About the exhibition

The Qatar America Institute for Culture is pleased to present Research Labs, an exhibition from VCUarts Qatar, on view beginning February 2nd through summer 2023. The exhibition, which is part of an annual exchange between VCUarts Richmond and VCUarts Qatar, features groundbreaking projects from eleven teams of faculty, students, and alumni.

Research Labs highlights a cross-section of collaborative research, including projects exploring Arabic and cultural typography, art law, emergent technology, graphic publishing, nanotechnology and textiles, pedagogy, product design, sound design, and statistical analysis. 

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Explore selected works

Curated by
Simone Muscolino
Associate Professor and Director, Art Foundation
VCUarts Qatar

Michael Hersrud
Associate Professor, Graphic Design
VCUarts Qatar

About the Lab
Sonic Jeel is a collaborative initiative investigating sound, noise,
elec­tronic music, and audiovisual media within the context of Qatar and the Gulf region. We celebrate the interplay of the sonic and the graph­ic toward a new generation of interdisciplinary makers. Our aim is to be a platform for exploratory research, production and distribu­tion of experimental sonic work in support of the growing creative industry in Doha.

Recognizing an opportunity to originate a contemporary sonic culture in Qatar, Simone Muscolino and Michael Hersrud co-developed Sonic Jeel (Jeel means ‘generation’ in Arabic) in 2018. Coming primarily from a visual creative practice, the inquiry began as a playful curiosity into sound and transformed into a larger research endeavor through collaborations with local and international creative communities, the development of a sonic lab space and the creation of new course of­ferings at VCUarts Qatar.

Curated by
Basma Hamdy
Associate Professor, Graphic Design
VCUarts Qatar

About the Lab
TypeAraby is an experimental platform dedicated to the creation, preservation, and evolution of Arabic typography and type design. It was initiated by the Graphic Design Department at VCUarts Qatar as a laboratory space for cultivating a contemporary vision for Arabic type while maintaining and promoting its traditional calligraph­ic roots as an important mechanism for language sustainability. The platform is a springboard for events, workshops, lectures, exhibi­tions, and publications that engage local, regional and international creative communities.


Curated by
Rab McClure
Associate Professor and Director, MFA in Design
VCUarts Qatar

Stella Colaleo
Adjunct Faculty, MFA in Design
VCUarts Qatar

About the Lab
Everyone loves a distinctive, thoughtfully-designed product: a unique souvenir; a quirky gadget; a clever hack; a treasured possession that adds a bit of joy to everyday life. As consumers of products, we surround ourselves with designed objects that contribute to the way we see and portray ourselves. Personal belongings and personal iden­tity are inherently intertwined. In the words of Henry Ford, ”Every object tells a story, if you know how to read it.” Designers and artists are uniquely qualified to produce artifacts that tell compelling stories, objects that harness the spirit and ambition of a particular place and time. The ability to know when and how to monetize creative insight, however, requires a separate skillset and sensibility.

The language of business sounds foreign or straight-up intimidat­ing to many artists and designers. Incubators and accelerators seek profit potential; they work by narrowing and reducing options to arrive at focused, accessible solutions described in elevator pitches and sound bites. Artists and designers are trained to do the oppo­site-to expand and reframe, to resist easy labels and embrace
ambi­guity. The two approaches are not mutually exclusive, but to get from one to the other requires translation. That’s where we come in. Boost Lab exists to bridge the gap between creative conception and com­mercial activation. We’re a research-fueled launchpad for innovative, culturally-informed products developed in Qatar.


Installation shots


Exhibition catalog
View all of the teams and work featured in Research Labs

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Additional programming supporting the exhibition

March 16th, 5-6 PM,
Members-only preview of VCUarts Qatar, Research Labs


March 16th, 6-8 PM: ArtWalk Dupont
Join us and browse QAIC’s art library, current exhibits and our Arab Film House.

Register Here








Thank you to our partners

VCUarts Qatar

The Anderson Gallery at VCUarts Richmond

Special Thanks to our Sponsors