Janice Wong is chef and owner at Singapore's famed 2am: dessertbar and 2am: lab. She was named named Asia's Best Pastry Chef in the World's 50 Best Restaurants awards and is the author of Perfection in Imperfection.
Jason Wee is an artist and writer whose practice favours polyphony over singular authority. He transforms singular histories and spaces into visual and written materials, paying particular attention to architectures, idealism and unexplored futures. He has exhibited internationally, is an accomplished writer and editor and is the founder of Grey Projects.
Teo Huey Ling’s works involve intricate and laborious art processes. Trained as a painter from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) Singapore, she later graduated with high distinction in both Ceramics and Drawings from the National Art School (NAS), Australia. She has exhibited in Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and France. She is a lecturer in Ceramics. She also has 15 years’ experience in NAFA Junior Arts, teaching and conducting large scale art camps for children. Since 2009, she has been a committee member on the Singapore Sculpture Society.
Dina Saadi experienced a journey of colourful contrast between the east and the west; she was born in Moscow and raised in Syria, and in 2012 she moved to Dubai to work as an Art director. In early 2015 she started her own design boutique and has been focused on her visual and street art work. Dina studied Visual Communications in Damascus University of Fine Arts and she has participated in many workshops, competitions and festivals across the Middle East, Europe and the US. She's won several awards and recognitions
Jill Magi is apoet, artist and academic. She joined the faculty of NYUAD in 2013, where she teaches writing through the study of textiles, as well as poetry and art.
Cities and narratives – official and unofficial – are the crux of much Magi’s work. She explores relationships to mother languages and national narratives and the migrations – linguistic and physical – that these articulate.
Cristiano Luchetti is an academic, artist and architect. Across his multidisciplinary practice, he explores contemporary urban contexts, globalised cities, new sustainable strategies of development and preadaptation, as well as vernacular and traditional architecture. As an artist he is concerned with aspects of urban phenomenology too intangible to be understood and expressed through the design and making of architecture. Across his 15 year architectural career he has lead the design of large scale residential, commercial and hospitality projects internationally. His artwork has been exhibited at SIKKA, Sharjah Art Foundation, and Sharjah Art Museum and he has taught for several European and North American universities.
Prabhanjan Kambadur has lived and worked in India, Singapore and the UAE. He completed his post graduate studies in Urban Design at National University of Singapore before embarking on an extensive career with RSP – a renowned Architectural Design firm head quartered in Singapore. With over 17 years of experience in urban design and architecture, Prabhanjan has proven critical skills in planning and delivering large scale and complex projects. His experience ranges from master planning cities and town centers, establishing urban design guidelines for integrated developments, design of technology parks to mixed used developments across the Middle East and Asia.
Zeina Hashem Beck is a prize-winning Lebanese poet. Her first collection, To Live in Autumn (The Backwaters Press, 2014), comprises 45 vignettes which of life in Lebanon, exploring more broadly sense of place and urban environments in the Middle East. The Daily Star has praised the book for “evoking the city more powerfully than many full-length novels”
Jonny Farrow is a multi-disciplinary artist working with sound as both a poetics and a material to research the liminal spaces of belief, memory, and history. Using concepts such as resonance, feedback, and transmission, Farrow sounds these spaces through various material and conceptual means in order to set them vibrating. He has shown and presented work in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Sweden, United Kingdom, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and elsewhere. He produces The Distract and Disable programme heard monthly on WGXC 90.7 FM in Hudson, NY, and worldwide via the internet. He holds a BA in English, an MA in music, an MFA in Studio Art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and currently lives and works in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Yasser Elsheshtawy is an academic and cultural commentator who runs the Urban Research Lab, authors dubaization.com and uaemodern.com and whose work explores the urban experience of city dwellers, focusing on urbanisation in developing societies, informal urbanism, urban history and environment-behaviour studies, particularly in Middle Eastern cities.
Cristiana de Marchi (born in Italy, lives and works in Beirut and Dubai) is an artist and a writer who, through performance, video, and installations of embroidered objects and tapestries, explores issues related to verbalisation and translation. Her works explore the correspondence between physical and nominal dimensions and her investigatory themes include the use of languages in propaganda, the transition between ‘territories’ and contexts and the redefinition of memory and identity. She was artist in residence at the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, USA and her work has been shown internationally.
Abdullah Al Saadi (1967) was born in Khorfakkan, UAE, where he lives and works. He graduated from United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain and holds a BA degree in English Literature. From ’94 to ’96 he studied Japanese painting at Kyoto Seika University in Japan. Al Saadi’s multidisciplinary practice includes painting, drawing, lengthy artist’s notebooks, collection and categorisation of found objects, and the invention of new alphabets. A great affinity with nature and rural life informs his practice, which explores the changing environment as well as personal and cultural history.
Ismail Al-Rifai depicts the story of the human being in emotional extremis, with works that are saturated with spiritual abundance – in bitterness and defeat, the existential struggle, in love and war, and in desolate isolation and noise. Al-Rifai’s work strives towards a deep listening to the self; depicting his soul and imagination reaching to the furthest edges of human experience.
Mukta Ahluwalia Bedi is the curator behind Urban:ness: Encountering the City, she has been working in the creative industry for over 20 years. After post-graduation from Lasalle, Singapore, she worked for a short while with Singapore Art Museum and later with the Intercultural Theatre Institute (ITI) team in various roles.
Ali Al Ameri is a Jordanian painter and poet of Palestinian origin. Since 2013, he has been the Art Director of Dubai International Art Symposium (DIAS), he is also a pre-eminent cultural commentator as head of the cultural and arts section at Emarat Al Youm, a daily Dubai newspaper. Al Ameri has participated at regional and international poetry festivals and his work has been translated into English, German, Italian, Spanish, French and Macedonian. He has published three poetry books: These are my Intuitions... This is my Vague Hand and White Eclipse and Enchanted Thread. He is a member of the Jordanian Writers’ Association, Arab Writers’ Union, Jordanian Press Association and Dubai Press Club.
Talmiz Ahmad has an esteemed, diverse diplomatic career, his extensive involvement and influence in Indo-Gulf relations granting a rare perspective on the region’s history. He has written and lectured extensively on political Islam, the politics and economics of West Asia, and energy security issues.