= We become creative.
Civil society in the MENA region is thriving. Thanks to a growing number of grassroots initiatives and community/ voluntary groups run and funded independently, by people of all ages, serving different dimensions of their society both online and offline.
In our efforts to document and support such initiatives, we came across ‘Jaffat El Aqlam’, an e-magazine that celebrates Middle Eastern artists, writers, musicians and creatives. Their goal is to be an independent publishing house that publishes work from the MENA region and by humans of MENA origin around the world, while simultaneously creating a haven for content to be published in the ‘world wild web’.
In conversation with the founder, Sarah Ahmed, Diplomantiq explored the thought process behind the initiative.
‘Well, it started as a blog where I put my online friends’ poetry/art, and the idea grew from there. It was back when I saw a lot of content on the WWW from all over the world, but rarely platforms dedicated for MENA humans.’ – Sarah Ahmed
‘Based on feedback from our readers, they’re more open to experimenting and collaborating with each other to create fresh content. People who weren’t confident with their work, or thought what they did was just a personal hobby told me that others saw their work and related to it or what to collaborate with them in the future. Honestly, that’s all that matters. if one person said they started creating because they saw something in Jaffat El Aqlam that made them grab a pen or a brush or experiment with something, we’re happy!’
The process behind the platform is very simple – creators submit their content through the website and it essentially becomes a part of the initiatives online magazine. All of this is done through word of mouth and social media as the organisation operates as a non-profit.
‘I think collaborating with organizations in the future would be nice. like contacting ma3azef (bands) and collaborating on a mixtape. That sorta thing… or Diplomantiq and organizing a photo walk / exploration trip or collaborating with artists in the region and set up art workshops etc…’
‘Like a new thing now is gifs, net art & image macros (alternative lit) and when we posted these, some people started experimenting and submitting – Ajmal shay (the most beautiful thing)! Our calls are basically for “anything that can be posted digitally”, encouraging people to think outside the traditional “I can’t paint” or “I can’t write a poem” mentality.’
‘Oh and one more thing, we like to promote GOOD start ups and initiatives. we have a couple on the website in our ‘rad feature‘ section, but yeah. Start-ups are always welcomed to email us & we’ll spread the word…’. – Sarah Ahmed
If you want to feature your project or initiative let us know as well – we are always on the lookout for such initiatives that play a role in improving societies around the world – contact us here and let us know about your work.
Remember to follow us on social media and share this with your networks to support.
By Musobaidi | 13th February 2016