Podcast: Is art part of our history?


Al-Balad, Jeddah’s old town, has a fascinating history. The area was founded in the seventh century as a trading port and acted as the primary gateway to Makkah. Today, it is famous for its traditional buildings, which were constructed with coral-stone and decorated with intricate latticed windows. Art Jameel is proud to have played a part in these developments, opening the Jameel House in 2015 as a centre for artisanship, heritage preservation and architectural discourse in the heart of Al-Balad. Highlighting this connection to heritage, Art Jameel has collaborated with MSTDFR on a special Arabic-language podcast episode dedicated Al-Balad.

Co-hosts Ammar Sabban and Rami Taibah sit in conversation with Abir Abusulayman, the first female tour guide in Jeddah, and artist and Jameel House alumnus Ammar Jiman. You can now listen to this session on your favourite podcast application or by clicking here.


Pronounced “mus-tad-fir” from the Arabic word “مستدفر ” meaning engrossed in the nerd way. Based out of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, The Mstdfr Publishing Company produced the country’s first podcast network. The Mstdfr podcast first published August 2015 when Ammar Sabban and Rami Taibah decided they wanted to have their own talk show style podcast; and The Mstdfr Show was born. The show focuses on casual Arabic English conversations around the things hosts & guests are passionate about. For the last two years the MSTDFR podcast has consistently been ranked as the No.1 comedy podcast on the Saudi iTunes store.

Abir Abusulayman became the first female tour guide in Jeddah in 2011. Abir received her MBA from the University of Business & Technology and speaks three languages, which helps her connect with the visitors of Al-Balad. In 2019, she became a certified tour guide trainer from the World Federation for Tourist Guide Associations. She is a board member of the faculty of Tourism at the King Abdulaziz University, as well as a member of the board of the Saudi International Council on Monuments and Sites.

Ammar Jiman was born in Jeddah in 1984 and was raised between both Jeddah and Manchester, England. Ammar graduated from the Environmental Design Faculty of King Abdulaziz University, with a BA in Architecture in 2008.

In 2010, Ammar moved to Siena, Italy to study Italian; it was here that his passion for art, architecture and calligraphy was truly developed.

After Ammar graduated from the Jameel House in Jeddah, he became a teaching assistant with hopes of nurturing the development of the creative scene in the historic heart of Jeddah.