Media Centre

Press release

Event looks ahead to the graduation ceremony of CEF’s two-year programme in May 2016 designed to train the cultural leaders of tomorrow

Oussama Rifahi speaking at Cultural Excellence Fellowship 24th Feb 2016

Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation and The British Council host ‘Philanthropy in Arts & Culture’ event as part of ongoing Cultural Excellence Fellowship programme

The final quarter of the two year-long Cultural Excellence Fellowship (CEF) programme – a joint venture between Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF) and The British Council in association with Mubadala – is underway, with over 15 of the programme’s fellows gathering  at The Address Dubai Marina this week to undertake a session entitled ‘Philanthropy in Arts & Culture’. Welcoming guest speaker, Oussama Rifahi, Executive Director of The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC), the session asked the fellows to explore culture, practice and myths of ‘philanthropy’ in the arts and culture industries.

Sharing his knowledge around the current trends and diverse approaches to developing sustainable models for the ongoing engagement of artists and creatives in UAE society, Mr Rifahi highlighted the prominent institutions involved in supporting arts and cultural communities, along with the vision, priorities and approaches that strengthen the local ecosystem. As part of the session, the fellows also participated in a workshop which focused on how to develop a cultural project proposal for gaining potential grants from such organisations.

Following the event, Mr Rifahi said: “Peer learning and exposure to such a wide variety of experts represents a unique opportunity for this CEF group to learn about the latest trends and forces that shape our societies. It will provide those talented individuals the necessary tools to define their own trajectory a step at a time. I am glad they have had the chance to hear about the various models for philanthropy today and to reflect on where and how they can act strategically, within their respective environments, for the benefit of their communities.”

Launched in 2014, CEF is a two-year cultural programme that seeks to inspire and develop the next generation of UAE creative entrepreneurs and cultural leaders. Developed in line with the UAE Vision 2021 National Agenda which seeks to develop a knowledge-based economy promoting national innovation, research and development, the group consists of  17 young Emirati ‘protégés’ and 11 UAE-based professional ‘pioneers’. To date, the course has included sessions such as; Business Planning and Strategy; How to run a business -  Creative mind-set versus creative tool-kit; Narratives and Collaborations - how to create your own as a business, as an industry and as a mix of sectors; among others.

With the graduation ceremony set to take place at the end of May, remaining sessions and workshops include: Growth, Restructuring and Sustainability from a Business Perspective; What Went Wrong? Lessons Learnt & Stories of the Business: Ups and Downs from UK Mentors; Creative Cities and Cultural Districts; and Pitch of a Business Plan for a creative and culture initiative

As the first of its kind in the UAE, the CEF programme has been developed based upon the findings of a needs assessment of the UAE’s cultural and creative industries. The mentorship programme is co-owned and co-designed by ADMAF and the British Council as part of a strategic partnership that was signed in 2012. The aim of the programme has been to bring together young Emirati fellows, UAE-based professional pioneers, and regional as well as British cultural experts to share skills, knowledge and experience through mentoring, cross-discipline exchange and a plethora of workshops.