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Guest Speakers

Khalid Alshafar
Founder and director, Khalid Shafar
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Born in 1980 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. As a business graduate of the American University in Dubai Khalid worked in marketing and communication for almost seven years. In 2005 Khalid completed a degree in Fine Arts in Interior Design and by the end of 2009 had decided to leave marketing and follow his passion for design. Khalid has studied and specialized in Furniture & Objects design, first at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London, UK, then at the Centre for Fine Woodworking in Nelson, New Zealand. In 2011 Khalid opened his own studio in Dubai followed by a showcase space in 2012; both in Ras Al Khor Industrial area. Khalid’s approach to design encompasses his personal expression of form, movement, emotion, and in particular, ‘the tale’ of objects. 

Among his notable international collaborations, Khalid collaborated with LASVIT, Tai Ping, Campana Brothers, Moissonnier, COS, Kartell, and the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) on special projects and limited edition releases. He also collaborated recently with Le Mobilier National et les manufactures nationales des Gobelins, de Beauvais et de la Savonnerie on a site specific Art installation for Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum.

Lidewji Edelkoort
forecaster, educator, publisher, activist
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Lidewij Edelkoort is arguably the world's most renowned trend forecaster, working in industries from design and fashion to food, architecture, beauty, communication, automotive and retail. Founded in 1986, her company Trend Union produces trend tools for strategists, designers and marketers at brands from Zara to Prada. She is also a publisher, humanitarian, educator and exhibition curator. Edelkoort has been named one of the Most Influential People in Fashion and one of the Most Influential People in Design. In 2014, her much-talked about ANTI_FASHION Manifesto was the first to raise awareness about the shifts and upheavals currently experienced in the global fashion industry. From 1998-2008 she was Chairwoman of Design Academy Eindhoven before moving to New York from 2015-2020 where she was Dean of Hybrid Design Studies at Parsons, establishing an MFA Textile masters and New York Textile Month. In 2020, in response to the covid-19 pandemic, she founded the World Hope Forum as a platform to inspire the creative community to rebuild a better society. Since 2022, Edelkoort collaborates with Polimoda in Florence where she has created an innovative new textile masters called From Farm to Fabric to Fashion. Her latest publication is Proud South (Lecturis, 2022), a visual bible that celebrates the creative talent of the global south.

Abeer Seikaly
architect, artist and cultural curator
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A Jordanian-Palestinian interdisciplinary thinker and maker, who works across architecture, design, fine art, and cultural production. Her practice is deeply rooted in the processes of memory and cultural empowerment, expressing architecture as a social technology that has the power to redefine how we engage with and within space.  After pursuing her architecture career in luxury retail design and mixed-use developments, her work increasingly began to reflect a tactile sensitivity to the consciousness within the objects and spaces she crafts. In 2012, Abeer won The Rug Company’s Middle East Wallhanging Design Competition, for exploring the duality between nostalgia and the labor of new craft. And, in the following year, she was awarded the international Lexus Design Award, for a performative structural system that explored the social implications of creating homes for displaced communities. In 2015, she co-founded and co-directed Amman Design Week, and, in 2018, she established ālmamar, a cultural experience and residency program. Her works can be found in multiple private and public collections, such as Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah (in Amman, Jordan) and Barjeel Art Foundation (in Sharjah, UAE). Abeer is also a frequent speaker, panelist, and visiting lecturer. In the Fall of 2021, Abeer was appointed as the Louis I. Kahn Visiting Assistant Professor at the Yale School of Architecture. It was an endowed professorship, where she taught an advanced graduate Architectural Design Studio, titled Conscious Skins.

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