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Why It's Kicking Off Everywhere: the contagion of revolution

A recent article published in THE NATIONAL newspaper in the United Arab Emirates. An interesting point stated "... the Arab Spring itself is part of a global wave of unrest triggered ultimately by the ongoing disorderly collapse of globalisation in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008." http://www.thenational.ae/arts-culture/books/why-its-kicking-off-everywhere-the-contagion-of-revolution Read on!


The success of any learning I believe takes roots with a commitment to the cause and although the concept of “Socially Responsive Communication” may be a novice concept in this age and time it is certainly not unapproachable in the Gulf Region and South East Asia. In many ways it has always been part of the social fabric and daily practice. We just need to be reminded. Perhaps this is one reason why I have been so interested in teaching this along with ethics in design practice to my students, so when they leave AUS they are not only taught the tools of the trade but obtain an education that will remain with them in years to come and hopefully make them responsible citizens of the world.

My area of research has also become more defined over the course of my sabbatical and recent workshops with organizations like Memefest. Social advocacy has become an area of interest as we are confronted with prevalent issues in the region. What role do designers have to play and what percentage of our work is contribution to causes that are non-commercial or marketing based? How can design education help in preparing students to address issues from a perspective that is proposed by Memefest below "... social problems are treated as products and communications solution to this problems are treated as products as well. Most of this communication would officially fall under the umbrella term of 'social marketing'. This means a specific perspective through the lens of the market is employed for solving social issues." But can we use the exclusive perspective of the market to solve social problems with communication? A question proposed by Memefest and the premise to our Nijmegen workshop.

As Memefest workshop came to a close the groups started concentrating on the outcomes and production of the ‘maps’, some lend itself to be printed on t-shirts while others as posters. It was obvious that the work at hand has not ended but is just the start and many new versions and interpretations of the outcomes will be disseminated over the weeks and months. The factors prevailing was constructive dialogue, meaningful collaborations for future projects, common shared experience and immense respect for each others cultures, brought everyone together.





Shoaib Nabi Ahmad




United Arab Emirates


Visual Communication Designer, Product Designer

Working place

American University of Sharjah, UAE