Saudi creators showcase future of design at Ithra fashion exhibition

The exhibition aims to explore the future of design in Saudi Arabia. (Photo/Yasir Alqunais)
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The exhibition aims to explore the future of design in Saudi Arabia. (Photo/Yasir Alqunais)
Saudi creators showcase future of design at Ithra fashion exhibition
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The exhibition aims to explore the future of design in Saudi Arabia. (Photo/Yasir Alqunais)
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Updated 12 November 2022

Saudi creators showcase future of design at Ithra fashion exhibition

The exhibition aims to explore the future of design in Saudi Arabia. (Photo/Yasir Alqunais)
  • Intricate clothes, handbags, jewelry on display
  • Show part of Tanween creativity festival

DHAHRAN: The Saudi Fashion Exhibition, launched this week at Ithra in Dhahran, featured 45 Saudi designers who showcased a range of luxury creations, including intricately constructed garments, handbags and jewelry.

The exhibition is part of Tanween, Ithra’s flagship creativity festival.

Walaa Tahlawi, Ithra’s operations manager and supervisor of the exhibition, said the location chosen to display Saudi talent and innovation was ideal because the Ithra building itself was an architectural marvel.

The exhibition aims to explore the future of design in the Kingdom. The designers drew from their own experiences to weave a personal narrative into their creations.

In cooperation with the Fashion Authority, the exhibition will continue until the end of this month at the center’s headquarters in Dhahran.

The CEO of the authority, Burak Cakmak, said in a statement: “Saudi fashion is not like any other fashion, because it is exceptional, unique, luxurious and made with extreme precision.

“The fashion industry seeks to be a major part in meeting the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, and there is huge potential for growth. In the untapped fashion sector locally and globally.

“The Saudi fashion sector has made amazing progress over the past two years through initiatives that have contributed to creating opportunities for local talent.”

Saudi jewelry designer Lillian Ismail provided a “simple, elegant unisex bracelet” in collaboration with Ithra for the occasion, which was given to the invited guests.

One such visitor was Dr. Patricia Davies who is an associate professor of mathematics at Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University in Dhahran.

“I like fashion, I sew. So I was very curious to see the designs; the direction in which Saudi designs are going. I came to a previous exhibition that featured more historic design traditional designs — that was interesting. I could see how the designs had varied according to the region but this is different,” said Davies.

“These are people who are in the fashion business. You know, coming from Britain, I could see some similarities with the more traditional British outfits, which we would refer to as ‘cloaks.’ Well, I mainly make clothes for myself, I have done this since childhood. So I have really grown up with an eye for fashion. One of the things I was looking at here, I was thinking well, I might get some ideas of things to sew. I did get some ideas,” she told Arab News.

Those interested in seeing more artistic creations can visit Fashion Futures, which will be held at Mohammed Bin Salman Nonprofit City in Riyadh from Nov. 17-19.

 

 


Logitech survey unveiled at LEAP23 reveals hybrid working creates an uneven playing field

Logitech survey unveiled at LEAP23 reveals hybrid working creates an uneven playing field
Updated 28 sec ago

Logitech survey unveiled at LEAP23 reveals hybrid working creates an uneven playing field

Logitech survey unveiled at LEAP23 reveals hybrid working creates an uneven playing field
  • 59 percent of those polled agreed their input would be valued more if they were physically attending a meeting
  • However, 52 percent of respondents said they would prefer a hybrid or fully remote work arrangement

RIYADH: Logitech on Monday announced the results of its hybrid meeting survey at LEAP 2023. 

The survey, polling more than 500 white-collar workers, examined the state of current working arrangements, the impacts of hybrid work on meetings, and the challenges that business leaders and employees face in this new way of working. 

As employees returned to physical office spaces, the report revealed that 52 percent of respondents would prefer to work either in a hybrid or fully remote work arrangement. 

“The Kingdom is placing great emphasis on digital transformation in line with Saudi Vision 2030 to unlock its vast economic potential. Furthermore, as companies prepare for the future of work, technology will be the game changer, closing the gap between traditional and hybrid workplaces and creating a smarter, more agile, and creative local workforce,” said Loubna Imenchal, head of enterprise business at Logitech, Africa, Middle East, Turkey and Central Asia. 

The hybrid meeting survey revealed that 39 percent of respondents who have joined a hybrid meeting virtually felt that they had fewer opportunities to build rapport with other participants. Additionally, 59 percent agreed that their input would be valued more if they were attending the meeting physically instead of virtually, and 40 percent felt less included as compared to in-person meeting participants. 

While 73 percent of respondents agree that hybrid meetings would be more productive if all participants had an equal chance to speak and contribute, 61 percent of those who participate in hybrid meetings in-person shared that they tend to engage more with participants that are in the same room. 

Respondents said that technical issues are the most significant challenges with hybrid meetings, with connectivity issues (43 percent) and poor audio quality (40 percent) ranking amongst the top concerns. 

In addition, 34 percent of respondents also shared that having to repeat themselves due to participants not being able to hear them clearly also was an issue they experienced during hybrid meetings. 

Other common issues such as participants not paying attention (30 percent), poor video quality (29 percent), participants being late (33 percent) and getting talked over by other participants during meetings (29 percent) were also cited as challenges in hybrid meetings.

To improve on these issues, organizations in the Kingdom must ensure that employees have access to critical technology, including network connectivity and video conferencing devices. Video collaboration technology should be a part of organizations’ digitalization plans to be successful in the future of work.  

In fact, the survey revealed the critical role of video conferencing technology in solving the meeting equity problem. More than 7 in 10 respondents (62 percent) agreed that hybrid meetings are more engaging when video conferencing systems with high-quality audio and video output are used. 

Organizations should implement enterprise-grade tools and solutions to bridge the gap in hybrid meetings such as meeting room devices, personal collaboration devices such as headsets and webcams to ensure overall quality and experience of video meetings. 

In today’s increasingly hybrid-based work environment, there are several key aspects companies must consider to enable seamless collaboration, foster engagement, and place virtual meeting participants on equal footing with their counterparts in the conference room:

Equip: Provide teams with enterprise-level equipment such as in-room video conferencing systems, webcams, microphones, and earbuds. This enables organizations to build a consistent, reliable experience that is natively integrated with its ecosystem of choice. Video conferencing systems also provide remote participants with a full view of everyone in the office meeting room through multiple cameras with different perspectives, placing them in the best seat in the room and help them feel more included, leading to more engaging, collaborative meetings.

Simplify: With employees constantly switching between in-office and home work environments, creating an easy employee experience by ensuring that the home office closely resembles their office set-up will emerge as a top priority for organizations. Companies will have to identify pain points for both in-office and virtual meeting participants when setting up internal hybrid meeting systems, considering factors such as usability and complexity of equipment and meeting set-ups. 

Empower: Fostering meeting equity requires facilitators and organizers to take an active approach to empower and encourage engagement from virtual participants. They have to practice active facilitation, minimize visual and audio clutter, and minimize side conversations.

The mix of remote and in-person participants, especially in hybrid work arrangements, create unique challenges for companies wanting to run inclusive and participative meetings. Nevertheless, modern video conference technologies such as those from Logitech allow meeting organizers to make the world of work more equitable and productive.


Creative economy’s increasing importance evident in LEAP 2023 agenda

Creative economy’s increasing importance evident in LEAP 2023 agenda
Updated 2 min 21 sec ago

Creative economy’s increasing importance evident in LEAP 2023 agenda

Creative economy’s increasing importance evident in LEAP 2023 agenda
  • Second edition of tech conference is home to science and technology as much as it is to the arts and entertainment
  • First day’s sessions examined the crucial role creativity plays in expanding technology, AI and the economy

RIYADH: What is a creative economy? The term has become a buzzword in today’s world — one that places culture and imagination at the crux of economic and technological expansion.

British author John Howkins first coined the term in 2001 to describe the economic systems where value is reflective of imaginative qualities rather than the traditional resources of labor, land, and capital.

Howkins applied the term to cultural goods, arts, research and development, toys, and games. Observers such as Howkins believe that creativity is an intrinsic characteristic of 21st century economies — similar to how manufacturing defined economies of the 19th and 20th centuries.

The rising importance of the creative economy can be witnessed at this year’s LEAP conference, where a dedicated segment has been devised focusing on the intersection between creativity, the economy and technology.

The conference is home to science and technology as much as it is to arts and entertainment — demonstrating how technological advances in immersive and digital entertainment are influencing the sectors of art, fashion, architecture, and design influencing the ways human beings live and work.

Panel sessions regarding the “Arts at the Intersection of Culture and Digital,” “Preserving Arts and Culture with AI,” “Building Engaged Communities in the Age of Metaverse,” and “Content Creation and Creation Economy,” among others, look at the crucial role that creativity plays in expanding technology, AI, and the economy.

“As an artist, I find AI to be a tool that enables me to think more about the future and expand my artistic practice,” MaryLiz Bender, artist, technologist and creative director and co-founder of Cosmic Perspective, said during a panel on “The Future of Art — the Evolution of Humanity.”

She added: “I want to think about the future and where we will be in 10, 20, 30, 50, and even one hundred years from now, and that is where AI has helped me.

“We are at a point now where our interaction and collaboration with AI models is enhancing our creative output as artists,” said Bender.

Creative economy is also a term pivotal to Saudi Vision 2030 — one of the defining pillars of the country’s reform plan and social transformation agenda, launched by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in 2016 to wean the Gulf nation off a reliance on oil and gas and develop a future-focused economy — one that is forward-thinking, creative and among the most advanced technologically in the world.

Creativity in all industries, states Vision 2030, is vital to the establishment of the agenda’s three primary objectives: “To build a vibrant society, a thriving economy and an ambitious nation.”

Technology, as several sessions demonstrated on the first day of LEAP, is becoming a fundamental part of preserving culture and heritage and advancing artistic processes.

In a session on “Preserving Arts & Culture,” Rami Jawhar, program manager for Google Arts & Culture, explored the importance of cultural preservation using technologies like AI.

In places burdened by conflict, destitution and where languages and traditional cultures are threatened with extinction, Jawhar showed how through technology Google is striving to preserve cultural heritage — even if it is through the intangible realm of the metaverse.

Through diverse technologies, the memory of past cultures and traditions can be maintained and preserved — a practice vital as the human race powers into the so-called fourth industrial revolution.


Saudi Digital Cooperation Organization unveils 2030 road map

Saudi Digital Cooperation Organization unveils 2030 road map
Updated 06 February 2023

Saudi Digital Cooperation Organization unveils 2030 road map

Saudi Digital Cooperation Organization unveils 2030 road map
  • ‘We can unlock the full potential of the global digital economy,’ says DCO secretary-general

RIYADH: The Digital Cooperation Organization called for global collaboration to bridge the technological divide as it announced its 2030 road map at its second annual general assembly in Riyadh.

The plan aims at an ambitious future in which the digital economy contributes 30 percent to the global gross domestic product, and creates 30 million jobs worldwide.

It is designed to promote common interest, advocate for advanced cooperation, build regulatory framework and business environments, and ensure the inclusive and trustworthy nature of the digital economy at local, regional, and global levels.

DCO Secretary-General Deemah Al-Yahya told Arab News: “The beauty of this road map is it’s very agile and very nimble.

“It looks at all the challenges that we are facing now in our member countries. It goes in depth into what the needs are, and what reforms we should change, and what initiatives we should run to achieve these targets.

HIGHLIGHT

The plan aims at an ambitious future in which the digital economy contributes 30 percent to the global gross domestic product, and creates 30 million jobs worldwide.

“We really believe that with the right cooperation between the governments, in the private sector and civil society, we will actually overachieve by 2030.”

The call to action mirrors the goals of the organization to create a space that promotes underrepresented groups, such as women and youth, and helps to affirm their value within the digital infrastructure.

In its first in-person meeting, the DCO brought together member nations from across the globe to discuss the current condition of digital economies and the roadblocks faced by countries in an effort to achieve growth.

Al-Yahya added: “By fostering and facilitating cooperation and expanding transformation across all sectors, we can unlock the full potential of the global digital economy.”

As governmental and industrial digital transformation accelerates as a result of the pandemic, a key challenge is to recognize the essential role of technologies in fostering sustainable growth across formal and informal economies.

Al-Yahya said:“[The pandemic] tested the resilience to digitally transform very quickly, which is a huge agenda. No country alone can transform quickly and harness this opportunity of digital economy without putting hands in hands together and sharing best practices.”

In other strategic announcements, the DCO established new organizational bylaws, including the approval of the Stride Association, which will work to empower micro, small, and medium enterprises between member states.

Al-Yahya explained that empowering MSMEs, which make up 90 percent of all businesses, is crucial for success and growth in a dynamic digital economy.

The organization also established a new observer committee, as well as a new executive committee with representatives from member countries including Bahrain, Jordan, Nigeria, and Oman, and with a representative from the Kingdom as the chairperson until 2030.

Recalling an anecdote to reveal the power of digital economies, Al-Yahya told Arab News: “I met a woman before in Taif, and she used to create goods from Taif flowers. She was a widow with six children and she didn’t have any sources of revenue but the products that she created from the roses.”

After coming up with an e-commerce solution, the woman started selling to 100 locations across the globe, and recruited 60 other women to work for her business.

Al-Yahya said that the digital economy would grow by enabling the underrepresented communities that make up the majority of our populations.

The DCO council also formally welcomed two new member states: Gambia and Ghana. The organization now represents 13 nations and serves around 600 million people, with a collective gross domestic product of more than $2 trillion.


Saudi Arabia’s DGDA launches Handicraft School training program

(Twitter @DGDA_SA)
(Twitter @DGDA_SA)
Updated 06 February 2023

Saudi Arabia’s DGDA launches Handicraft School training program

(Twitter @DGDA_SA)
  • The DGDA has committed to involving residents in events and activities in order to bring valuable contributions to the area’s construction and redevelopment

RIYADH: The Diriyah Gate Development Authority launched its Handicraft School, a 12-week training program that seeks to strengthen residents’ connection to the past by teaching the skills and mastery of local handicrafts.

The program provides training each week across 12 professions: Carpentry, plastering, decoupage, palm leaf weaving and braiding, perfume making, bead making, brass arts, pottery, bisht embroidery, leather burnishing, gypsum arts, and artifact documentation and photography. The training sessions are led by Saudi experts.

Aspiring craftspeople are encouraged to apply to the program through the DGDA website. They will be trained in each of their chosen trades for a week across multiple in-person workshops.

The program comes as part of the authority’s goal to engage with the Diriyah community and promote culture and heritage.

The DGDA has committed to involving residents in events and activities in order to bring valuable contributions to the area’s construction and redevelopment.

“Traditional handicraft practices can help give voice to a nation’s culture and the stories of its people,” said a statement by the DGDA.

The program also aims to preserve Saudi Arabia’s heritage by highlighting its wealth of handicraft knowledge and preserving it for future generations.

The Handicraft School is one of several DGDA programs that aims to foster a supportive, growth-oriented environment within Diriyah.

“Ultimately, reconnecting the people of Diriyah with their ancestors’ practices also gives them the ability to showcase their national heritage to visitors, tourists and enthusiasts of older, simpler times from around the world,” the statement added.

 


Noor Riyadh light exhibition extends until March

Saudi artist Huda Al-Aithan’s ‘Numinous Najd’ artwork takes inspiration from the Kingdom’s central region. (Supplied)
Saudi artist Huda Al-Aithan’s ‘Numinous Najd’ artwork takes inspiration from the Kingdom’s central region. (Supplied)
Updated 06 February 2023

Noor Riyadh light exhibition extends until March

Saudi artist Huda Al-Aithan’s ‘Numinous Najd’ artwork takes inspiration from the Kingdom’s central region. (Supplied)
  • Massive public interest in the show, say organizers
  • 30 intricate artworks on display at Diriyah’s JAX district

RIYADH: Noor Riyadh, the largest light festival in the world, has extended its accompanying exhibition titled “From Spark to Spirit” until March 10 at Diriyah’s JAX district due to its incredible success, Riyadh Art officials said.

The exhibition, originally set to run until Feb. 4, features innovative work by artists from across the globe in their exploration of three themes — technology, architectonics, and consciousness of light.

Khaled Al-Hazani, executive director for Riyadh Art, said: “‘From Spark to Spirit’ is a beautiful and thought-provoking exhibition that aptly follows the success of the Noor Riyadh festival, which almost tripled in size from the inaugural edition.

Diana Thater’s ‘A Cast of Falcons’ is one of Noor Riyadh’s artworks you can continue to experience until March 10. (Supplied)

“Light is a universally appreciated medium, which is incredibly moving and engaging. But it is perhaps only when you see the range of inspirations within the three themes at ‘From Spark to Spirit’ that you appreciate our relationship with light, which spans from the dawn of times to the digital age.”

The second annual Noor Riyadh festival, held by the first national public art initiative Riyadh Art, has planted light installations across the Kingdom’s capital. It is an initiative to beautify the city under the theme “We Dream of New Horizons,” but now it furthers its seasonal offerings to ensure that art is indeed for all.

“As engaging for the art aficionado as it is for children or first-time art gallery visitors, ‘From Spark to Spirit’ is a wonderful addition to both Riyadh and the Kingdom’s burgeoning art and culture scene and recommended for all,” Al-Hazani added.

American artist Jim Campbell's artwork titled 'Eroding Wave' mimics the movement of swimming through water using clustered LED bulbs, highlighting the cycle of the tides. (Supplied)

At the Riyadh Art hub in the JAX district lies 30 intricate light works, focusing on the role of light in shaping the way we experience the world. Light itself is used as a tool for change in initiating cross-cultural dialogue.

The exhibition showcases works for all ages. From Turkish artist Refik Anadol’s interactive chamber of infinite motion titled “Machine Dreams: Space,” to Saudi Moath Alofi’s flaming light sculpture inspired by the Kingdom’s dormant volcanoes, “Thnan,” visitors can venture into undiscovered worlds.

Neville Wakefield led the curation of the exhibition with Gaida Al-Mogren as associate curator.

The exhibition showcases works for all ages. From Turkish artist Refik Anadol’s interactive chamber of infinite motion titled ‘Machine Dreams: Space,’ to Saudi Moath Alofi’s flaming light sculpture inspired by the Kingdom’s dormant volcanoes, ‘Thnan,’ visitors can venture into undiscovered worlds. (Supplied)

Al-Mogren said: “The journey across the three zones in ‘From Spark to Spirit’ is a dialogue between the generations, lighting up inspirations from both Saudi Arabia and across the world, and from both established and emerging artists. In addition, the exhibition also shines a light on the rapid cultural transformations shaping the Middle East, particularly here in the Kingdom.

“Light is the source of all life on the planet and essential to our health and well-being. ‘From Spark to Spirit’ illuminates how we see distinguishing details, individual colors, movement, brightness and more, and the feedback we have received from the many members of the public attending the exhibit so far has been excellent.”