Through the Cultural Excellence Fellowship programme in partnership with ADMAF the British Council hope to bring together the best of the emerging talent of the Emirati cultural and creative industries, with established cultural leaders from the UK, the UAE and beyond to make a contribution to the fast evolving UAE cultural sector.

With the help of international strategic partners ADMAF today reaches 40,000 people across the UAE with ground-breaking initiatives that support civil society and foster the ambitions and skills of Emirati youth. 

Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo, Founder of ADMAF, said, "This is an ambitious new chapter in ADMAF's relationship with the British Council, a valued strategic partner. 

Marc Jessel, Country Director, British Council- UAE said, "We have been promoting cultural relations between the UK and UAE for the last 46 years. We value our partnership with ADMAF and believe we can achieve a lot by sharing our collective experience. 

What is the Cultural Excellence Fellowship Programme?

The programme is seen as a long-term initiative and hopes to make a significant contribution to the shaping of the cultural and creative industries towards 2030, bringing together young Emirati protégés, UAE-based and regional professional pioneers, and British cultural experts to share skills, knowledge and experience through mentoring, cross-discipline exchange and workshops. 

The programme, which is the first of its kind in the UAE, has been developed based upon the findings of a needs assessment of the UAE's cultural and creative industries. The resulting skills development and mentorship programme is co-owned and co-designed by The British Council and ADMAF as part of a strategic partnership that was signed by both parties in 2012. 

The initiative aims to develop a successful structured mentorship framework that will advance individuals in their professional careers, while establishing an important network of creative experts across the UAE.

Who are the Participants?

The group of Emiratis consists of talented undergraduates and exceptional young talents who have established a profile beyond the academic environment through activities in the cultural sector. 

Participants will each be allocated a mentor from a distinguished pool of pioneers, including Hetal Pawani, CEO and Founder of thejamjar, Dubai, Salem Al Qasimi, Founder of Fikra Design Studio, Sharjah and Mohammed Al Otaiba, Editor-in-Chief of The National newspaper, Abu Dhabi. Selected participants will become ambassadors for the programme and receive regular invitations to key events and initiatives by the British Council and ADMAF. 

What next for the CEF participants?

You can follow the progress of the Cultural Excellence Fellowship participants by checking the British Council Arts website and by using the hashtags #ADMAF and #CEF

End of year one

Focusing mainly on cultural management skills, the programme delivered a total of 17 sessions for our Pioneers and Protégés.

The Fellowship invited trainers and speakers from the UK, UAE and Lebanon, such as: John Newbigin OBE, Andrea Stark, Hugh Garry and Doreen Toutikian. The programme has resumed in September 2015 for its final year where participants are now delving into creative and entrepreneurial learning.

End of year two

The Cultural Excellence Fellowship Program started its second year in full swing, inviting the likes of Zahed Sultan, multi-disciplinary artist from Kuwait, and techno-entrepreneur Salim Tannous, from Arab Fund for Arts and Culture in Lebanon, who delivered challenging sessions on ideation, creation, strategy, social impact, toolkit and creative mind-set, and more. All of these are key ingredients to succeed in engineering  projects and forging connections between industries in attempt to promote a thriving platform and a project that is sustainable and innovative for the region.

The Fellowship programme has delivered more workshops on creative entrepreneurship and cultural leadership skills.

The following topics were covered:

- ‘Growth, sustainability and re-structuring in a creative world’,

- ‘Narratives and Collaborations in the creative economy,

- ‘Cultural Diplomacy in the UAE’ and

- ‘Creative cities and cultural district: it is more than planning’. 

CEF Pioneers and Protégés learned from experts across the region and the UK how to develop cultural projects within a fast-changing local context, how to apply creative tools and who to relate to business best practice that will lead to operate in an entrepreneurial  environment in the UAE.  

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