Monday 19 April 2021 - 8:14:43 am

Culture Summit Abu Dhabi opens virtually

ABU DHABI, 8th March, 2021 (WAM) -- 'Culture Summit Abu Dhabi' today returned to the UAE capital for the fourth year in an online format, exploring the theme of 'The Cultural Economy and the Economy of Culture."

Organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, the summit brings global experts in the fields of design, heritage, media, public policy, technology and business for a series of speeches, panel discussions, case studies, artist talks and performances.

Addressing the summit, Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of DCT – Abu Dhabi, said culture is a mainstay for prosperity for any community, and therefore should remain at the heart of issues prioritised by decision makers.

"Culture is a lifeboat for humanity at large under the exceptional circumstances the world is reeling under due to the overwhelmingly negative impact the COVID-19 pandemic has on mental health; and as the fallout of this pandemic is projected to persist, culture becomes our ideal refuge," he added.

Delivering her opening address, Audrey Azoulay, Director General, UNESCO, said that cultural recovery is an anthropological necessity, and an economic necessity, "for the creative economy generates trillions of dollars every year, and its impact and influence is often underestimated. It is also a necessity for peace, because culture brings people together closer, by building bridges and by creating meaning.

"For all these reasons, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2021 the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development. This is also the ambition of the Culture Summit Abu Dhabi, to jointly reflect of means of action."

Before the pandemic, the culture and creative industries (CCI) were one of the fastest growing sectors in the world economy. But the sector was one of the hardest struck by COVID.

CCI and the wider cultural economy continue to hold great promise in contributing to economic recovery and also for wider public good, in addressing inequity, promoting social inclusion, fostering cultural diversity and advancing sustainable development. To realise these opportunities, the search is on for more adaptable, resilient and collaborative approaches to building and sustaining cultural and creative ecosystems.

Culture Summit Abu Dhabi 2021 explores the challenges and opportunities associated with building these ecosystems and the benefits they can deliver around the world. A strong theme is the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development, 2021, led by Summit partner the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Topics that are being explored during the Summit include: What is the post-covid cultural economy? Can the cultural economy advance sustainability goals? How does mass migration impact the cultural economy? Can the cultural economy tackle global inequality? Cultural Infrastructure: What are the guiding principles to reimagine the ethics and responsibilities of today’s cultural institutions? Making the local: How can arts institutions become urgent for their communities? Globalism in a Post-Pandemic World: What are the new realities and possibilities shaping global art museums and biennials today? How to channel funding towards culture in post-crisis situations? Why do we focus on artists and the digital technology for the development of a creative economy? and What role can the cultural economy and the culture and creative industries play in urban recovery and resilience?

WAM/Hatem Mohamed