Masterminds of culture, art and design led impactful discussions within the sector during the three-day Summit
ABU DHABI, UAE: Culture Summit Abu Dhabi, a global cultural forum organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, concluded its fifth edition last month. The three-day event, which was the first Summit held in-person since the outbreak of COVID-19, brought cultural leaders, artists, scholars, policy makers, and creative professionals from more than 90 countries to the UAE capital to discuss urgent challenges facing the cultural sector, as well as the role being played by culture in addressing wider issues in the world today.
Under the theme of A Living Culture, the Summit examined the contemporary issues driving change in the culture and creative industries (CCI) and wider global cultural ecosystems. The programme explored what it means to embrace culture as a lived experience in a world that has been transformed by the recent pandemic, in addition to discussions on cultural diversity in Hollywood, the role of the art collector, the impact of digital media and Artificial Intelligence, culture and the climate emergency, critical lessons from the pandemic, among others. The programme also featured a series of keynote speeches, plenary sessions, panel discussions, artist talks, workshops, film screenings, creative conversations, and cultural performances.
This year, the Summit welcomed prominent speakers from around the world including comedian and The Daily Show host Trevor Noah, world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, acclaimed architect Sir David Adjaye, professor and Forensic Architecture founder Eyal Weizman, architect Sumayya Vally, art collectors Guy and Myriam Ullens, among many others.
The Summit’s speakers led impactful discussions with attendees both on stage and off: as the Summit continues to offer a rich platform for cultural exchange and diverse opportunities for interpersonal discourse.
Commenting on the event, His Excellency Mohammed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi, said: “The fifth edition of the Culture Summit Abu Dhabi has seen the global community come together to learn, collaborate and embody a living culture. This was an action-focused summit, providing a platform for multidisciplinary voices working towards real and visible progress in the culture sector while identifying the measurable cultural policies needed to realise that progress globally. It is our belief that culture is a pivotal shaper for youth, society, and our entire world.”
One of the common threads that ran throughout the discourse of the summit was that of the power of education as a catalyst for cultural development as well as culture’s contribution in advancing diverse opportunities for educational growth. It is with this focus on learning that Al Mubarak announced DCT Abu Dhabi will join efforts with the Ministry of Culture of UAE and UNESCO to lead a world conference on culture and arts education that will take place in Abu Dhabi in December 2023. The conference will aim to present a new framework for culture and arts education which will build on expert regional consultations.
“This conference exploring the relationship between education and culture will be the most important realisation of what we have been working towards over the last 20 years. How do we ensure that everything that we are talking about is put in place at a local level, and has positive impact on people, communities and relationships,” says Ernesto Ottone Ramirez, Assistant-Director General for Culture, UNESCO. Commenting on the Summit, Ramirez said: “I am very thankful for the three days that allowed us as UNESCO to be enriched.”
As with previous Summit’s there was a focus on policy making to advance change in the culture sector. There was a distinct call for cross-government cultural policies to better connect culture to social and economic development needs by addressing climate change and the impact architecture has on communal spaces in societies. As highlighted in the discussions with the world-renowned architects present, Sir David Adjaye, Sumayya Vally and Frank Ghery, “I don’t have any presumption that I know what the future is, but I do know a building can create feelings, can create communal activity and I think that’s important,” Gehry told the audience during his discussion with His Excellency Mohammed Khalifa Al Mubarak.
The Summit concluded its proceedings with a dazzling performance from award-winning pianist Danilo Perez’s Global Jazz Project featuring acclaimed oud performer Charbel Rouhana.
Culture Summit Abu Dhabi 2022 was organised in collaboration with global partners including UNESCO, Economist Impact, Google, the Design Museum, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, and the Recording Academy. Other participating partners include Image Nation Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Film Commission, Sandstorm Comics, Cultural Foundation, Louvre Abu Dhabi, Berklee Abu Dhabi, Culture Resource, Arab Fund for Arts & Culture, and the Institut Français.