Beirut: On Wednesday, the Goethe Institut organized a brunch to recap the previous activities of FANTASMEEM, present its upcoming process, and give an opportunity of networking for experts and alumni.
FANTASMEEM is a one-year program initiated by the Goethe-Institut in Lebanon adopting a holistic approach towards supporting the design industry; it aims to promote designers in capacity building and networking.
“FANTASMEEM is an opportunity for Goethe–Institut to go deeper into the working field of the promotion of creative industries and design, together with social and cultural entrepreneurship. We are helping the Lebanese designers to be entrepreneurial in order to be able to make a living out of their artistic talent,” said Imke Grimmer, head of project FANTASMEEM.
In details, the program involves capacity building; fostering cultural, social, and environmental entrepreneurship; and encouraging collaboration and knowledge sharing. It consists of independent training modules as well as several accompanying activities.
For instance, since the beginning of this year, selected designers have spent two weeks at an artist residency, job-shadowed industry experts and will now have the opportunity to apply for design project grants.
Rike Antori, one of the designers, noted his impression towards the residency.
“I am an architect and I live abroad, yet, I came back to Lebanon just for this program. I was looking for courses that would help me get into the market and FANTASMEEM had the most suitable content. All of the designers shared a bond for we weren’t competing but rather inspiring each other and sharing our knowledge and creativity,” he said.
During the brunch, designers chatted and looked back at the memories they created during their residency.
Up in the mountains, far away from the everyday life of the hectic city, the 18 designers spent two weeks at Hammana Artist House and worked on their project ideas. Whether they aim to discover the world of animation, develop a small-sized hydroponic growing system that can grow herbs and vegetables, or create design objects that are meaningful, creative, and accessible, they all left the residency with “beautiful memories and confidence."
A diverse team of trainers, mentors, and coaches coming from Beirut, Barcelona, Paris, and Berlin supported the designers to make their next individual steps. The workshops evolved around topics such as design thinking, storytelling & ideation, marketing strategies, financial planning, and intellectual property. The designers also benefited from individual coaching and mentoring sessions where they had the chance to discover new perspectives, strategies, and goals.
In addition to that, in March of this year, two Lebanese designers went to Berlin to improve their glassblowing technique and experience first-hand digital textile printing. Another two designers were supported to improve their skills in web and application design as well as in 3D techniques through job shadowing in Lebanon.
As for the next step, Goethe-Institut has launched FANTASMEEM Forward which aims as well to support designers to become creative entrepreneurs. Besides receiving a grant for a design project idea, the participants are continually accompanied by mentors, get access to working space and benefit from workshops which are adapted to the grant holders' needs. Designers, animators, and illustrators from the MENA region and residing in Lebanon can apply until May 12 through the Goethe-Institut in Lebanon’s website. Successful applicants will be supported from June until end of November 2019.
“We are looking for designers whose projects involve innovation in any design field, social impact, and environmental and sustainability aspects. The project should be feasible in terms of economic outreach with a detailed business plan. Additionally, it should help other individuals to benefit from it because we consider the people we are promoting as multipliers who will spread over the knowledge, the network, and the experience they gained during the programme,” Grimmer told Annahar.
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