7 Unique New Paths to Self-Discovery This Summer

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The DSS sales are in full swing, certain outlets of VOX Cinemas are open 24 hours a day on weekends, and the countdown to the new Orange Is the New Black season has officially begun – that’s summer in Dubai a nutshell. But what if you took soaring temperatures and a seemingly empty social calendar as the perfect opportunity to find yourself? Really, really find yourself.

Enter: Alserkal Avenue, where the Sensing Memory summer program will explore how a patchwork of sights, smells, sounds, textures, and tastes help construct the world around us, creating memories in the process. If one whiff of a certain aftershave or the sound of waves crashing onto the shore are enough to bring out the romantic in you, then you understand this reference, hands down. A series of workshops, lectures, seminars, and performances will take place over the course of the summer – July 15th to September 15th to be exact – that will draw upon the creative community in Dubai and beyond to convey the connection between the five senses and our memories.

Bonus? All events are open to the public and free to attend, which means virtually no excuse will fly (this time). Here, Goodness sifts through the agenda, revealing which seven events will have you look deep within to see a side of yourself that may have been under wraps for far too long. Some of them will require a decent time commitment, others may expose you to some uncomfortable truths about yourself – either way, you’ll be glad you took the leap.


Meditate in Motion

Every Saturday from July 21st to September 15th

The physical benefits of tai chi are obvious, but beyond the improved balance, fitness, and flexibility is the alignment between one’s body and mind. Offered referred to as “meditation in motion”, this martial-art form is known to alleviate stress and anxiety, thereby promoting serenity and inner peace. The weekly, one-hour tai chi sessions at Alserkal Avenue will be led by masters from Shaolin Kung Fu, the first Chinese martial arts school based in Dubai.

To register, e-mail rsvp@alserkalavenue.ae with the subject line ‘Tai Chi’ along with the date you’d like to attend.

Photo: Courtesy of Women's Golf Journal

Write Your Life Story

July 25th and August 1st

Everyone has a life story to tell – tell yours in your own words with a little help from the Creating Memoir from Memory: Your Life as a Book workshop led by writer Allison K. Williams. You’ll be guided on everything from the basics of writing to the power of narration and considerate truth-telling alongside tips on editing and revision techniques. Have an idea? Just show up with a pen, a laptop, or whatever else you’d write with!

To register, e-mail rsvp@alserkalavenue.ae with the subject line ‘Memoir Writing Workshop’.


Connect Memory with Movement

July 28th

How do dancers learn? Is what you learn an exact copy of what you’ve been taught? How does previous knowledge influence what you learn? It’s these questions – and more – that will be answered during an interactive dance workshop led by Alaa Krimed of Sima Dance Company. In the process, you’ll explore the relationship between memory and movement, understanding some of the challenges faced by dancers in learning choreography.

To register, e-mail rsvp@alserkalavenue.ae with the subject line ‘Contemporary Dance Workshop’.


Create a Signature Scent

August 11th

The ability of perfumes to evoke memories from our past has long been documented, so it’s no surprise that a fragrance-based workshop worked its way into the Sensing Memory program. This particular one will see perfumer Mona Bassam Haddad share her expertise in creating perfumes and matching smells with both memories and personalities. You’ll not only create your own perfume, but also take it home.

To register, e-mail rsvp@alserkalavenue.ae with the subject line ‘Perfume Making Workshop’.

Photo: Courtesy of Christin Hume

Dive into Your Subconscious

August 18th and September 1st

There’s no dearth of deeply rooted messages in your subconscious – thoughts, feelings, sensations, ideas, and more – but have you even considered transforming them into art? One workshop this summer will have a combination of breathing exercises and meditation techniques guide you into a state of total relaxation, in turn loosening up the inhibitions that tend to block emotions and memories. Give it a try, and you’ll be amazed by how this process manifests imagery that is more revealing than you’d expect.

To register, e-mail rsvp@alserkalavenue.ae with the subject line ‘Intuitive Creativity Workshop’.


Share Your Stories

September 1st

Living in Dubai almost guarantees that we know someone who has been directly or indirectly impacted by war, genocide, or partition. Be it Syria, Lebanon, Armenia, India, or Pakistan, so many countries in close proximity have tackled historical events of a traumatic nature, which means several generations are not only holding onto those memories, but also handing them down – and that’s where the term ‘inherited memory’ comes in. Dr. Maya Aghasi, Assistant Professor of Literature at American University of Sharjah, will conduct a talk on this topic, inviting audience members to share how their inherited memories have shaped their sense of identity.

To register, e-mail rsvp@alserkalavenue.ae with the subject line ‘Inherited Memory’.


Use Your Senses

September 8th and 15th

Can the taste of a particular beverage or the texture of sand make you a stronger storyteller? In one word: yes. A two-part workshop led by Hananah Zaheer, founder of Dubai Literary Salon, will help you better tap into all five of your senses – not just for observation and inspiration, but creating stronger prose, too. A couple of prompts to practice this concept, and you’ll walk away with a strong start to at least one piece of writing.

To register, e-mail rsvp@alserkalavenue.ae with the subject line ‘Senses Writing’.

Photo: Courtesy of Daiga Ellaby
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