Building skills for the next generation through creativity, innovation and teamwork

Our work in the arts helps break down barriers to encourage participation in culture across the Gulf region. Our showcase programmes have allowed cultural exchanges to take place between the UK and the Gulf, with a number of events which help build skills, teamwork and celebrate creativity and innovation.

In United Arab Emirates this work has included:

  • British designers from the Crafts Council gave four workshops (two at the American University in Sharjah and two at the American University Dubai), which were attended by 100 participants.
  • Helping designers to make connections with their UK counterparts, we brought 11 British designers over to participate in Dubai Design Days in partnership with the Crafts Council UK.
  • We brought together learning and museums experts  to encourage collaboration between UK institutions and leading museum experts in the UAE. We have now launched a series of new projects across the Gulf region including projects a smartphone film festival for 15–30 year olds and a series of art in the realmtalks 

The reason why I welcomed the invitation of the British Council to attend Art Dubai is that I intend to start exhibiting and collecting contemporary art from the Middle East here at the Ashmolean but currently lack both the network and the financial support. Hence, meeting some of the leading collectors in that region and seeing how much they would like to partner with institutions around the world to bring this art to global attention was encouraging and inspiring. Francesca Leoni, Yousef Jameel Curator of Islamic Art, University of Oxford