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Misk Art Institute aims to support research in the creative sector by inviting researchers to participate in this open call. With the primary objective to promote and develop the field of research in the region, the white papers will supplement Misk Art Week and it’s forum Culture Recultivated which will be held on the first three days between December 3, 2020 - December 5, 2020.

In addition to the white papers, researchers may be asked to present their research in a pre-recorded video, which will be embedded and displayed online during the forum in connection to the relevant topics being discussed through talks.

Open call closed

Research has shown that the Cultural and Creative Sectors (CCS) can contribute to the revitalization of the economy and territories (including former industrial areas) with hybrid, dynamic economic and cultural exchanges fostering innovation. The available research indicates that the CCS are underdeveloped in Saudi Arabia; while there is great potential for growth and development, this is impossible without research to substantiate and quantify the potential.

Creatives are uniquely qualified to create new and relevant research paradigms that measure and assign reasonable quantitative and qualitative value to the impact of the CCS with appropriate and rigorous methods of assessment. Therefore, the papers submitted aim to provide as both a basis (and an expansion of any existing research) for relevant research that can be used by architects, designers, cultural experts and artists to encourage production and creation in Saudi Arabia.

Social sustainability[1] is an underrated and under-researched field which refers to the process for creating sustainable, successful places that promote wellbeing by understanding what people need from the places they live and work. It combines design of the physical realm with design of the social world – infrastructure to support social and cultural life, social amenities, systems for citizen engagement and space for people and places to evolve. The below topics and subtopics explore the ‘re-cultivated culture’ and social sustainability from a plethora of angles.

Papers are invited to focus on one of the following thematic categories or their intersections in the context of different fields, including Architecture, Design and Art studies.


The research subject invites and addresses local issues relating to the art’s expansion into public space as a point of departure for examining and discussing the dynamic between art and the public. Observing and researching from different disciplines with projects and artistic methodologies relating to public space – art history and artistic production, sociology, urbanism, research calls for an investigation of how the public influences art and vice versa. Papers can explore but is not restricted to the following sub-themes:

  • Art and accessibility: Who has the access and opportunity to produce art, who has access to consume art? What are the spheres where art exists and is ‘prioritized’, and what are the cultural barriers within the art industry within Saudi Arabia? How can digital spaces influence the different personas which exist online and offline and be expressed within art, as artists and consumers, especially in relation to self-censorship and boundaries?
  • How can new modes and models of sustainability be investigated within the local context of art?
  • Art for public consumption: What are the challenges and opportunities?


Design thinking continues to garner widespread recognition across a wide array of sectors, including but not limited to educational practices, business development, and social cohesion and development, in the non-profit, private, and public spheres alike. Overall, supporters of design thinking argue that given the discipline’s focus on human needs, aka those of the end-user, the research subject invites and addresses the positioning of design thinking tools and practices as a medium for increased empathy and potential social impact. Implementing design thinking within education and wider spheres will greatly develop problem-solving skills, critical thinking and innovation. This will, in turn, allow design thinking to be diffused in an interdisciplinary sense across most industries. Papers can explore but are not restricted to the following sub-themes:

  • How can we develop and explore individualism (and sense of self) and foster creativity and the ethical importance of these elements to avoid copycat culture?
  • How can we apply design thinking within a curriculum reformation?
  • How can we develop visual systems that are reflective of Saudi’s context?


The research subject invites and addresses urban planning and social dynamics within the context of Master plans and placemaking concepts that are effective and constructive and will benefit different groups of society and include plans for government housing and affordable housing. This should translate the sense of urgency in reshaping the current urban environment to the city’s residents. Papers can explore but are not restricted to the following sub-themes:

  • How can neighborhoods in Saudi cities become more inclusive from an architectural/social design perspective?
  • What does modernization mean in a local Saudi context in regards to urbanism?
  • How do you modernize the urban fabric of communities whilst preserving/protecting and developing the integrity of your cultural identity? What/who is left behind in the process?
  • How can the different Saudi cities develop their identity with attention to provinces and highlighting tools/recommendations that are environmentally friendly and sustainable whilst reducing visual pollution?
  • How can cultural heritage be managed? How can old historic spaces and structures be repurposed to become socially sustainable while also preserving the structure/space’s heritage?

[1] S.Woodcraft et al (2011) Design for Social Sustainability, Social Life, London

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