arabianEye Talks – Viewing Arabia

When you look at the Emirates in photography, the news, media, advertisements and in film – what do you see? Do you see accurate depictions, biased depictions or, clichés?

arabianEye hosts a series of talks in Dubai on topics of cultural interest and visual representation to those living in the region. We bring together vibrant topics to initiate a dialogue between the audience and our expert speaker panel whom include a range of experts working in advertising, film, design and the press.

Kindly sponsored by Emirates Foundation, our first “arabianEye Talks…” event was in October and has been described as thought-provoking and groundbreaking by various people who attended. arabianEye is passionate about creating a forum for everybody to discuss cultural issues of visual representation. If you would like to get involved, please get in touch with us!

Our panel discusses “Viewing Arabia: the representation of life in the UAE in commercial media.”

James Langton, Deputy Editor of the National:

Alia al-Shamsi, Photojournalist, Dubai

Nezar Andary, Professor of Film + Literature, Zayed University, Abu Dhabi

Feedback from our first event:

“It was real, honest and refreshing: you’re pushing boundaries, of self, of society. I have never said that about any such event before!”

Wael Al-Sayegh, Poet

“The event last time was fabulous and I thoroughly enjoyed the dialogue. I felt it was a progressive step forward regarding the evolution of the media industry here. Censorship will always be an issue living in an non-democratic and religiously sensitive country however discussions of ideas, growth, challenges, opportunities and creativity are essential in carving out a culturally rich and modern Dubai.”

Jessica Swann, Deputy Head of Programming/Co-Host Dubai Today, Dubai Eye 103.8

“I wanted to thank you all for your organization & involvement in making last night a starting point to a positive movement in the Emirates.”

Rami Farook, Traffic Gallery Owner

“The first Arabian Eye discussion was not just speaking heads on a pedestal. The venue and interaction with the audience became just as important. Also, the presenters came from completely different backgrounds and this pushed at least myself to think of better ways to communicate about media.”

Nezar Andary, Professor of Film + Literature, Zayed University, Abu Dhabi

“I would say that (despite having lived in the UAE for 20 years), I have rarely enjoyed a discussion about the media and national participation as much as the one my wife and I attended last month. It was refreshing to see the interaction between young Emiratis and various thoughtful expatriates in such an open international environment – may you hold many more such sessions!”

Stefan Kemball, Emirates Foundation

“Great initiative and event: we really hope more actions and collaborations will be formed and executed.”

Aida Al Busaidy, Internal Communications Manager, Masdar

“Great initiative and hope it’s a start to many similar debates. Not sure if any major changes will happen after the first talk, but I’m glad that it at least raised the issues and was an opportunity for people to express some opinions. Would be great to see more Emiratis on the panel – to see them debate amongst themselves. I think there is still a perception that all Emiratis speak in one voice, we need to see the diverse thinking/attitude/approach to the different topics that can be discussed through Emirati eyes as well and not always from an ‘Expat’ vs ‘Emirati’ opinion. I guess only with time will be know if things are changing – for the positive.”

Hind Mezaina

“Interesting discussions and viewpoints and to put it simply it was a stimulating experience.”

Preeta Iyer, TBWA PR