Reflections on UK/UAE 2017

May 2017 seemed to arrive in the blink of an eye and the passage of time seemed to have escaped me. It really does not seem like six months ago, since UK/UAE 2017 was launched in the prestigious Al Jahili Fort in Al Ain in the presence of British and Emirati royalty, but what an incredible half year of creative collaboration it has been, both rewarding and demanding in equal measure. As Ramadan approaches and temperatures continue to sore in Dubai, it is the perfect time to reflect on the acmes of the spring programme as we delve head first into planning for the final autumn season.


Choosing three highlight moments from a selection of 137 events that reached 88,000 people, ranging from literature, design, visual arts, music, science and theatre was always going to be an impossible task and yet there is a trio of instants that will forever be etched on my memory never to be erased; The evocative projections that formed the set design of Welsh National Opera’s revival of La Boheme; Virtuoso Oud Player Jospeh Tawadros lifting the roof of Dubai Opera during last night of the Proms and the electrifying glimpse of wonder on the faces of our future generation as Lucy Hawking shared her father’s musings on the universe at Emirates Literature Festival.


Other abiding reminiscences include the all female interactive production of Macbeth, the thought-provoking world of sugar science from Northern Ireland at Think Science, exploring the stunningly beautiful Etihad Museum through the eyes of accessibility inspired by The Tate and the spellbinding tabla beats from jazz percussionist extraordinaire Sarathy Korwar.


None of this could have been achieved without the involvement of strategic partners, the steadfast support of the local arts community and our ever curious and involved audiences. I, for one am optimistic about our ability to continue to engage with the UAE arts scene over the next few months, where ever day I learn more about the power of creativity in bringing diverse cultures together, building lasting relationships and transforming people’s lives through mutuality and cooperation.

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