Wednesday 24 May 2017

This event is an extension of the ‘Britain Takes Shape’ exhibition hosted by Dubai Culture at the 6th edition of Design Days Dubai.
Talks will be held at the Etihad Museum as part of Design Days Dubai off-site programme.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 18 March, 2017: Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated entity for culture, arts and heritage, has hosted design talks as part of its UK/UAE 2017 a Year of Creative Collaboration ‘Britain Takes Shape’ initiative. The talks took place on 15 March 2017 at the Etihad Museum during Design Days Dubai – the Middle East and South Asia’s only fair dedicated to collectible furniture and objects – and served as one of the off-site initiatives that were included in the fair’s programme for the first time.

Dubai Culture is a strategic partner of both Design Days Dubai and the Year of Creative Collaboration, which is led by the British Council and held under the patronage of HRH The Prince of Wales and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. The initiative aims to encourage cooperation between UAE, regional and international government entities and private sector companies.

The talks took place at the recently opened Etihad Museum, which tells the inspiring story of the 1971 Union Agreement through the eyes of the Founding Fathers, and featured world leading art experts Juan Cruz, the Dean of Fine Art at the Royal College of Art in Kensington, London, and Suzanne Trocmé, Curator of ‘Britain Takes Shape.’ Hosted by the Authority, the ‘Britain Takes Shape’ exhibition brought 10 of the UK’s pioneering designers to showcase their work during Design Days Dubai, in support of the UK/UAE 2017 a Year of Creative Collaboration programme.

Juan Cruz spoke on the subject of ‘Art and the City’ in the first session, which was held from 10 to 11 am, to explore the impact that art can have on the development and character of the world’s urban fabrics. This was followed by a ‘Safeguarding Craft’ panel discussion led by moderator Suzanne Trocmé. The discussion featured Emily Johnson of design-led ceramics brand 1882 Ltd; Dubai-based interior designer Khalid Shafar; and Silo Studio – pioneers of ‘handmade hi-tech.’ The speakers discussed how breathing new life into traditional materials and methods can preserve heritage craft in contemporary design.

Saeed Al Nabouda, Acting Director General of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, commented: “Dubai Culture is committed to supporting and fulfilling the objectives of the UK/UAE a Year of Creative Collaboration, by developing and delivering a unique cultural programme which strengthens existing relationships and creates new ones between people, institutions and businesses. The design talks represent part of this effort and have helped to encourage dynamic exchange between the UAE and the UK – two of the world’s leading cultural lights – while also furthering Dubai’s reputation as a thriving cultural destination that attracts global talent, resources and visitors.”

Gavin Anderson, Country Director ofthe British Council, UAE said: “We are honoured to be partnering with Dubai Culture who, through their support of UK/UAE 2017 and more broadly, are helping to reinforce the creative connections between our two countries. These talks brought together some of the top UK and Emirati design talents and experts for a fascinating dialogue – exactly the sort of creative exchange that the UK/UAE 2017 year was designed to support.” 

The talks were highlights of the programme for the sixth edition of Design Days Dubai, which is a key event of the two-month Dubai Art Season – the annual umbrella event on the Dubai cultural and creative calendar that aims to highlight the city's global credentials on the arts scene. It brings together artists from around the world for an unmatched celebration of talent, creativity, innovation and cultural diversity.

For more information on Dubai Culture, kindly visit:



Twitter: @DubaiCulture


Instagram: @dubaiculture

About Dubai Culture & Arts Authority: 

The Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) was launched on March 8, 2008 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, in order to drive the growth of the city’s artistic and cultural landscape. The Authority has grown to play a major role in the realization of the Dubai Plan 2021, to highlight Dubai as a thriving capital for creative industries and further embed the Emirate’s credentials as a city of happy, creative and empowered people.

As part of its mandate, Dubai Culture has several initiatives that are focused on strengthening both the historic and modern cultural fabric of Dubai, including Dubai Art Season - the city’s premier umbrella arts initiative which kicks off with Emirates Airline Festival of Literature and encompasses Art Week including Art Dubai, Design Days Dubai, and SIKKA Art Fair, Middle East Film & Comic Con, SIKKA Art Fair - an annual event aimed at promoting Emirati and local artists in the UAE and the wider GCC region, Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre - an annual festival that fosters the art of theatre in the UAE and that is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2016, and Dubai Next - a dynamic platform that aims to showcase the Emirate’s cultural ethos and its vibrant creative scene on the global stage.

The Authority’s other key initiatives include Creatopia ( - the nation’s first government empowered virtual community that guides and nurtures the creative culture of the nation and provides a platform of information and opportunities that lead to exposure and personal growth.

Dubai Culture also plays a leading role in support of the UAE National Strategy for Reading 2026, in particular by undertaking a major refurbishment of all Dubai Public Libraries branches to transform them into state-of-art cultural and artistic hubs. Across all of its branches, Dubai Public Library also provides children and young adults with a range of educational and entertaining activities that encourage the use of its facilities. The ‘Our Summer is Filled with Culture & Arts Programme’ is a Dubai Public Library initiative which complements the UAE National Reading Strategy, with its activities open to all age groups, and which revolve around four key themes: happiness, reading, family and the future. 

The Authority also manages more than 17 heritage sites across the Emirate, and is a key government stakeholder in the development of the Dubai Historical District. As the custodian Authority of Dubai’s museum sector, Dubai Culture will officially launch Etihad Museum and in December 2016. The museum will provide platform to encourage cultural exchange and to connect Emirati youth with their culture and history. As part of the Authority mandate to support Dubai’s vision of becoming the focal point of diverse cultural exchange (regionally & globally), the museums will play a catalyst role in preserving Emirati Heritage. 

For more information on Dubai Culture, visit

About UK/UAE 2017

UK/UAE 2017 is a year of creative collaboration and cultural exchange between the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates, organised by the British Council, the UK’s international organisation for education and culture, under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and HRH The Prince of Wales. The purpose of UK/UAE 2017 is to celebrate the long-standing relationship between the UK and the UAE, giving it greater focus, depth and contemporary relevance. Throughout 2017, the British Council will collaborate with a wide range of British and Emirati partners to create a diverse programme that spans the arts, literature, education, society, sport, science and trade. Through exploring the ways in which our respective cultural heritage and contemporary creative expression inspires innovation in all sectors and all areas of society, UK/UAE 2017 will strengthen cultural and economic ties between the two nations and identify major opportunities for future collaboration on both sides. 

For more information about UK/UAE 2017 please visit: To join the conversation follow the UK/UAE 2017 on the British Council’s Facebook (@BritishCouncilUAE), twitter (@uaeBritish) and Instagram (@britishcounciluae) pages and use the dedicated hashtag #UKUAE2017. 

For further information and enquiries, please contact Tuba Tortop at

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