Liyan Saifi

Design, Creative, Future, Skills, development, Refugees, Women, Empowerment.

Liyan is a Humanitarian worker by profession, and a creative impact driven artist and social designer by education. She is concerned about societal and cultural issues, and devotes her time to utilise art and design to present and address socio-cultural problems creatively. She was an active team member at “Leaders of Tomorrow” a local youth organization where she created art installations, street art exhibitions and public space rehabilitation training. She also introduced mixed media and audiovisual arts practices into non-profit settings to enhance employee engagement. Liyan also helped establish and design a cultural co-working space Forsa Co-working Space. She is based in Amman, Jordan and is currently working for an International Humanitarian Organization. She uses audiovisual art and design to shed light on Syrian refugees’ challenges, hopes and dreams in exile, and advocate for children and women rights. She enjoys working in the fields of social justice and creative reform, with a specific interest in art entrepreneurship.

Liyan completed her B.F.A. majoring in Design and Visual Communication from The German Jordanian University with a minor in Advertising and Communication art from Trier University of Applied Sciences – Germany. She is currently a student at Central Saint Martins – UAL doing her MA in Arts and Cultural Enterprise. Her live project dissertation “Art Army” is an art residency project that focuses on empowering Syrian refugee women in Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan through introducing future fit skills in arts and design to improve their future employability and wellbeing. Liyan joined UAL’s MA ACE blended learning programme in 2018 because she believes in the importance of technology and its positive impact on our lives.


The “Art Army” residency programme is going to work with Syrian refugee women in Zaatari camp using capacity building and knowledge sharing approach through participatory arts and design processes that can be potential drivers for change by equipping the Syrian refugee women with a set of future fit skills to promote social inclusion, justice, adaptivity, agility and resilient hence achieving community empowerment. The main research question formed in this study is: Can an art residency project like Art Army empower the Syrian refugee women community in Zaatari camp through introducing future fit skills in arts and design, to improve their chances of future employability and wellbeing?

Because we live in an era of rapid change, people and institutions should start thinking about remaking and revolutionizing education and future job requirements and redefine the skills people need to develop to have a competitive value in the future. As for refugees, the situation is more complex because their access to opportunities is quite minimal and restricted, that’s why the opportunities offered to them has to be well thought of. Most organisations tend to provide trainings and workshops in the art and design field that has a short-lived value. Art Army might be able to stand out in terms of providing advanced, innovative and emerging skills for continuous learning for Syrian women in the field of arts and design, to allow them to cultivate unique aspects of their personalities and futuristic job requirements.