By day, Nabil Al-Kinani is a built-environment professional with a keen interest in urbanism, placemaking, sustainable development and place vision.

By night, he is a cultural producer that uses creative practice to deliver changemaking projects that draw focus on the relationship between spaces and stories.

Other strands of his work includes the exploration of spatial politics, identity, culture and migration. 

His areas of expertise lie in people and places — exploring questions such as:

Who designs space? Who has access to newly-created space? What’s the cultural impact of these newly-created spaces? Who are new spaces being built for? Who is affected by newly-created space? What are the narratives that must be preserved when new spaces are being created?

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Park Royal in north west London is sandwiched between the busy hubs and high streets of Harlesden, Acton and Alperton. It’s a heavily industrialised area. If you walk down its factory-lined streets, you might catch a whiff of McVitie’s biscuits or sight of the old Guinness brewery.

However, what you might not expect to see tucked in among the large warehouses, are shisha lounges. Over the past few years, there has been an entrepreneurial shift from the previously well-known London mecca of shisha, Edgware Road, to Park Royal.

“Pipe Dreams” tells the stories of shisha cafe owners & other Arab businesses- on their experiences of turning an industrialised area of London into a cultural hub for Arab diasporas across the UK. The zine also features an interview with Toronto-based curator, Mitra Fakhrashrafi who researched the impact of a by-law in Toronto which banned shisha in 2015.

This publication formed part of the biennial Shubbak Festival 2021 - Europe’s largest biennial festival of contemporary Arab culture. The production team consisted of British–Tunisian photographer Sana Badri, artist and filmmaker Nur Hannah Wan, writers Zain Dada and Nabil Al-Kinani, and graphic designer Walid Bouchouchi.

The zine is currently archived in the Institute of International Visual Arts‘ (Iniva) Artists & Activists Zine collection at the Stuart Hall Library (https://iniva.koha-ptfs.co.uk/cgi-bin/koha/opac-detail.pl?biblionumber=22941)

Extracts from the zine formed part of the Migration Museums April 2022 exhibition, Taking Care of Business: Migrant Entrepreneurs & The Making of Modern Britain. Shining a light on the central role that migrant entrepreneurs have played in shaping our lives – and Britain. (https://www.unhcr.org/uk/refugeeweek/migration-museum/)

The work also features in Open City’s London Feeds Itself edited by Jonathan Nunn exploring London’s food, migration and architecture. (https://vittles.substack.com/p/london-eats-itself-london-plays-itself)

Purchase a copy below:


“The Shubbak Festival of Arab Culture Dances Between the Historical and Personal”, Frieze (2021) — https://www.frieze.com/article-shubbak-2021-review

“New scene for London's Arab diaspora among Park Royal's industrial estates”, The National News (2021) — www.thenationalnews.com/world/uk-news/2021/09/05/new-scene-for-londons-arab-diaspora-among-park-royals-industrial-estates/