creative collaboration

UK/UAE 2017

From January 2017 to March 2018 the UK/UAE 2017 season celebrated the long-standing relationship between the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates.

The year of creative collaboration strengthened existing relationships and brokered new ones between our people, institutions and businesses. Exploring the role culture plays in shaping the societies of tomorrow, the season themes were Next Generation, Community and Inclusion.

The season saw an impressive 50 projects with some of the most reputable artists and institutions from the UK and UAE, including 270 events taking place in all 7 Emirates. Over 7,500 people participated in talks, workshops or events, and a further estimated 230,000 attended exhibitions, performances, film screenings or festivals.

Educational opportunities for young people

The Welsh National Opera Effect Workshop for budding musicians and singers at Dubai Opera © British Council

Inspiring the next generation

The tailor-made programme included showcases, learning activities, workshops, panel discussions and performances. These allowed budding artists, musicians and creative thinkers the opportunity to develop skills and expand their networks with international industry professionals.

Educational opportunities alongside partners will continue into 2019.

“[The arts have] the power to foster mutual understanding between people across cultures and can help to build open and more interconnected communities.”

Graham Sheffield CBE, Director of Arts, British Council
Arts to enrich diverse communities

Embrace included performers from Deaf Men Dancing and Sharjah Mime and attracted many members of the local deaf community to come along and enjoy their public performance. Deaf Men Dancing will return to UAE in 2019 for a main stage performance at Dubai Opera © British Council

Promoting inclusive creative practice

The UK/UAE 2017 programme of visual and performing arts, design and architecture, literature, film and music, included 1,500 British and Emirati artists and cultural professionals.

Together we were able to showcase work by disabled and marginalised artists and professionals and reach diverse audiences, showing the real impact that performance, instruction and collaborative processes can have in local communities.

International work with local audiences

Fredrikson Stallard’s installation Prologue attracted a diverse crowd at Dubai Design Week 2017. Image courtesy of Dubai Design Week 2017 © Photo Solutions

Animating public spaces with innovative work

By animating public spaces, we sought to reach audiences across all demographics, of all ages, and from different communities in the UAE. With 'community' as one of UK/UAE 2017's core themes, a variety of UK-based art was made accessible to Emirati audiences for the first time.

2019-2021 will see UK exhibitions travel to the UAE, continuing the showcase of the best of the UK’s creativity.

“We share the strong belief that the power of arts and culture is the key to building great civilisations.”

H.E. Ahmed bin Rakkad al Ameri, Chairman of the Sharjah Book Authority
Sharing expertise
across cultures

British Council works to encourage international collaboration, and engaging our networks to bring together international experts so that we can learn from each other.
Dr. Celeste Schenck, President of the American University of Paris, giving a workshop on leadership as part of the Cultural Excellence Fellowship programme © Courtesy of Abu Dhabi Festival

Developing creativity and innovation

Leading executives and key thinkers came together to introduce new practice, content, artists and institutions from the UK to UAE audiences. Talented cultural professionals from across the UAE explored new ways of working and developed their skills.

Developing creativity and innovation continues to be a focus of our work.

Find out how to partner with British Council UAE.

“It is through such collaborations that we help develop an understanding of cultures across borders and relationships across the cultural sector.”

H.E. Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture & Knowledge Development

UK/UAE 2017 supported the building of trust, understanding and long-term relationships between the cultural sectors of the UK and UAE.

British Council UAE continues to work in cultural, educational and business exchanges between our two nations.

Special thanks to our Strategic partners:
Ministry of Culture & Knowledge Development
The Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi
Dubai Culture & Arts Authority
British Embassy in the UAE
And to all of our event partners