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Joint initiative between the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation and the British Council looks to train and mentor the UAE’s cultural leaders of tomorrow

Emirati protégées at ‘Creative Cities and Cultural Districts’ talk 20th Apr 2016

‘Creative Cities and Cultural Districts’ highlights the importance of attracting a creative class to bolster economic growth as part of ongoing Cultural Excellence Fellowship Programme

The Emirati protégées and the UAE-based pioneers of a joint mentorship initiative between the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation and the British Council in association with Mubadala gathered over the weekend for the 10th event in the second year of ‘Cultural Excellence Fellowship Programme’ (CEF). Led by Dubai-born Pakistani creative and business strategist Saadia Zahid, the event entitled ‘Creative Cities and Cultural Districts’ highlighted the importance of creative industries to bolster economic growth, while looking at the opportunity to develop urban areas and to create sustainable industries.

”I was very impressed by the cross discipline selection of participants in the CEF program and the program content itself. Mixing pioneers with protégés is an effective way of both learning from each other and expanding their perspective. Pioneers can learn from the fresh approach of the younger generation – the protégés can learn from the tried and tested experience the pioneers have to offer. Overall, this program lends itself to skill development, expanding lateral thinking and problem solving due to the mix of industries and experience levels should lend to quality leadership of the creative industries in the UAE.”

Gathering at The One&Only Royal Mirage Hotel in Dubai, the event welcomed 10 Emirati protégées as they look ahead to graduation from the programme in May. Launched in 2014, CEF is a two-year cultural programme that seeks to  a advance and develop skills for the next generation of UAE creative entrepreneurs and cultural leaders.

The session also saw the participation of Michela Celi, Director of Strategy, at d3 sharing her knowledge around ‘creative clusters’, the economic and cultural rationale as well as outlining the Dubai Design District as a case-study. 

As the first of its kind in the UAE, the CEF programme was developed based upon the findings of a Needs Assessment Analysis of the UAE’s cultural and creative industries, conducted by the British Council and ADMAF.  It  aims to help participants release their potential and make a lasting difference to the 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 main success of the programme has been to bring together young Emirati fellows, UAE-based professional pioneers, and regional as well as British cultural experts to foster collaboration and share knowledge through mentoring, cross-discipline exchange and a plethora of workshops, workshops which aim to inspire the young participants to make a lasting difference to the local and regional art scene