FORBES LIFE Cre­ativ­ity Through The Unique Lense Of Tan­ween


Forbes Middle East - - CONTENTS - BY FOUZIA AZZAB

In Oc­to­ber, draped in a new look, Dhahran in the East­ern Prov­ince of Saudi Ara­bia wel­comed vis­i­tors from all over the kingdom and abroad to at­tend Tan­ween’s se­cond an­nual Cre­ativ­ity Sea­son, or­ga­nized by the King Ab­du­laziz Cen­ter for World Cul­ture, Ithra.

Tan­ween Cre­ativ­ity Sea­son is the most prom­i­nent event for cre­ativ­ity and in­no­va­tion in the re­gion. This year it hosted 232 pro­grams dis­play­ing cul­ture, arts and science, in­clud­ing ex­hi­bi­tions, the­atri­cal per­for­mances, work­shops and sem­i­nars, all fo­cused on the con­cept of play as a tool to bring to­gether learn­ing and en­ter­tain­ment.

While vis­it­ing the city dur­ing the three-week event, you can’t help but no­tice the lime­stone moun­tain that the city is named af­ter, tow­er­ing 100 me­ters high in the heart of Dhahran, where the King Fahd Univer­sity of Pe­tro­leum and Min­er­als is cur­rently lo­cated. Bring­ing to­gether cul­ture and science since 1932, when oil was dis­cov­ered there for the first time, it has since be­come a global cen­ter of oil pro­duc­tion. Saudi Aramco’s main head­quar­ters is lo­cated here.

Dhahran is a cul­tural des­ti­na­tion for vis­i­tors and busi­ness­men from the Kingdom or abroad. “Tan­ween Sea­son at­tracted more than 100,000 vis­i­tors and par­tic­i­pants, who in­ter­acted with the ex­perts and had a pos­i­tive global ex­pe­ri­ence,” said Ab­dul­lah Al-Rashid, Pro­gram di­rec­tor at Ithra. “It saw more than 70 work­shops aim­ing to im­prove the de­sign and cre­ativ­ity lev­els of all par­tic­i­pants in­clud­ing de­sign­ers, pro­fes­sion­als, and stu­dents.

“Tan­ween rein­tro­duced ‘play’ as a cre­ative con­cept, with four cat­e­gories—play and tech­nol­ogy, play meth­ods, play tools, and play space—as a unique and in­ter­ac­tive theme in a mo­ti­va­tional and en­cour­ag­ing en­vi­ron­ment of cre­ativ­ity.”

With many vis­i­tors, the halls were a flurry of ac­tiv­ity. Panel dis­cus­sions were held ev­ery­where with more than 35 par­tic­i­pat­ing speak­ers and in­flu­encers in science, tech­nol­ogy, cre­ative think­ing, and art. This in­cluded the Saudi in­ves­tiga­tive pho­tog­ra­pher and in­flu­encer, Tas­neem Al­sul­tan, who shared her ex­pe­ri­ences and told the sto­ries be­hind a col­lec­tion of her pho­tos. “They tell the sto­ries of mostly Arab women whom I met. Each woman tells her own story of joy and suf­fer­ing through her pic­ture,” said Al­sul­tan. Le­banese de­signer and ar­chi­tect, Tarek ElKas­souf, also shared his ex­pe­ri­ence sim­pli­fy­ing how to deal with com­pli­cated as­pects of life through easy and fun ar­chi­tec­tural meth­ods.

On the other side of the cen­ter, more than 13 in­ter­ac­tive ex­hi­bi­tions were held, where an elite group of thought and cul­ture mak­ers gath­ered from all over the world to share their knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ences with vis­i­tors. In a meet and greet event, the au­di­ence had the chance to ex­clu­sively meet leg­endary foot­baller, Thierry Henry, and were of­fered the chance to lis­ten and par­tic­i­pate in his talk held on stage, un­der the name “Play”.

“Prepa­ra­tions for this sea­son were care­fully ex­e­cuted through a se­lected va­ri­ety of work­shops cov­er­ing more than 23 fields. The ‘Play’ con­cept was adopted as this year’s theme, be­ing a key com­po­nent of cre­ativ­ity and ideas for cre­at­ing con­tent crafted lo­cally with global value and im­pact, tar­get­ing spe­cial­ists and pro­fes­sion­als,” said Al-Rashid.

Tan­ween Sea­son be­gan with var­i­ous art ex­hi­bi­tions by artists from all over the world, in­clud­ing in par­tic­u­lar “The Lu­mi­nar­ium” ex­hi­bi­tion by Bri­tish de­signer Alan Parkin­son, show­cas­ing struc­tures in­spired by Is­lamic ar­chi­tec­ture com­bin­ing the cre­ativ­ity of ar­chi­tec­tural de­sign and re­flec­tions of var­i­ous col­ors. An­other unique show was “Kalei­do­scope” by Ka­rina Smigla-Bobin­ski, which was a mix­ture of as­tound­ing art and de­tailed knowl­edge of col­ors and their con­no­ta­tions in an at­mos­phere re­flect­ing the re­la­tion­ship be­tween ap­plied arts and vis­ual ef­fects.

Marked with diver­sity that doesn’t al­low for bore­dom, the Tan­ween events of­fer tar­geted ac­tiv­i­ties for all age groups, in­clud­ing a col­lec­tion of the­atri­cal and mu­si­cal per­for­mances of a uni­ver­sal na­ture, such as “The Wiz­ard of Oz,” adapted from the clas­sic Hol­ly­wood film of the same ti­tle. There was also a "Gi­ant Pup­pets" show, based on the works of the artist Miguel Án­gel Martín, a cre­ator of gi­ant and mo­bile sculp­tures. The "Gi­ant Pup­pets" show was also

held at the cor­niche of Kho­bar city.

Play­ing is syn­ony­mous with hav­ing fun, so we de­cided to share some sci­en­tific ex­pe­ri­ences of­fered for the chil­dren and the youth in a mix­ture of en­ter­tain­ment and quan­ti­ta­tive games.

“ADA” was an in­ter­ac­tive art game where air crea­tures filled with he­lium floated freely in a room, simulating the move­ments of the plan­ets and gal­ax­ies in space. Greg Foot’s Ex­treme Sports Science Show, hosted by Greg Foot, took us on a jour­ney watch­ing sports and games vary­ing from dar­ing stunt per­for­mances and high jumps.

Once the game pro­grams were fin­ished, we went up to the 16th and last floor of the Ithra build­ing to en­joy some fresh air filled with a sweet candy fla­vor. Up there, we en­joyed meringue made from the light­est air gelatin. It was a dif­fer­ent and de­li­cious ex­pe­ri­ence.

Tan­ween Sea­son cu­rated many ac­tiv­i­ties for chil­dren com­pared to other pro­grams of­fered for other age groups. The event of­fered a col­lec­tion of in­ter­ac­tive and en­ter­tain­ing pro­grams, such as the “Magic Boxes”—a pup­pet show pre­sented in boxes us­ing an­i­ma­tion tech­niques. Other pro­grams in­clude “Box Wars”, where chil­dren had a card­board bat­tle filled with fun and ex­cite­ment, on the fi­nal day of the event, with card­board weapons, planes, and shields. There was also an Es­cape Room ad­ven­ture, where chil­dren and their par­ents had to carry out var­i­ous tasks in a spe­cific amount of time while fig­ur­ing out clues and search­ing for ev­i­dence to be able to es­cape the room.

The ac­tiv­i­ties and pro­grams de­signed for in­clu­sion, didn’t ne­glect any seg­ments of so­ci­ety. A num­ber of pro­grams were cu­rated for the visu­ally and hear­ing im­paired. Blind Foot­ball was pro­vided by Soc­cer Barcelona Youth Academy in cel­e­bra­tion of World Sight Day. It in­cluded hours of deep pro­fes­sional foot­ball train­ing fol­lowed by a match for the blind and visu­ally im­paired par­tic­i­pants. As for the hear­ing im­paired, the “Ex­plor­ing Za­makan through Touch” pro­gram was pro­vided, where they get to dis­cover the di­men­sions of time and space through the works of mod­ern Saudi artists.

By the time the cur­tains closed on Tan­ween, Ithra had wel­comed around a mil­lion vis­i­tors from the Kingdom and abroad. “With a mil­lion vis­i­tors there are now a mil­lion-knowl­edge seek­ers who ex­pe­ri­enced hours of sat­is­fy­ing their cog­ni­tive cu­rios­ity and de­vel­op­ing their skills while refin­ing their sense of cre­ativ­ity and achiev­ing a cre­ative trans­for­ma­tion in their thought method,” con­cluded Fa­tima Al-Rashid, Act­ing Di­rec­tor of the Ithra Cen­ter.

Tan­ween Sea­son at­tracted over 100,000 vis­i­tors and par­tic­i­pants in 2019.

The Wiz­ard of Oz show

Foot­baller Thierry Henry meets his young fans.

ADA: an in­ter­ac­tive art game

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