Timbuktu Renaissance

Bringing a legendary festival back to the desert.




the song couldn’t remain the same

Timbuktu Renaissance is a partnership between the Brookings Institute, the U.S. State Department and the Ministry of Culture in Mali. The mission is to help restore the Festival au Désert, a regional West African music festival where Tuaregs and other nomadic tribes came together to play music with artists from all around the globe, including Bono, Robert Plant and Ali Farka Touré. In 2012, an al-Qaeda linked terrorist organization invaded and occupied Timbuktu, oppressing woman under sharia law, and banning books, sports and music. The festival went into exile and traveled the globe trying to raise awareness, working to return back to their desert amphitheater.

We were asked to design the logo, create the site to house the incredible video narrated by Morgan Freeman, and then accompany the team to Mali, where under the protection of U.N. troops we we’re fortunate enough to travel to the fabled city of Timbuktu. We brought our cameras…


Paying tribute to the distinct architectural style of Timbuktu, where wood beams protrude from the mud-walled towers, resembling the pegs on a stringed instrument.


The website is a simple introduction to the region, the music, and the the mission of the organization. At its center is a beautifully narrated film by Morgan Freeman that brings to life the incredible heritage and intellectual capital that Mali once radiated, and the unfortunate reign of terror that has seized the region in recent years.

Visit Timbuktu Renaissance

driving commerce from crisis

We shot and catalogued products from local crafts-people to assist in the exporting of their beautiful silver-work and hand-loomed textiles to other markets.

social content