Qatar is a small but influential nation in the Arabian Peninsula. It’s changing rapidly as it develops international influence and welcomes expats from around the world.

By 2011, Qatar was reflecting on its own identity and the role that arts and culture could play in its future. Plans were underway for an astonishing collection of national museums and great collections were being built.

We were approached with a modest brief: to help the organisation behind the museums and archaeological sites be better understood. Over the next two and a half years, we worked closely with our client teams to identify, extract and hone a much bigger ambition.

At the heart of life
Our work hinged on the creation of a single-minded brand purpose: to be ‘a cultural instigator for the creation generation’. This sat alongside three strategic priorities that set out to take the experience of arts and culture out of glass cases and hushed buildings, and into the hustle and bustle of daily life.

The strategy touched almost every part of the organisation – from finance to curatorial. We worked with individuals, coaching them to think, plan and act in a unified, mission-led way.We designed a vibrant creative expression to carry the organisation’s new purpose, as well as a robust brand architecture.

We delivered proof-points that set the intention at launch, including an internal event for 650 people chaired by H.E. Sheikha Mayassa, a brand education centre constructed on-site, and a website presenting the wealth of work to the public.

Through constant collaboration, we became true partners. We encouraged senior executives to stay true to the long-term vision, despite significant leadership changes, including at government level. As a united team, we earned the license to push work in new directions, striving to get the most out of every deliverable.

“Our goal is to support artists in Qatar and provide a platform for creative exchange.”

Hala Al Khalifa, Director of the Fire Station, Qatar Museums

New roots, new shoots
Qatar Museums – as it is today more simply named – now behaves not solely as a museum manager, but as an organisation with the potential to change the career choice of a generation of young Qatari residents.

It is ‘local first’, and the new brand sets out to help the country originate art, culture and heritage experiences from within – as evidenced on the website we developed in partnership with Cogapp.

Although these are early days, the output is extraordinarily impressive. Courtesy of Qatar Museums, Richard Serra has installed a masterpiece in the Western desert, the MIA and Mathaf are world-class museums fostering local audiences, and The National Museum of Qatar is well underway. At the Fire Station, fledgling Qatari artists are finding their voice while talent is nurtured through a number of mentoring programmes.

This brave organisation is redefining the sector on its own terms, and prevailing. We’re privileged to have played our part.