Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism has announced the third annual Cultural Summit, its five-day convening of art and political figures — or the “cultural Davos,” as DCT undersecretary Saif Saeed Ghobash said last year.
This year the Culture Summit has looped in new partners: Google, Unesco, the Guggenheim, the Economist and the UK's Royal Academy of Arts. Each of these entities will chair different strands of the event, which uses culture as a filter through which to understand wider political and economic contexts.
Topics this year include risks for cultural heritage in the Middle East, South America and Africa; the changes that information and technology are bringing to society; and the role of museums in shaping and reflecting the cultural field.
"This third edition of the Culture Summit aims to continue the great strides we have made over the last two years, partnering with esteemed global leaders in relevant fields of cultural awareness and intellectual development,” said Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, the DCT chairman, in a statement. “The programme examines how the cultural forces of arts, heritage, media and technology can be used to incite tangible, positive change, in the context of our increasingly globalised and rapidly changing society.”
Figures coming to Abu Dhabi for the April 7 to 11 programming include Madeleine Grynsztejn, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Ali Ould Sidi, adviser to Mali's Ministry of Culture, and Mina Al Oraibi, The National's editor-in-chief.
The first two summits were put together by the husband-and-wife team of David Rothkopf, former editor of Foreign Policy, and Carla Canales, a former opera singer. The events brought figures such as Madeleine Albright, the Guggenheim's Nancy Spector and the playwright Hope Azeda, but weathered some criticism for a lack of engagement with the local UAE context. This year DCT appear to have taken further control of the programming, while also broadening the scope of the advisers and chairs.
As in previous years, the event will take place at Manarat Al Saadiyat, and is only open by invitation.