A view of Abu Dhabi Skyline at sunrise.
Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer
The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has announced the next edition of Culture Summit Abu Dhabi - a leading global forum which explores creative cultural solutions to the most pressing issues affecting the world today. It will take place virtually March 8- 10 and explore the theme of ‘The Cultural Economy and the Economy of Culture’. Culture Summit is a forum that convenes leaders from the fields of the arts, design, heritage, media, museums, public policy and technology, to identify ways in which culture can transform societies and communities worldwide.
The fourth edition of the forum brings together cultural leaders, practitioners and experts in the fields of art, heritage, museums, media and technology to generate new strategies and thinking. Before the pandemic, Culture and Creative Industries (CCI) were one of the fastest growing sectors in the world economy. But it was also one of the hardest struck by COVID. However, CCI and the wider cultural economy continue to hold great promise in contributing to economic recovery and also for wider public good, in addressing inequity, promoting social inclusion, fostering cultural diversity and advancing sustainable development. To realise these opportunities, the search is on for more adaptable, resilient and collaborative approaches to building and sustaining cultural and creative ecosystems. Culture Summit Abu Dhabi 2021 will explore the challenges and opportunities associated with building these ecosystems and the benefits they can deliver around the world.
Topics that will be explored during the summit include:
• What is the post-covid cultural economy?
• Can the cultural economy advance sustainability goals?
• How does mass migration impact the cultural economy?
• Can the cultural economy tackle global inequality?
• Cultural Infrastructure: What are the guiding principles to reimagine the ethics and responsibilities of today’s cultural institutions?
• Making the local: How can arts institutions become urgent for their communities?
• Globalism in a Post-Pandemic World: What are the new realities and possibilities shaping global art museums and biennials today?
• How to channel funding towards culture in post-crisis situations?
• Why do we focus on artists and the digital technology for the development of a creative economy?
• What role can the cultural economy and the culture and creative industries play in urban recovery and resilience?
“The global challenges of the past year have truly demonstrated the vital power of culture to improve our personal and collective wellbeing. Yet, cultural institutions worldwide continue to struggle to achieve funding structures to continue operating. “It is now more important than ever to shed light on the critical role that the culture sector plays as an essential driver of sustainable economic and social development,” said Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi. Saood Al Hosani, Undersecretary of DCT Abu Dhabi, said: “A thriving creative ecosystem is the beating heart of a city, affecting and enhancing all facets of a society. “Culture Summit’s annual convening of world-class experts and professionals from interrelated fields consistently puts forward innovative solutions in response to critical cultural and economic issues.
“Following a year of truly unprecedented challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, we look forward to the dialogue and innovations sparked by our esteemed global partners and participants at the event’s virtual fourth edition, as we discuss ways to support the continuity of the cultural sector, both locally and worldwide.”
Financial support and sustainability in the culture sector in the face of rapid societal and economic change was a key issue identified by many of the 480 participants at Culture Summit Abu Dhabi 2019. Inspired by these discussions and in line with UNESCO’s 2021 ‘International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development’, Culture Summit 2021 will examine opportunities to renew the cultural and creative industries in a post-COVID environment and explore how the creative economy can be a positive force for societies and economies. Partners include UNESCO, The Solomon R Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, the Economist Events and Google. New partners for 2021 include the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Design Museum London and the participation of UAE institutions such as Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation, Louvre Abu Dhabi, Berklee Abu Dhabi, Institut Français, Image Nation Abu Dhabi, twofour54, and Abu Dhabi Film Commission.
Those looking to attend Culture Summit Abu Dhabi 2021 can register at www.culturesummitabudhabi.com. Attendance is free and open to the public.
The 2021 edition marks Culture Summit Abu Dhabi’s first virtual edition. A series of panels, performances and case studies throughout the event, will engage participants with ideas about the role of culture in improving our world. The 2017 inaugural event was attended by 450 delegates from 80 countries, including internationally acclaimed visual artist Idris Khan, Oscar/Academy Award-winning composer and conductor Tan Dun, former United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, MacArthur Fellow and award-winning choreographer Liz Lerman, Dr Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Dr Zaki Anwar Nusseibeh, UAE Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) drives the growth of Abu Dhabi’s culture and tourism sectors, fuels economic progress and helps achieve Abu Dhabi’s wider global ambitions. DCT Abu Dhabi’s vision is defined by the Emirate’s people, heritage and landscape.
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