Dystopia to Utopia: Our Changing Cultural Landscape
An Ithra-hosted virtual debate discussing a post-COVID world

On Thursday, June 18, at 8:00 pm KSA (GMT+3), Ithra’s virtual debate, Dystopia to Utopia: Our Changing Cultural Landscape, will address ongoing shifts in our current social, political, and economic landscape from an Arab World perspective. Partnering with UNESCO, Ithra’s debate is an extension of UNESCO’s ResiliArt debate global movement.

The cultural sector around the world has felt the impact of the pandemic and has had to adjust significantly to this change. How do we restart the creative economy? Moving forward from this dystopian moment, what are the roles of culture institutions, artists, governments and the private sector in achieving sustainability? What are their roles in safeguarding our creative society and fostering productivity and growth?

The goal of the 90-minute debate moderated by Dubai-based writer and curator Laura Egerton, is to reimagine the role that art and cultural institutions will play in the production, consumption and distribution of culture and the arts in a post-pandemic world.

To watch the livestream at 8:00 pm, please click here


Shaikha Hala Al Khalifa

Director General, Culture and Arts at BACA

The director of the Culture and Arts Directorate at the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities. She is a practicing artist who exhibits her work both locally and internationally. She was the Head of Art Education at the Museum of Islamic Art Qatar Museums Authority from 2008-2011. Read more.


Dr. Linda Komaroff

Department Head, Art of the Middle East, LACMA.

An Islamic art specialist with a doctorate from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, Linda Komaroff has been at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) since 1995. In 2002, Komaroff led LACMA’s acquisition of the Madina Collection of Islamic Art, one of the largest collections of Middle East Art worldwide. Read more.


Ahmed Mater

Saudi Artist

A medical doctor by profession, Ahmed Mater is an artist and producer at the forefront of the Middle East cultural sector, and a significant voice documenting contemporary life in Saudi Arabia and its position in a global context. Read more.


Akram Za’Atari

Lebanese Artist

A filmmaker, photographer, archival artist and curator. Zaatari has produced more than 50 films and videos interconnected by the theme of documenting political history and war. Zaatari and his work have played a critical role in developing the infrastructure of Beirut’s contemporary art scene. Read more.


Dr. Nada Shabout

Professor of Art History and the Director of the Contemporary Arab

and Muslim Cultural Studies Initiative (CAMCSI) at the University of North Texas.

Is the founding president of the Association for Modern and Contemporary Art from the Arab World, Iran and Turkey (AMCA).

Shabout has published numerous articles on modern and contemporary Arab and Iraqi art. Read more.


Laura Egerton

Dubai-based writer and curator

Laura Egerton has been working with the UAE arts community since 2006 with high profile organizations such as

Art Dubai, Louvre Abu Dhabi and Alserkal Avenue. Originally from London, Laura moved to Dubai as part of the founding team behind Art Dubai,

curating art projects during the inaugural edition and going on to manage important educational aspects of the art fair such as the Global Art Forum, Art Week,

the Abraaj Group Art Prize and the art fair’s internship program. Read more.