Madeline’s VIP tour of the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s Masterpieces

This is the first in our series of blog posts written by Mediators at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Creating a talented team of Mediators at the Louvre Abu Dhabi

In the blogs the Mediators will talk about their experiences of our training, delivering tours and working at the landmark universal museum during its inaugural period.

The first blog is by Madeline.

VIP Masterpieces of the LAD tour

Guests: The former President of Ukraine, Mr. Viktor Yushchenko, the former First Lady Mrs. Kateryna Mykhaylivna Yushchenko and their daughter Ms. Sophia Yushchenko

The Louvre Abu Dhabi was celebrating its grand VIP opening on the 10th of November, many esteemed visitors walked through its doors from the morning till the late evening. The mediation team was prepared and honoured to receive the guests, excited to show them the wonders in the galleries within.

I was given the honour to Guide the tour of the Former Ukrainian President, Mr. Viktor Yushchenko, his honourable wife the former First Lady Mrs. Kateryna Mykhaylivna Yushchenko and their daughter Ms. Sophia Yushchenko. We walked into the galleries, standing in the Grand vestibule the journey began; exploring a brief introduction of the museum chapters, explaining how this part of the museum represented a small introduction into the chapters and tells us the story of civilisations. As we moved through the chapters, Mr. Yushchenko and the former First Lady were taken by the beauty of the narrative, which slowly revealed the footsteps of civilisation across the world and their influence on one another. Their brilliant daughter Ms. Sophia was very excited to see artworks such as the Door panels with geometric motifs from Egypt, which affirmed her knowledge of the Almond shaped motifs in inlaid ivory as she knew were characteristic of Mamluk decorative art.

It was a journey which ended with beautiful and stimulating conversation with the former royal family under the dome; the tour was vibrant, enlightening and mind opening. We explored artworks from the beginning of civilisations, all the way to abstract and contemporary artists, such as the Russian artist Kandinsky, which was one of their favourites. It was a beautiful journey around the museum, and I hope to be honoured to see them again soon.

Transition: Emerging Middle Eastern Artists

Last Wednesday, we were welcomed by the Menier Gallery to the exhibition opening of Transition: Emerging Middle Eastern Artists. The three week long exhibition is running from the 15th August to the 2nd of August in the South East London gallery. The works pertain to how the Arab region has seen a transition both collectively and individually.

The diverse artworks range from calligraphy, sculptures, paintings and photography, to neon light and video installations, live performances and zines. The works prompt the viewers to engage in a dialogue about how artists from the Arab region are transitioning through life.

Over 30 emerging Middle Eastern Artists participated in the exhibition, a highlight of which exhibition is Ayham Jbar’s ‘Two Worlds’. The surreal collages merge iPhone photos of Damascus with vintage illustrations of space. In his works, Ayham shares his love of science fiction films, stories and films and uses the mix of mediums and eras to draw parallels to the Syrian civil war.

These works of art showcase a diverse and refreshing selection of work that encourages the viewer to engage in a dialogue about the power of connection and the complexities of change geographically, personally or artistically.

الاستعداد للإحتفاء باليوم الوطني للمملكة العربية السعوديّة!

يوم 22 أغسطس 2017 في معرض أكسبو كازاخستان، أستانا ستقام فعاليات تجسد احتفالات اليوم الوطني للمملكة العربية السعودية حيث سيعرض الجناح السعودي عروض مختلفة منها مشهد العرس الشعبي وعرض الأزياء السعودي وكتابة الخط العربي والرسم المباشر وتقديم الأكلات الشعبية وكذلك تقديم هدايا للزوار والتي ترمز لأهم المعالم الإسلامية في المملكة العربية السعودية وغيرها مما يُظهر الهوية الوطنية والثقافة السعودية بمختلف مزاياها.

A Month of Expo 2017!

Expo 2017 opened four weeks ago in Astana, the new capital city of Kazakhstan, and what a month it’s been!

The Expo is themed around Future Energy and features pavilions from 115 participating countries and 22 international organizations.

TalentS|KCA have designed and developed the Pavilion for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and we’re also managing the operations of the Pavilion during the three-month event.

We oversaw the recruitment of over 40 local Guides and comprehensively trained them before the Expo opened, helping them develop as a team and prepare for their new roles. We couldn’t be more impressed with them! They have become an incredible team and are continually wowing us with their dedication and enthusiasm.

The KSA Pavilion was amongst the top 10 most visited pavilions within the first 10 days of Expo and we are continuing to welcome an astonishing number of visitors. Within the first three weeks of Expo, over 100,000 people had visited the Pavilion and today has been our busiest day to date with well over 20,000 visitors!

Check back here for regular updates about the event and follow SaudiExpo2017 on Twitter and Instagram for the latest happenings, KSA facts and pictures!

TalentS|KCA return to Dubai for Think Science 2017

Next week the TalentS|KCA team are returning to Dubai for the annual Think Science Fair to wow visitors with explosive science shows and demonstrations.

The three-day event in the heart of Dubai provides an opportunity for students to engage with industry professionals, learn about cutting-edge research, try hands-on demonstrations, and be inspired by large scale science shows.

Think Science aims to develop the science skills of young people in the UAE and connect them with the wider world of technology and industry, showcasing the wealth of opportunities open to them within the sector.

We were at the show last year, delivering an action packed science show.  Think Science 2016 attracted over 10,000 visitors and this year’s show is set to be even bigger.

Gaetan and Khaled will be back at the show again this year, inspiring visitors with daily explosive and phenomena-based science shows during the fair. This year we have also developed a series of science busking activities and trained volunteers to present them throughout the event.

The show runs from the 18-20th April at the Dubai World Trade Centre. For further information see the poster below (it even features our very own Gaetan).

طباعة ثلاثية الأبعاد

هي احدى طرق التصنيع وفي العادة أسرع و أسهل في الاستعمال من التكنولوجيات الأخرى. حيث يمكن تصنيع مجسم معقد جدًا بخامات مختلفة في مجالات عديدة منها الطيران والفضاء والهندسة والطب والبناء والتعليم والترفيه، وطباعة الطعام والإكسسوارت. فقط من خلال تصميمها على جهاز الحاسوب ثم طباعتها على طابعة ثلاثية الأبعاد.

تقنية طابعة ثلاثية الأبعاد هي تقنية ثورية، لثورة صناعية جديدة ربما تغير العالم وتقضي على الفقر..

أمثلة تمت طباعتها بإستخدام طابعة ثلاثية الأبعاد :


Repurposing Technology from Comets to Hotel Corners

In 2004 the European Space Agency launched the Rosetta probe into space. It travelled 317 million miles through the universe before reaching its destination, Comet 67P, 10 years later.

On board Rosetta was Philae, a lander module with a mini laboratory. Inside this mini-lab was a mass spectrometer, a gas analyser the size of a shoebox, there to decipher the chemical make-up of comet 67P.

Back on Earth the knowledge and techniques acquired during the development of the instruments in the mini-lab have been applied to a more everyday use. A company called Insect Research Systems teamed up with ESA scientists and included the specific mass spectrometry technology in a small, portable device to quickly and cheaply detect bed bugs in hotels.

Bed bugs present an enormous problem in the hotel industry and they are becoming increasingly resistant to insecticides. There is currently no way of spotting an infestation before the parasites start to bite and getting rid of them is a lengthy and expensive process for the hotel, often with ongoing consequences for their reputation.

The space-inspired bed-bug detecting technology will sniff out pheromones, chemical signatures released by the insects in real-time. The device is currently being trialled in a pilot study, but looks set to become commercially available soon and provide a proactive way for hoteliers to screen rooms for the critters.

Discovering art through sensory play

Making museum experiences and programming engaging, interactive and inclusive is a core strand to TalentS|KCA work. And so, we were delighted to start working with Mathaf, the Arab Museum of Modern Art in Qatar, on a project that encompassed this.

The project began in the early stages of 2016 and saw the development of a sensory toolkit for a family program called, Ektashif: Art through the senses. Ektashif, meaning ‘discover’ in Arabic, encouraged families to interpret and engage with Jassim al-Zaini’s painting Turathiaat on display in Mathaf.

We worked with the Museum to develop a program which encompassed all of the senses, creating an enlarged image of the painting which became a textured play-mat that children could step into and explore. Physical objects, props and puzzles relating to elements in the painting could be handled, scent pots gave off scents of traditional spices and aromatics associated with Qatar, and an audio guide (in English and Arabic) and musical instruments provided opportunities for auditory engagement by families.

Sensory toolkit in front of Jassim al-Zaini’s painting Turathiaat at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha. (Picture by Angela Ruggles.)

The latest edition of Multaqa, the journal for Gulf Museum Educators, profiled the project. This edition of the twice-yearly published journal focused on the central question of, How do intentionally designed, participatory activities enhance the visitor experience across museums in the Gulf region? 

The article shares the development process of the project, and how this was guided by three core aims of removing barriers faced by families, extending engagement and making learning about Qatari artwork and culture more meaningful and relevant for families.

Evaluation revealed that 15% of the adults who participated in the program had never visited a museum or art gallery before, revealing the power that a family activity can have in attracting first time visitors of all ages. Interestingly, all visitors appeared to intuitively know how to interact with the sensory toolkit- sitting down, removing their shoes and interacting with the sensory objects and activities.

The article also includes quotes from participants, revealing their engagement with the artwork:

“My son said ‘this looks like my Grandma Fatima’s house’… she has a box similar to this box and she has most of these elements in her majlis.”

(Interview, Qatari Mother)

Read the full article here:



Fun at NAMES

Abigail and Khulood recently went to the 5th biennial NAMES conference in Jordan.

The North Africa and Middle East Science centers network (NAMES) celebrates science centers in the region and works to foster collaboration between science centers, informal science educators and outreach programs.

The NAMES network gets together every two years for a conference and this year it took place in Amman, hosted by the Children’s Museum, Jordan. The conference had an explosive start, with an unexpected visit from Zing- a blue alien- who delivered an interactive and fire-filled message of sustainability.

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The NAMES organisers put together an enormously diverse and experienced array of speakers who spoke passionately about projects they were involved with in the region and elsewhere in the world.

A TalentS|KCA highlight was undoubtedly when Mishkat’s Reham joined a panel to discuss how to build community aspirations through creative and effective public engagement. Reham spoke passionately about her work at Mishkat, engaging students and families with the center’s before their visit, and how the varied live programming at the center is essential for generating repeat visits.


During the conference’s nocturne event, we got the chance to visit the Children’s Museum in Jordan and Once Upon A Shape, a gallery we designed for the museum! Once Upon A Shape is an interactive gallery for under 7s which encourages learning through sensory play. The gallery was opened in 2014 by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah and we were delighted to hear how much families (and staff) enjoyed being in the space!

2016 marked the 10th anniversary of NAMES, and like all birthdays should be, it was celebrated with cake!

See more of the conference with our Storify story