A story of a Tunisian designer

Hello, I am Dorra Borgi currently a PhD student, I studied sciences and technology of design, where I have specialized in graphic design. As I was passionate about illustration, I started to work as an illustrator of children’s books, while studying my specialty, which is something that I am still passionate about and working on until this moment. (Children’s books in the Arab world aren’t that developed as they are still discovering it, and I do feel the urge to enhance its quality for that I am still working on, even in foreign Arab countries)

After graduation, I begin my master in art and communication while studying special effect and animation, and to develop more my knowledge, I started working in an audio-visual production for a year. Then I became an assistant in the University of fine art, and the higher Institute of Arts and Multimedia for three years.

However, I wanted to develop more on my skills and researches for that I became a freelance designer to be able to start my PhD research.

As the revolution happened, the youth movement in Tunisia has completely changed and turned into an active one that wants to be involved in all sort of activities and discover as much as they could. So, as a designer, I felt that I had a certain responsibility to take part of creating a new ecosystem in the country that will include art, and use it as a tool to build a better future, and not consider it as just something fun to do. For that, I chose the subject of the contribution of designer in the new militant practices in Tunisia.

My point is, the youth are using the social media and they managed to create a certain power that can put pressure on the government (in our case, it made a whole revolution) , so we should reconsider the role of a designer who is a professional in such tools, in this society. We should rethink their roles as they can be a symbol of resiliency and innovation. And this was a turning point for me, where I started to participate in different research programs that are based on the youth in Tunisia and the MENA region (such as Sahwa, GDRI…) where we made different studies through focus groups, interviews… in different regions in Tunisia. The latter, helped me to discover new aspects of the youth of my country and allowed me to have a larger important network.

What I concluded is that the youth are trying hard to change the current situation of the country into a better one. However, they are not finding a suitable ecosystem that can match their ambitions and expectations. And in order to change that, I took part in different civil society organizations, that focus on education of children and mainly those in need, where we created a system that provides a certain financial and psychological stability for them. We want to prepare them to be as the promising next generation.

One of my favorite, enriching experience is working as a responsible for creative workshops in ergotherapy in the department of Forensic Medicine at Errazi Psychiatric Hospital, where I litteraly dealt and worked with people who have serious psychiatric issues ( Some of them killed their families, or trying to kill themselves all the time… ), my job was to make them see things from an artistic point of view, through giving them different exercises that will help them gain self-confidence and stability. Also, I focused on their communication skills and worked on developing it through different artistic activities, to help them get over their depression. My best part was the result, where we, actually, where impressed with what they turned into, and the fact that, when we started doing this they were refusing it, but then they became interested in it, and wanted to do this all the time, that they will be upset if I don’t come for a week!

So, for now, I am still as curious as I always was to learn more, I want to know more people who are trying innovative solutions to resolve the current crisis, new ways to animate the society and mainly the “forgotten” regions, and be part of creating a whole, new active ecosystem that will include art and design in its cores, and not just something aside seen as a unimportant activity.


Amazing story :slight_smile: I strongly believe that art will heal the world and that crime comes from a love deficiency. I also developed a life coaching fim lab for filmmakers to help them exorcise their stories and move forward in life with confidence in their skills and gifts. Together we are stronger :heart:

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An army of art, creativity and love. At least that is how I interpret your story, “a whole, new active ecosystem that will include art and design in its cores…”

So right on.


hello @dorra-b welcome to edgeryders !
I am reading your story and its quite a journey, I am interested to know more about the children books [quote=“dorra-b, post:1, topic:7198”]
I started to work as an illustrator of children’s books, while studying my specialty, which is something that I am still passionate about and working on until this moment. (Children’s books in the Arab world aren’t that developed as they are still discovering it, and I do feel the urge to enhance its quality for that I am still working on, even in foreign Arab countries)

do you have some links, samples for this. I agree with you that there is not a lot of rich content for children books in Arabic, was just with a friend of mine who have a cute little daughter and they have english books and were looking for arabic versions with good quality.

so how do you imagine this ecosystem to be ? and how can we reach it ? do you think we can create this ecosystem together collaboratively in an “open source” way, how can we reach the “forgotten regions” and “people” in a functioning sustainable way and work together in creating better futures

do you think the openvillage can fit in and fill some gaps in this ecosystem ?and how do you envision art and design to be a driving force ?


I am interested to know more about your phd research :smiley: @dorra-b

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Thank you :smile: that is interesting maybe we can work on something together in the near future <3

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The problem is that to do such an engagement we need a collaboration between different disciplines like sociologists, anthropologist, designers… to create a more effective system and services. Hopefully, we can work on that

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wow @dorra-b nice experience especially the workshop in ergotherapy. Your professionnal experience looks emotionnaly hard… Courage.

On a lighter tone: did you hear about Design Thinking? It’s an interesting methodology for building human-centered experience/services/product using design, user reasearch and fast prototyping to solve problem including social problems.

I don’t write the books, I only make the illustrations for them, you can check them on the link here it includes my work, however I can suggest you some publishing houses that I find interesting: http://www.khayyatsaghir.net/ Dar Onboz | Furn ash Shubbak


thank you for the interest, but let me explain to you that I’m more comfortable to talk about my phd in frensh. So I allow myself to use it
Il est possible que mon sujet de thèse, à premier coup d’œil peut ressembler à un sujet de sociologie. En effet cette relation design et sociologie est étroitement liée. Malgré qu’il soit considéré comme une jeune discipline née au 19 e siècle, le design a connu plusieurs mutations majeures qui lui ont permis de s’imposer.
Le design est partout ; votre téléphone, votre chaise, vos vêtements, vos jeux en ligne, l’expérience d’usage des réseaux sociaux … tous a été travaillés par des designers. Ces designers sont appelés par des entreprises ou autre pour répondre à des besoins, créer des solutions et prévoir les comportements des utilisateurs. Les designers répondent à des commandes dont les conséquences parfois peuvent être néfastes. Ils ont toujours une part de responsabilité qu’ils doivent assumer car c’est le rôle du designer de suivre ou d’influencer les projets qu’il réalise. Afin de mieux étaler mes idées, je vais proposer de prendre l’exemple donné par Sarra Gold (directrice de l’IF à Londres). Elle avance que si tout le monde dehors a tout le temps les yeux fixés sur son téléphone c’est qu’un designer est derrière la résultante de ce comportement. L’expérience d’usage a été conçue pour les utilisateurs ressentant de l’endorphine pour chaque like ou commentaire. C’est ainsi qu’on crée une addiction. Plusieurs phénomènes dans la société sont les conséquences d’un design testé et approuvé par des dirigeants. Pour Gold les designers doivent s’arrêter de concevoir des expériences pour le solipsisme numérique ou autre type d’addiction.
Donc Si les designers sont capables d’engendrer un comportement ou de le modifier alors comment ils usent de leurs capacités à l’échèle locale? Quel rôle jouent-ils jouer dans cette période postrévolutionnaire ? Que font les designers tunisiens pour changer les choses ? Comment se représente l’engagement d’un designer ? Quel rapport entretiennent-ils avec les nouvelles pratiques militantes ?
J’ai essayé de résumer la problématique de recherche. J’espère que ça vous a éclairé un peu plus sur mon travail de thèse.

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merci pour votre encouragement :slight_smile: oui bien que je connais le “design thinking” et ce qui le distingue du “design doing”.

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ah @bachar_khattar did an interview with nadine from Dar onboz , you can listen to it here

ping @Abdelwahab for the arabic children books check out dar onboz from lebanon.