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Studio Safar

The Inherent Politics of Design


Thursday, October 27, 2022
5:30 pm


In-person Event

Michigan Theater
603 E Liberty St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104


Penny Stamps Speaker Series
Open to the public
Free of charge
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Studio Safar is a design agency and publisher with offices in Beirut and, now, Tiohtia:ke (Montréal). The studio adopts an experimental approach to design. Evoked by its name, the studio is concerned with notions of communication across cultural and linguistic barriers. Projects span different media and design frameworks such as communication strategies, publications, visual identities, exhibitions and sets, and websites. Most of the work services the extended cultural sector, and is engaged in social and political discourse. 

As opposed to having a signature style, Studio Safar is committed to creating singular design solutions for each collaboration. While drawing on a number of artistic and cultural influences and inspirations, research remains central to the design process. The studio collaborates with a network of creatives from a wide array of fields. The studio publishes the biannual and bilingual (Arabic/​English) design and visual culture journal, Safar. The magazine answers to the lack of critical writings on design in the global south, and it works towards acknowledging designers as active agents of cultural production. The studio is also expanding into publishing books on design in the region.

Design is inherently political— it shapes our cities, our homes, bodies, and minds. It curates, connects, arranges, and defines. And, perhaps above all, it carries the power to shape our responses to challenges big and small, local and global, short and long term. This talk comes from an urge to decolonize visual culture from decades of European and American hegemony. 

Studio Safar are in residence at Riverbank Arts in Flint, where the exhibition Flint ✕ Safar opens on October 14th. On October 15th, Studio Safar will be releasing Flint Magazine: Issue 3 at the Detroit Art Book Fair.

In partnership with Flint Magazine and Riverbank Arts, with support from The Office of Research and Economic Development and the Chancellor’s Office at The University of Michigan – Flint. 

Series presenting partners: Detroit Public Television and PBS Books. Media partner: Michigan Radio.


Content Notice

In accordance with the University of Michigan’s Standard Practice Guidelines on Freedom of Speech and Artistic Expression, the Penny Stamps Speaker Series does not censor our speakers or their content. The content provided is intended for adult audiences and does not reflect the views of the University of Michigan or Detroit Public Television.