“I Am Interested in Human Stories”: Iain Akerman on the Alternative Scenes of the Middle East

My family lived & worked in the Middle East for 35 years! The mainstream media (newspapers, TV, etc.), mobile & social networks (FB, YouTube, Instagram which currently “shape” journalism are inundated with stories of intolerance and factionalism on a daily basis. But always remember that the people of Middle East have the same needs and desires as most of us, which is to live in safety and peace with our fellow human beings.


Journalist and editor Iain Akerman has spent many years covering the culture and politics of the Middle East — focusing on the region’s underground movements and the people who animate them.

Iain’s pieces on street art in Beirut, parkour in Gaza, and Dubai’s emerging club culture (among many other topics) have appeared in magazines across the Middle East and Europe, as well as on his blog. Here, we chat about freelance writing, the challenges of creating art in places like Syria and Palestine, and his knack for finding fresh angles from which to cover an often-misunderstood region.

You’ve been dividing your time between Dubai, Beirut, and London. What path led you to this split existence?

IainAddis (1)

A mix of practicalities and a love of the Middle East, I guess. I lived in Dubai for nine years, using it as a base for work as a journalist, but also as a hub for travel across the Levant, Iran, Yemen…

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