How can culture help change the world for the better?

Representatives from more than 80 countries have gathered in Abu Dhabi to ask one question: How can culture help to make progressive change in the world?


The second edition of Culture Summit Abu Dhabi 2018, running until 12th April, has launched at Manarat Al Saadiyat under the theme of ‘unexpected collaborations’ across the arts, policy and technology industries. The summit focuses on exploring the effect of new media on culture and setting goals for the year ahead.

The annual event, organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), features art installations, daily panel discussions and live performances to bring different artists, creatives and leaders together to make change and find solutions to global issues.

This year’s line-up features artists in residence including Emirati poet Afra Atiq and British photographer Jimmy Nelson and performances from the Silk Road Ensemble and choreographer Aakash Odedra. A first-of-its-kind artist incubator will also be held this year, bringing 40 artists together for an innovative collaborative project.

David Rothkopf, CEO at Rothkopf Group and co-founder of the event, said: “Culture, which is often set aside as soft power, is something more than that. It’s culture that drives political views, it’s culture that drives divisions within societies and it’s culture that brings them together.

“We wanted to harness the power of culture to harness positive social change and do something unique.

“This year, there is a focus on what happens next, on deliverables on concrete outcomes. We’re going to have a series of workshops focussing on identifying programmes that we can cultivate that advance arts education worldwide and explore how we can use the arts to combat extremism and how we can use the training of artists to stimulate economies.

“We now live in a single global unified cultural ecosystem so it is much more possible for people from different corners of the globe to collaborate, not just artist to artist, but between disciplines and between artist and governments.

“That’s what we’re trying to do, catalyse positive social change and address issues.”

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