What We Are Reading Today: Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Josh Lerner

Updated 05 December 2018
0

What We Are Reading Today: Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Josh Lerner

Silicon Valley, Singapore, Tel Aviv — the global hubs of entrepreneurial activity — all bear the marks of government investment.

Yet, for every public intervention that spurs entrepreneurial activity, there are many failed efforts that waste untold billions in taxpayer dollars. 

When has governmental sponsorship succeeded in boosting growth, and when has it fallen terribly short? Should the government be involved in such undertakings at all?

Boulevard of Broken Dreams is the first extensive look at the ways governments have supported entrepreneurs and venture capitalists across decades and continents.

Josh Lerner, one of the foremost experts in the field, provides valuable insights into why some public initiatives work while others are hobbled by pitfalls, and he offers suggestions for how public ventures should be implemented in the future. Discussing the complex history of Silicon Valley and other pioneering centers of venture capital, Lerner uncovers the extent of government influence in prompting growth. 

He examines the public strategies used to advance new ventures, points to the challenges of these endeavors, and reveals the common flaws undermining far too many programs — poor design, a lack of understanding for the entrepreneurial process, and implementation problems.

Lerner explains why governments cannot dictate how venture markets evolve, and why they must balance their positions as catalysts with an awareness of their limited ability to stimulate the entrepreneurial sector.

 


Creative group in the UAE gives female artists a chance to tell their story

Jana Ghalayini’s work at Art Dubai invited visitors to draw on their responses.
Updated 25 May 2019
0

Creative group in the UAE gives female artists a chance to tell their story

  • Female-led art collective wants society to rethink the way women of color are perceived
  • Banat Collective publishes artworks in print and online and hosts events to encourage debate

DUBAI: Sara bin Safwan founded the Banat Collective in 2016 to connect with other like-minded people, championing
their art through the group’s website, banatcollective.com.
The group aims to help society to rethink the way women of color are perceived by showcasing contemporary art, poetry and other writings. The collective publishes artistic works in print and online and hosts events aimed at spreading awareness and encouraging debate.
“A lot of the artists are young and emerging and never had the chance to be either exhibited or publicized, so we interview them to offer a critical, insightful look at their work,” said Safwan, 25.


Now an assistant curator at Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Safwan graduated from London’s world-famous Central Saint Martins college in 2015 with a degree in culture, criticism and curation.
It was while studying in Britain that she developed a keen interest in post-colonial theory; the Banat Collective focuses on themes relating to both womanhood and intersectionality, which is an analytic framework to identify how interlocking systems of power impact those most marginalized in society.
“The mission is not only to connect artists but open up discussions about Arab womanhood in the region, because there’s not necessarily any other place to do so. We do that through art, poetry and other writings,” Safwan said.
“I use the word ‘womanhood’ to make it a more accessible term because if I use ‘feminism,’ it’s a very politically charged word that has almost been tainted by Western ideologies. And those Western ideologies don’t necessarily fit within our context as Middle Easterners.”
“In the Middle of it All” is the collective’s debut publication. Released in 2018, the book is a 31-artist collaboration of visual art, writing and poetry. Our book is a means to help us stand out — it’s thoughtfully curated and tackles a specific issue, which is ‘coming of age’,” she says.
“It’s a notion that’s taboo in the Arab world and either unheard of or misunderstood. It was a chance for female artists to tell their own story.
“Throughout the book, we go through many topics such as puberty, identity, sexual harassment and abuse, sisterhood, motherhood, beauty standards and all these other societal expectations.”
The collective held its first exhibition as part of March’s Art Dubai fair, showcasing a short film, “Ivory Stitches & Saviors” by member Sarah Alagroobi, which she describes as an “unflinching glimpse into identity, colonialism and whitewashing.”
Says Safwan: “It’s a tribute to all women of color who have been marginalized and, all too often, erased.”
Another work by Palestinian-Canadian artist Jana Ghalayini is comprised of a 26-meter-long piece of chiffon on which visitors can draw with chalk pastels in response to questions posed by the artist including “How does your environment affect your identity?”
Safwan adds: “The themes we explored were vulnerability and community — it was a way to introduce ourselves in person because previously we only had an online presence.”
Born and raised in the UAE to Honduran and Emirati parents, Safwan is now working with Alagroobi and Ghalayini to brainstorm ideas for future projects that include a podcast series on the notion of shame. The collective is self-funded and run by volunteers.
“I hope there will be more opportunities to showcase our work and collaborate with others. This year, we will be publishing more content,” Safwan said.