Over the past decade, Qatar has emerged as one of the Arab world’s most dynamic cultural hubs. Its capital Doha is home to such venerable institutions as the Museum of Islamic Art, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art and the Jean Nouvel-designed National Museum of Qatar, making the GCC nation a leading destination for arts and culture in the MENA region and beyond.
Qatar’s great initiative for all things creative is most evident through organizations such as M7. Established by Qatar Museums under the direction of its chairperson, Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, M7 is a new hub for start-ups in Qatar’s growing fashion and design industry, as well as a public showplace for innovation and entrepreneurship. “M7 is a fashion, design and technology hub developed to support emerging talents as they build their careers while enlightening the public about the impact of these burgeoning industries,” explains HE Sheikha Al Mayassa.
M7 is located in the heart of Msheireb Downtown Doha, the 31-hectare (77-acre) multipurpose real-estate development that is reviving Doha’s historic core as a sustainable new live-work neighborhood. Due to the pandemic and the inability to activate the physical space, the M7 launch introduced the concept via social media and developed a soft program to engage with designers virtually throughout the pandemic. It did so via talks, mentorship programs and keeping the dialogue with designers open.
M7 is founded under the principal to develop the careers of Qataris in the creative industries, especially design and fashion, train aspiring entrepreneurs in creative fields, spark creativity in people of all ages and backgrounds through exhibitions, performances, films, educational programs and public discussions, and connect designers with one another both locally and internationally. “The creative industry has the portnetial to generate income and create jobs while promoting social inclusion, cultural diversity and human development,” says Fahad Al Obaidly, head of programs at M7.
M7 envisions a space that will have something for everyone who is interested in the creative industries, whether they are a hobbyist or a very well-established business. The M7 building offers beautiful exhibition spaces, a dedicated incubation space, a café, learning area, a “fab lab” and concept store – all spread across the impressive five-story building.
In February 2021, Maha Ghanim Al Sulaiti, director of M7, revealed some of the organization’s efforts: “M7 is excited to join hands with VCUarts Qatar, INJAZ Qatar and the Doha Film Institute as our first programming partners to fuel creative expression within our communities. This collaboration facilitates knowledge exchange and transfer through several inspiring activities designed to spark creativity and maximize learning outcomes for the community.”
M7 is a showcase of the country and Qatar Museums’ efforts to continue to diversify the economy and meet the nation’s 2030 vision.