Culture Summit Abu Dhabi 2020 to focus on the cultural economy

Now in its fourth year, the global forum will explore how creative and cultural sectors can remain sustainable and help boost economies

The Culture Summit Abu Dhabi's special panel session this year was streamed online. DCT Abu Dhabi
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Amid the UAE’s shift from an oil-based economy to a knowledge-based one, what is the impact of arts and culture on its economic growth? Can technological advances help boost the culture sector? And how can global institutions survive as government funding for the arts goes down?

These are some of the crucial issues and questions to be discussed at Culture Summit Abu Dhabi 2020, which will explore the theme of The Cultural Economy and the Economy of Culture from Sunday, April 5 to Thursday, April 9 at Manarat Al Saadiyat.

Led by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), the global forum will bring together cultural leaders, practitioners and experts from the fields of art, heritage, museums, media and technology to exchange ideas on culture’s potential to transform communities and to bolster economies worldwide.

The programme will include plenary sessions and workshops, along with creative performances from the realms of art, dance and spoken word.

“As Abu Dhabi continues to diversify its economy, we have been focusing on culture as a major driver of growth. While certainly a global issue, the outcomes of this year’s summit will be of particular relevance to us locally, as we come together to discuss the impact of innovation on the economies of cultural output,” said Saif Saeed Ghobash, Undersecretary of DCT Abu Dhabi.

For 2020, the Culture Summit welcomes new global partner organisations such as United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the British Council and Louvre Abu Dhabi, adding to the list of existing partners, including Unesco, the Royal Academy of Arts, Solomon R Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, Economist Events and Google.

The upcoming event will investigate how creative industries have become major drivers of economy around the world, and how cultural production has positively contributed to society. Issues of digitisation and tech disruption will also be addressed, particularly in the context of how these can help with the development, creation and distribution of art as well as cultural goods and products.

Despite these advances, however, there are still problems with job security when it comes to the cultural sector and creative fields. These concerns unfold alongside the ever-decreasing government funding being committed to art and cultural institutions that thrive to survive, and have come to rely on private commercial partnerships or philanthropy.

Culture Summit Abu Dhabi 2020 will also discuss ways of growing the cultural economies of countries around the world, and how these models can be sustainable. In addition, the importance of the creative sector’s ability to respond to technological disruption will also be addressed.

These topics build on the theme of this year's summit, Cultural Responsibility & New Technology, which considered measures for securing financial support within culture and creative industries in the face of economic change. Held in April, the summit welcomed 480 participants from 90 countries.

Information on registration can be found on