Dubai’s creative community brainstorms to develop innovative solutions at Art Lab organised by Dubai Culture


Closely following the launch of Creatopia, (, the nation's first government empowered virtual community for creativity, the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) hosted an Art Lab at Alserkal Avenue in association with the Dubai Executive Council.
Dubai Culture, the emirate's dedicated entity for heritage, arts and culture, brought together over 50 representatives of Dubai's creative sector including artists, gallerists, studios, government officials as well as professionals to co-design the future of the creative industries in Al Quoz.  They discussed the cultural scene of the Emirate and made recommendations to strengthen the creative economy of Dubai for evaluation and potential implementation by Dubai Culture.
Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice Chairman of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, said: "The Art Lab was a pioneering step not only in mapping the creative landscape of Dubai but also to identify and introduce new initiatives that will further the city's cultural scene. The creative sector is a key pillar of the Dubai Plan 2021 announced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and we are committed to strengthening it through closer collaboration with all stakeholders of the creative economy."
Her Highness added: "At Dubai Culture, we believe that the first step to tangible positive change is to brainstorm collectively to identify innovative practices that can support the creative community and strengthen the reputation of Dubai as a cultural centre. The Art Lab served as an inspiring platform to experience a new way of thinking and collaborating for creative industries."
Visiting the Art Lab, HE Abdullah Abdulrahman Al Shaibani, Secretary General of Dubai Executive Council, said:  "The leadership of Dubai places the highest emphasis on promoting the arts and cultural sector, as a key pillar to achieve our strategic growth goals and to promote the happiness of the people. The Art Lab by Dubai Culture was the first step to provide the creative community an opportunity to provide constructive feedback on the current landscape. This will form the basis for future initiatives led by the government to bring about tangible progress in the creative scene and establishing Dubai as a thriving centre for culture and arts."
Led by international expert facilitators, the Art Lab prioritised the most urgent areas of need for Al Quoz' presence in the Dubai creative scene, before considering the opportunities best suited to government intervention. Activities at the Art Lab included story-telling sessions, visualizations and prototyping exercises all aimed at discovering common experiences and meeting potential areas of collaboration. 
Following an overview of emerging trends from international creative districts, participants of the Art Lab explored the identity of the Al Quoz district and suggested ideas for its future development. Through a 'Wish List Idea Blitz,' suggestions were collated on developing collaborative networks between the creative community and production facilities, protected studio spaces for artists in return for regular public arts engagement initiatives, beautification of the area using local talent, and improvements of amenities for organisations and artists based locally.
These ideas were further developed as part of the prototyping focus on the second day of the Art Lab, with the objective of creating a clear list of priorities as agreed by the Al Quoz community.
The Lab addressed cultural start-ups, crowd-funding opportunities, creative cities and the exciting ways that culture, technology and entrepreneurism are meeting. The participants split into smaller groups to complete an exercise in which participants identified elements in their professional development. They identified family, colleagues, government and the community, among others, as elements that led their progress, and cited bureaucracy, the educational system and lack of finance as factors hindering growth.
With Al Quoz as an emerging art hub, the participants called for strengthening it as a cultural intersection. Suggestions to achieve this included the creation of educational platforms in the arts as well as in technology and management. Monthly art showcases, fabrication labs, skills academy, developing a unique identity for Al Quoz, providing subsidized co-working spaces, assuring community amenities and wayfinding and beautification initiatives were the other proposed ideas to transform Al Quoz into Dubai's cultural hub.
An expert team at Dubai Culture will evaluate these recommendations to take prompt action that will help define the creative ecosystem of the city and further strengthen the cultural scene in Al Quoz.  
The Art Lab was as part of Dubai Culture's activities to mark the UAE Innovation Week held from November 22 to 28.
Dubai Culture plays a pivotal role in driving awareness of and strengthening Emirati heritage and national identity. It is committed to cultivating the cultural landscape of Dubai by building on the Emirate's rich heritage, and by nurturing and promoting talent. The diverse activities of Dubai Culture all-year-round are aimed at encouraging intercultural dialogue and supporting initiatives that enrich the community.