Ideathon: Dubai's open call for ideas that will help the arts during Covid-19 pandemic

Dubai Culture Authority and Art Dubai ask the public to propose ways to support the UAE culture sector during the crisis

The Dubai Ideathon is an open call for ideas on how to support the culture sector during the coronavirus crisis. Courtesy Dubai Ideathon
Powered by automated translation

The arts and culture sector is far from immune as the coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc on the world economy.

In the UAE, museums and cultural sites, including Louvre Abu Dhabi and Jameel Arts Centre have had to close their doors to help stop the spread of the virus; while Alserkal Avenue and Art Dubai are now relying on digital platforms to spur sales for contemporary art galleries.

In response, Dubai Culture Authority and Art Dubai Group have partnered to launch the Dubai Ideathon. The new online hub has put out an open call for ideas that can support cultural industries during the crisis.

"The biggest challenge is to be able to maintain and protect the progress that has been achieved in the sector over the past 15 years," said a spokesperson from the Art Dubai Group. "This community-based approach guarantees contextual and tailored solutions for the local context."

The initiative is open to all, and the public can submit their ideas by filling out the application form on the Dubai Ideathon website.

Dubai Ideathon has identified six specific challenges that participants can address in their proposals.

These include human capital, financial stability, business continuity and sustained creative production. Such issues primarily affect SMEs and freelancers, which make up the majority of the sector.

The organisers have outlined the challenges based on vital concerns, such as the protection of jobs and employees; collaborations between public and private identities for support; cost reduction for companies; and ways to build revenue from digital strategies.

"We are in conversations with the creative community to better understand the challenges, priorities and how we can support with real solutions," said a spokesperson from Dubai Culture. "Ideathon Dubai is one of the steps we took to engage with the community to listen to them but we have made it our priority to address this issue on a wide scale and to help the creative community to thrive even in times of crisis."

How it works

Dubai Ideathon comes in three phases.

The first is the open call, which is open from Thursday to Saturday, April 2 to 4.

The second phase involves six ideation sessions with selected participants who will be categorised according to how they have addressed the aforementioned challenges.

The sessions will be facilitated by members of Atolye, a company that focuses on developing strategies around design and entrepreneurship.

These discussions will run from Tuesday to Wednesday, April 7 to 8.

In the final phase, the proposed solutions will be presented to industry experts in order to develop ways to execute them.

The launch of the Dubai Ideathon follows an initial measure of support by the The Ministry of Foreign Affairs's Office of Public and Cultural Diplomacy, which purchased Dh1.5 million worth of art by emerging and established Emirati artists.

Speaking of the initiative, Minister of State Zaki Nusseibeh said “With the cancellation of the many art events that were scheduled to take place this season, we wanted to send a message of solidarity to our artists." He added that the move is an acknowledgment that art is a "critical part of national identity."

Participants can submit their ideas on the Dubai Ideathon website,