What support do designers in Lebanon need to unleash their creative potential and develop their business ideas? FANTASMEEM – a design program implemented by Goethe-Institut in Lebanon aims to support designers in capacity building and networking. Since the beginning of this year 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.
On March 20 Goethe-Institut organised a brunch to look back at the previous activities, present the upcoming projects and meet with experts and alumni.
FANTASMEEM aims to support the design industry in Lebanon which belongs to one of the fastest growing economic sectors worldwide. This support involves capacity building, fostering cultural / social / environmental entrepreneurship and encouraging collaboration and knowledge sharing. FANTASMEEM consists of independent training modules as well as several accompanying activities.
Up in the mountains, far away from the everyday life of the hectic city, 18 designers from Lebanon 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”. “It was a life-changing experience” said one of the designers. Another commented: “I learned more in two weeks that in three years of study”.
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. “It is a support system that has been created which goes far beyond this place and the two weeks”, summarized one participant.
Shadowing an established designer or participating in a training enables young designers to develop creative or managerial skills. It provides the opportunity to learn from best-practice, to grow one’s network and to prepare possible future collaborations. In March 2019 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.
WHAT IS COMING NEXT? FANTASMEEM FORWARD
Goethe-Institut just launched FANTASMEEM Forward, which supports designers to become creative entrepreneurs. Besides receiving a grant for a design project idea, the participants are continually accompanied by mentors, get access to a 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.
On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH) and the Goethe-Institut promote the emerging market of cultural and creative industries in Africa and in the Middle East.