regional context. We create projects with the understanding that there is not a singular common Sudanese experience and that it is our job to validate, amplify, and create for all of them. We also believe that part of forming a cultural identity and a full dimensional understanding of one’s own home stems from the possibility to locate, study, and learn from history. We spend a lot of time on research, sometimes the process work we end up doing becomes more integral than the final project we produce. Which is why collaborative work is so important to us, we like to engage artists in rigorous peer review and conversation to create work that is informed and true to their visions.
- Content: what is your publication concerned with and what kind of content does it feature?
Our publications are centered around the Sudanese experience. We try to amplify our culture and our stories by featuring artists in Sudan and in diaspora. Our works are sometimes compilations done by the artists around specific briefs and themes that we provide and more often than not, those themes are in response to or are a result of the socio-political landscape in Sudan.
- The team behind the platform:
We work within a team of four women, Aala Sharfi, Rund Al-Arabi, Qutouf Yahia and Safwa Hashim. We come from different pursuits and professions but share a common passion for working within the Sudanese community and so we all dedicate much of our personal time to running and producing the Locale projects.
Our team is made up of writers, designers, and photographers but our roles are very interchangeable. We all have input in the writing of the briefs, content and design of projects. Locale was born out of the desire to create a space for collaboration for Sudanese artists and so we try to open up those spaces whenever possible in our own work.
- Work Space:
We work remotely from our homes as we’re based in different cities around the world and always moving. A large portion of the work we produce is manifested inside chat rooms and shared google documents.
Images courtesy of Locale.