The Arts

Kerning Cultures, Presenting a New and More Positive Narrative of the Middle East.

Kerning Cultures brings Middle Eastern storytelling to a modern audience

There’s nothing better than reading someone’s story in their own words, right?  Not really. Hebah Fisher, the founder of Kerning Cultures, captures the depth of different stories from our Middle East region through podcasting, along with her co-founder and the executive producer of Kerning Cultures, Razan Alzayani.

Hebah explained to Barakabits that this project was inspired by the desire to “reintroduce our Middle East region to ourselves and to tell the kinds of stories non-Middle Eastern audiences could relate to.” But why choose audio?

We chose audio as our medium because we love podcasts: there’s something magical about audio… driving along Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai, you don’t even care about the traffic because the audio story transports you into another world. 

One of the episodes called MY MOTHER’S COUNTRY, MOTHER OF THE WORLD will take you to the streets of Egypt and get you through the traffic jam while listening to the breathtaking voice of Oum Kalthoum. This episode discusses the matter of “Brain Drain”, which is the emigration of highly trained or qualified people from Egypt. Ahmed Yousef, Abdelrahman Erlebach, Sylvia, and more guests tell their stories and their choice to stay or leave Egypt.

Kerning Cultures
Streets of Egypt. Photo: Razan Alzayani

Through such podcasts, you only need your earphones to dive in and listen to many amazing stories about different people in their own voice. Kerning Cultures tells these kinds of stories of arts, culture, history, science, and current affairs from the Middle East. Kerning Cultures tells stories about MENA region other than war.

You might wonder why it’s called “Kerning” and Hebah tells us that:

“Kerning” is a process in typography, literally the sizing the of the spaces between letters in a font so you it’s more aesthetically pleasing and easier to read. We love the metaphor of cultures kerning through the stories we tell. 

Behind this amazing project, there is a team that consists of Razan Alzayani, Hebah Fisher, Alex Atack, Dana Ballout, Ramzi Bashour, Alexandra Chaves, Lilly Crown, Jacqueline Sofia, Percia Verlin, Ahmad Zeid, and Ghenwa Hakim. All of them work to bring more positive narrative of the Middle East. As for their future plan, Kerning Cultures, as a digital media company, has plans to grow into a weekly show.

 If you want to know more about this project and dive into many amazing stories, you can check their website, Kerning Cultures.
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