A Year of Creative Collaboration between the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates

Throughout 2017, the British Council is collaborating with a wide range of British and Emirati partners to create a diverse programme of activities featuring events and projects in the arts, literature, education, society, sport, science and trade.

Thank you to our patrons and partners


  • HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces
  • HRH The Prince of Wales


Thank you to all our partners.

Find more information on their work

Programme aims

A unique cultural programme

The Year of Creative Collaboration aims to increase the visibility of the UK in the UAE and vice versa in order to give greater focus, depth and contemporary relevance to the long-standing relationship between our two nations. The unique cultural programme will continue to strengthen existing relationships and broker new ones between our people, institutions and businesses.

We explore the role culture plays in shaping the societies of tomorrow. Through an innovative programme of high quality projects, we hope to stimulate and inspire the next generation and look towards future collaboration between the UK and the UAE.

Creativity and innovation

Creativity and innovation run through the entire programme: we explore the ways in which our respective cultural heritage and contemporary creative expression inspires innovation in all sectors and all areas of society. 

By animating public spaces with innovative work by UK-based artists and cultural organisations, we hope to engage, delight and inspire people from across the UAE.

Programme themes

The year-long programme has three key themes:

  1. Next Generation
  2. Community
  3. Inclusion

Find out more about UK/UAE 2017's programme themes

Our Spring programme included 137 events and was attended by nearly 88,000 audiences

Thank you to all those that took part and attended our events throughout the UAE. 

Explore our highlights of the year so far:

Educational progamme

Our extensive Educational progamme included events like Think Science: Sugar Science, an Accessibility and Inclusivity for Museums Workshop, the Experience Economy Conference, workshop sessions by the WNO, and Capacity Building for Researchers and the Cultural Excellence Fellowship. Explore the highlights.

Theatre programme

Our thrilling Theatre programme sought to delight audiences throughout the UAE. Events included Shakespeare Under the Stars: Macbeth, Welsh National Opera at Dubai Opera, Fantastic Mr. Fox in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical CATS. Explore the highlights.

Literature programme

Storytelling was a focus in our varied Literature programme. Emirate audiences made the most of events including the Science Strand at Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr. Fox Writing Competition, and 'Tales on the Island' at the International Storytelling Festival. Explore the highlights.

 Visual Arts programme

Celebrating globally renowned art and artists has formed a vibrant Visual Arts programme, with events including Fully Booked, the UAE's only art book fair, and Anish Kapoor: The Creative Act. A Panel Discussion, and ‘Britain Takes Shape’ Exhibition and Craft Council at Design Days Dubai, and the Sharjah Biennial 13 Tamawuj. Explore the highlights.

Music programme

This year has brought some of the world's most talented musicians to the UAE. Our music programme events included BBC Proms with BBC Symphony Orchestra and BBC Singers at Dubai Opera and an extensive associated eductional programme, and the Musician in Residence programme. Explore the highlights.

See also