Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) was launched on 8th March 2008 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in order to drive the growth of the city’s artistic and cultural landscape. The Authority has grown to play a major role in the realisation of the Dubai Plan 2021, highlighting Dubai as a thriving capital for creative industries and further embedding the Emirate’s credentials as a city of happy, creative and empowered people.
As part of its mandate, Dubai Culture has several initiatives that are focused on strengthening both the historic and modern cultural fabric of Dubai, including Dubai Art Season, the city’s premier umbrella arts initiative which kicks off with Emirates Airline Festival of Literature and encompasses Art Week including Art Dubai, Design Days Dubai, and SIKKA Art Fair – an annual event aimed at promoting Emirati and local artists in the UAE and the wider GCC region. The Authority also manages the Dubai International Arabic Calligraphy Exhibition, which showcases an evocative blend of artworks to celebrate the myriad facets of Arabic calligraphy; Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre, an annual festival that fosters the art of theatre in the UAE; and Dubai Next, a dynamic platform that aims to showcase the Emirate’s cultural ethos and vibrant creative scene on the global stage.
The Authority’s other key initiatives include Creatopia (www.creatopia.ae), which is the nation’s first government empowered virtual community for cultural and creative communities in Dubai, and was launched to encourage the exchange of ideas and the refinement of skills while ensuring ease of doing business within the creative industry.
Dubai Culture also plays a leading role in supporting the UAE National Strategy for Reading 2016-2026, in particular by undertaking a major refurbishment of all Dubai Public Library branches to transform them into state-of-art cultural and artistic hubs. Across all of its branches, Dubai Public Library provides children and young adults with a range of educational and entertaining activities that encourage the use of its facilities. The ‘Our Summer is Filled with Culture & Arts Programme’ is a Dubai Public Library initiative which complements the UAE National Reading Strategy with activities that are open to all age groups and revolve around four key themes: happiness, reading, family and the future.
In addition to its wide range of initiatives, the Authority manages over 16 heritage sites across the Emirate, and is a key government stakeholder in the development of the Dubai Historical District. As the custodian of Dubai’s museum sector, Dubai Culture officially launched Etihad Museum in December 2016. The museum serves as a platform that encourages cultural exchange and connects Emirati youth with their culture and history. As part of the Authority’s mandate to support Dubai’s vision of becoming the focal point for diverse cultural exchange, both regionally and globally, the museums play a vital role in preserving Emirati heritage.