“Architecture of Culture” Publication with Silvana Editoriale

by IRTHI Contemporary Crafts Council United Arab Emirates


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Architects, designers, urbanists, curators, researchers, artists, geologists, biologists, chemists, and craft specialists across the MENASEA, have been invited to contribute to this publication.

Crafting connections and empowering women from its base in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council operates a pioneering Council of creative, cultural and commercial initiatives designed to empower women through craft.

Spanning the Middle East, North Africa and South-East and Central Asia,
Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council’s activities centre on the preservation and promotion of indigenous craft heritage, the engagement of young generations and the development of new international market opportunities.

As part of its mission to educate young practitioners on the cultural importance of Emirati heritage crafts, Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council aims to nurture and nourish creative connections between universities and students, co-curating curriculums and research fellowships rooted in the development of the region’s rich heritage.

Due to the cultural and sustainable significance of looking inwards and returning to the vernacular, Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council set out to curate an experimental research on the “Architecture of Culture” by delving into the context of UAE’s cultural heritage, for its Design Labs II initiative: in which
the first year focused on a research fellowship with the American University of Sharjah’s College of Architecture, Art and Design. Research assistants delved into a series of urban mappings of various environments in the UAE, uncovering indigenous material, local architecture methods, and local crafts, creating innovative recipes for construction that became in themselves a contemporary format of “craft”.

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About IRTHI Contemporary Crafts Council Visit Showroom →

Representing both traditional and modern crafts across the MENASEA and Central Asia regions, working with partner organisations, and championing artisans and designers, the Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council is looking at the empowerment of women professionally and socially. The council aims to provide a fresh narrative for women, by developing new market opportunities, and sectors, delivering social development programs and vocational training, as well as preserving the skills and rich cultural heritage of the UAE for current and future generations through its five initiatives: Bidwa Social Development Programme, which employs 40 artisans and provides them with vocational training and helps them find new markets for their skills through commercial collaborations and regional artisan exchange programmes. Artisan Skills Exchange Programme, which enables the development of artisans’ capacities and technical skills as well as social development through a series of artisanal skill exchanges within the MENASEA region. Hirfati Youth Programme that seeks to train and engage with the next generation of designers and artists through a mix of activities that combine traditional and contemporary crafts. Azyame Fashion Entrepreneurs Programme that aims to develop the next generation of UAE-based fashion designers through training, mentoring and business development. Crafts Dialogue, a unique project that brings together the Council with Barcelona-based Creative Dialogue to create works, which will marry Emirati and international crafts into contemporary designs. Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council is an affiliate of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment, an organisation that was established under an Amiri decree by His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and is chaired by Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah.
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