Dubai Culture and Arts Authority assessed the effective procedures it implemented to tackle the challenges posed by the Coronavirus pandemic to the cultural and creative sector in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. Relevant authorities worked in unison and took various efforts to boost the cultural environment and assist the creative community in the emirate to overcome the critical circumstances in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the past few months, Dubai Culture monitored the outcome of the initiatives and efforts it launched in response to the challenges posed by the pandemic to the creative community. It was the commitment of the Authority as an enabler, regulator and supporter of the emirate's cultural and creative sector that helped in carrying out the initiative.
Commenting over the development, Dubai Culture Director General Hala Badri said that objective and transparent evaluation of the achievements of the initiatives helps in analysing their impact and outcome on the community. She added that evaluation helps in establishing a comprehensive development plan aimed at achieving further successes in the emirate in addition to providing the necessary boost to the local creative community in order to maintain the sustainability of its work system.
"This would instil a spirit of hope and optimism among members of the creative community, and based on what has been achieved over the past period, the Authority will continue cooperating with all its partners and concerned authorities to transfer the cultural and creative scene in the emirate to new horizons of prosperity, based on the pillars of its ambitious strategic roadmap to ensure a brighter future not only following the COVID-19 crisis, but for many decades to come," Hala Badri said.
Amid the pandemic crisis, Dubai Culture has actively worked to support the cultural and creative sector in Dubai. In April 2020, the Authority launched the ''Dubai Ideathon'' initiative in cooperation with Art Dubai Group with the aim to attract ideas from various stakeholders that will help in addressing the challenges faced by creative societies across the emirate.
After analysing the results of this initiative, Dubai Culture partnered with the Art Jameel platform to set up a small grants programme for artists and creators impacted by the pandemic crisis.
The Authority also collaborated with LinkedIn to provide more than 100 specialised online training courses free of charge to creators and artists with the aim of enhancing their communication skills with colleagues and peers and develop their skills and talent. The initiative proved successful with the participation of a large number of creative people not only from the emirate but from abroad also. The course covered various creative fields such as arts, photography, design, and creative writing, along with film production, music, and handicrafts.
Taking inspiration from the successful results of Dubai Ideathon, Dubai Culture allocated some grants to a group of small companies working in the creative field. The initiative was undertaken to facilitate their participation in Dubai Design Week Marketplace which is significantly one of the most innovative activities taking place during the Dubai Design Week. It was launched in line with the vision of Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture in Dubai Design District on November 9.
Dubai Culture worked with the Dubai Future Foundation and issued a report entitled ‘The Future of the Cultural and Creative Sector’ highlighting the various significant initiatives launched by governments in the world in recent months to support the arts and culture sector and reinforce its capacities to adapt to the new world in the post-pandemic process.
The report was issued after taking into account various efforts launched to develop solutions and methodologies to support and boost the local creative community and ensure its continuity and prosperity in the future, particularly independent entrepreneurs and small companies. Furthermore, the report was launched with recommendations from various stakeholders with the aim to develop the infrastructure of the sector, explore a wide range of ways to cooperate with other sectors to move towards broader horizons of growth and consolidate innovative solutions to enhance the sector.
In addition, Dubai Culture showed complete support to open invitations sent by Global Grad Show to students from different fields across the world inviting proposals for innovative solutions to address challenges emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, it extended its support to the launch of the first edition of the MENA Grad Show at Dubai Design Week. The exhibition was launched in line with keenness of the Authority to support the efforts and aspirations of graduates in the region by providing them with a platform to showcase their talent and innovative visions. It will also facilitate the interaction of global audiences with the graduates. The agenda behind the initiatives was to develop the recommendations into effective solutions to address a number of social and environmental problems the world is currently facing.
Under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Dubai Culture launched the Dubai Collection initiative with the aim to support the efforts of the Emirati authorities to boost the recovery of the cultural sector in the aftermath of the pandemic. The Dubai Collection initiative seeks to revive, encourage and expand the culture of procuring artworks and promoting exhibitions and local artists whose work will be particularly from the collections of the initiative.
It is the first of its kind global initiative providing an integrated system for collecting and taking care of various artworks and managing them in their various forms. It is guided by mechanisms working to strengthen Dubai's creative environment, affirming the position of the emirate as a global centre for art and culture, an appropriate environment for creativity, and a thriving hub for budding talent.
In the past, the Authority has launched various initiatives that have helped in supporting the growth of the sector and ensuring the continuity of public interaction with the cultural and creative community. One such initiative is the #Createtogether campaign which was launched with the aim of encouraging creative artists, poets, and writers to provide their creative products in their respective fields of specialisation. Other initiatives include the launch of a virtual version of the ‘Our Summer of Culture and Arts’; virtual tours of museums and heritage sites in partnership with Dubai 360, and the virtual summer club that took place at museums during the lockdown restrictions across the emirate.
Initiatives like virtual cultural tours of museums and heritage sites and virtual workshops and seminars were carried out with the aim of spreading knowledge and information about the Emirati heritage and culture and engage the members of the community in the initiative. Furthermore, an initiative was launched in cooperation with the Dubai National Theatre to set up an integrated virtual programme of interactive courses and workshops in theatre and cinema over the duration of five months from August to December 2020.