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.