‘Outside the Box: Public Art in Qatar,’ is a two-day public forum commissioned by British Council in partnership with Qatar Museums and Qatar Foundation and curated by FutureEverything. 


Organised under the patronage of HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums, the forum will aim to initiate conversation that explores the history and present state of public art in Qatar, whilst sharing common ground for future collaborations and interventions in the public realm.

As our cities and homes continue to expand and develop and ever-increasing pace, we live, move, work, learn, and play in environments that are fast-paced, hyper-connected and technologically driven. In a digital age, despite being more connected than ever with unprecedented access to information, we are at the same time becoming more distant from our environments, society and fellow citizens. In an era of extreme globalisation, movement and technology, what is the meaning of community, cultural diversity, and place? Can art help us make sense of a changing world and challenging times? 

Outside the Box - Public Art in Qatar invites participants to think about encounters with art beyond the institution. The forum will include panel discussions, artists’ presentations, conversations and debates all exploring the meaning and role of art in ‘non-art’ domains. The aim of the forum is to help redefine and rethink art in the public realm, its audiences and role in mediating dialogue and changing perceptions of place. It will also share insights and best practice in inspiring future events and cross-sector collaboration.

The forum will bring together some of the most eminent thinkers and leading practitioners in the field to share ideas and work. Invited speakers will present and share a wide range of practices, from socially engaged work and activism, public art in the digital realm to developing and commissioning art for the public realm and social responsibility.

Participating speakers include: Abdulrahman Al Ishaq, Head of Public Art (Qatar Museums) Layla Ibrahim Bacha, Senior Art Specialist (Qatar Foundation) Nadim Karam (Artist)Sarah Collicott, (Artscape Management Ltd) Taghrid Choucair Vizoso, Producer (Shubbak Festival) Hiwa K (Artist) Charles Quick (Artist) Anita McKeown (SMARTlab Inclusive Design) Leon Palmer/Heinrich&Palmer (Artist) Aseel Al Yaqoub (Artist) and many more

This event is free to attend and is aimed at artists, architects, developers, policy makers, museum and cultural organisations, academics, commissioners and people with a interest in the future of public art in Qatar.

The forum will take place over two days with the day one main session hosted in the impressive auditorium of the National Museum of Qatar with day two being located in Qatar National Library, Education City. English and Arabic translation services will be available for both main sessions.


This forum has been generously supported by UCL, Qatar.


About Qatar Museums

Qatar Museums (QM) connects the museums, cultural institutions and heritage sites in Qatar and creates the conditions for them to thrive and flourish. It centralizes resources and provides a comprehensive organization for the development of museums and cultural projects, with a long-term ambition of creating a strong and sustainable cultural infrastructure for Qatar. Under the patronage of His Highness the Amir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and led by its Chairperson, Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, QM is consolidating Qatar’s efforts to become a vibrant centre for the arts, culture and education, in the Middle East and beyond.

Since its foundation in 2005, QM has overseen the development of the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA), Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Fire Station: Artists in Residence, The National Museum of Qatar and the Al Zubarah World Heritage Site Visitor Centre, among other projects. Future projects include the launch of the highly anticipated 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum.

QM is committed to instigating Qatar’s future generation of arts, heritage and museum professionals. At its core is a commitment to nurturing artistic talent, creating opportunities and developing the skills to service Qatar’s emerging art economy. By means of a multi-faceted program and public art initiatives, QM seeks to push the boundaries of the traditional museum model and create cultural experiences that spill out onto the streets and seek to involve a wide audience. Through a strong emphasis on originating art and culture from within and fostering a spirit of national participation, QM is helping Qatar find its own distinctive voice in today’s global cultural debates.

Qatar Foundation - Unlocking Human Potential

Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF) is a non-profit organization that supports Qatar on its journey to becoming a diversified and sustainable economy. QF strives to serve the people of Qatar and beyond by providing specialized programs across its innovation-focused ecosystem of education, research and development, and community development.

QF was founded in 1995 by His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Father Amir, and Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, who shared the vision to provide Qatar with quality education. Today, QF’s world-class education system offers lifelong learning opportunities to community members as young as six months through to doctoral level, enabling graduates to thrive in a global environment and contribute to the nation’s development.

QF is also creating a multidisciplinary innovation hub in Qatar, where homegrown researchers are working to address local and global challenges. By promoting a culture of lifelong learning and fostering social engagement through programs that embody Qatari culture, QF is committed to empowering the local community and contributing to a better world for all.

For a complete list of QF’s initiatives and projects, please visit:www.qf.org.qa


Day: 1

Date: Saturday, 22 February 2020.

Venue: National Museum of Qatar Auditorium. 





09.00 Welcome Note: British Council Qatar

Opening Keynote Spaces of Transformation: Qatar Through Public Art

Speaker: Abdulrahman Al Ishaq, Head of Public Art, Qatar Museums


Panel Discussion Crossing Boundaries: On the role of art in the public realm and beyond the institution

Speakers:Taghrid Choucair Vizoso, Producer, Shubbak Festival

Marilena Koutsoukou, Director, Muse/Lab,

Hiwa K, Artist

Sebastian Betancur-Montoya, Artist

Chair: Claire Tymon, Executive Director, FutureEverything


Artist talk Practicing Place: On the changing nature of public engagement

Artist: Charles Quick, Artist/ Curator, Professor of Public Art Practice, University of Central Lancashire 

11.30 Prayer Break followed by Lunch

Panel Discussion Turning the Place Over: (Re)Shaping the City. On playful smart cities, space, performativity and activism 

Speakers: Aseel AlYaqoub, Artist

Shawanda Corbett, Artist

Megan O’Shea, Producer and Consultant, Contemporary Art Society

Sarah Foryame Lawler, Curatorial Assistant, Qatar Museums

Benedict Barbour, Qatar Museums

Chair: Dr Fodil Fadli, Head of Department, Architecture & Urban Planning, College of Engineering, Qatar University 


Interactive Session: Space to Create: On enabling creative spaces and opportunities for artists and art communities

Artist: Nadim Karam, Artist/ Architect

14.50 Break

Artist Case Study

Artist: Fatma Al Sheibani


In Conversation But Is It Art?: Technology and art in the ‘smart city’; art in the digital realm

Claudia Costa, Director, Light Me Lusail Festival

Dr Anita McKeown, NAISC Skellig Kerry Diaspora Network Fellow, SMARTlab Inclusive Design Research Centre, University College Dublin

Leon Palmer, Artist, Heinrich&Palmer


Closing Note & Inroduction to Day 2

Speakers: Abdulrahman Al Ishaq, Head of Public Art, Qatar Museums

Irini Papadimitriou, Creative Director, FutureEverything

16.45 End of Forum Day 1

Day: 2

Date: Sunday, 23 February 2020.

Venue: Qatar National Library, Education City.



12.30 Registration

Welcome Note

Speaker: Hisham E. Nourin, Executive Director of Strategy, Administration and Projects, Community Development Department, Qatar Foundation


Opening Keynote Public Art in the Arab World: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Speaker: Layla Ibrahim Bacha, Senior Art Specialist, Qatar Foundation


Panel Discussion The Art Of Making Places: How art and multidisciplinary approaches in the public space can influence social, cultural and economic conditions

Speakers: Priya Prakash, Founder and CEO, Design for Social Change

Laura Barlow, Senior Curator, Qatar Museums

Charles Quick, Professor of Public Art Practice, University of Central Lancashire

Marco Bruno, Architect and Associate Professor, VCU

Dr Georgios Papaioannou, Associate Professor, Museum Studies, UCL

Chair: Irini Papadimitriou, Creative Director, FutureEverything 


Artist Talk Public Art: Who needs it?

Artist: Nils Norman, Artist

15.20 Break

Interactive Session Co-designing a collective toolkit for public art in Qatar; with local case studies

Speakers: Layla Ibrahim Bacha, Senior Art Specialist, Qatar Foundation

Abdullatif Al Jasmi, Director of Cultural Heritage Protection, Qatar Museums

Fatima Mohamed Fawzy M A Hassan, Design Manager, Msheireb Properties

Tariq Al Jaidah, Managing Director, Al-Jaidah Brothers 

Suzy Sikorski, Junior Specialist, Christie’s Middle East

Amna Ahmad H B Al Bader, Ashghal

Chair: Irini Papadimitriou, Creative Director, FutureEverything

17.20 Break

Artist Case Study


Panel Discussion Creating Policy for Change: Best practice approaches and strategic partnerships on commissioning and financing art in the public realm

Speakers: Susie Thornberry, Assistant Director, Imperial War Museums

Sarah Collicott, Founder/Director, Artscape Management Ltd

Eng. Moza Al Harami, Design Manager, Supreme Committee for Delivery  Legacy

Chair: Larissa Buchholz, Assistant Professor, Dept of Communication Studies, North Western University


Final Remarks

Abdulrahman Al Ishaq, Head of Public Art, Qatar Museums and Layla Bacha, Senior Art Specialist, Qatar Foundation

19.40 Forum Ends