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Hanouf Al-Faheid, BFA Interior Design, Our Majlis

My project explores the politics of the majlis, a traditional men’s only sphere that is leveraged to create power over women within the MENA region. Operating against the gender-exclusive program, my project reframes the majlis as a space that provides women with the freedom and privacy to enact agency. By providing alternate family structures through the program, the space operates against the current limitations of Arab society as reinforced through the process of defining kin. By designing the program as a support system, with childcare, education, and mental health services, she will feel empowered to focus on herself. Using the majlis as a social, political, and cultural starting point, this space not only provokes existing gender dynamics, but also creates an atmosphere of warmth and safety which allows her to feel a certain sense of awareness, and hence the freedom to be.