The UAE’s homegrown cultural enterprise Alserkal and Expo 2020 Dubai have joined forces to create a new program ‘Cultures in Conversation’-- a series of multi-disciplinary events, cross-cultural conversations, and artistic interventions.
Commissioned by Expo 2020 and programed by Alserkal, the initiative is part of ‘Build Bridges,’ one of the five tracks under Expo’s Programme for People and Planet.
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Comprising UAE-based poets, artist collectives, and academics as well as international urban theorists, artists, and diplomats, ‘Cultures in Conversation’ will challenge the conventional talk format and instead debate pertinent topics through immersive experiences, artist interventions, informal conversations, and performances in order to address meaningful matters at the heart of cultural conversations today.
Anchored by 10 Theme Weeks, this extraordinary program of events, experiences, thought-leadership and public conversations aims to find solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing the global community today.
As Expo 2020 Dubai opened its doors to the world on October 1, 2021, Alserkal reaffirmed its commitment to fostering creativity and developing cultural content to create research-led programming.
The inaugural Cultures in Conversation session will take place on October 9, 2021, as part of Climate and Biodiversity Week.
The program will take place on the Saturday of each Theme Week, throughout Expo 2020 with the final session being held on March 26, 2022.
The free events will require registration and will be open to ticket-holding members of the public. Visitors can also book their place at one of the ‘Cultures in Conversation’ sessions via the Expo 2020 website.
Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal, Founder of Alserkal, said: “At Alserkal we share Expo 2020’s commitment to sustainable innovation and providing a platform for global exchange. Expo 2020 Dubai is a historic moment uniting the world and drawing attention to today’s challenges while imagining ambitious solutions. Alserkal is proud to help shape thinking around these urgent issues."
Nadia Verjee, Chief of Staff, Programme for People and Planet, Expo 2020 Dubai, added: “An integral part of the Programme for People and Planet focuses on the power of cultural exchange. We believe that intercultural dialogue is key to breaking down boundaries between people, creating better-informed individuals who see connections between people and cultures of the world, rather than divisions.
“As one of the most forward-thinking and established home-grown cultural initiatives in Dubai, Alserkal is perfectly placed to help us achieve this, and we can’t wait for visitors to take part in the Cultures in Conversation series.”
Some of the participants in the programme include: Charles Landry, an urban sociologist and an international authority on the role of creativity in urban and institutional change; Ambassador Lumumba Di-Aping, Climate Change Expert and Former Chief Negotiator for Developing Countries and Chair of the Rights of Future Generations Working Group; Omar Ghobash, Author, the Assistant Minister for Public and Cultural Diplomacy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in the UAE, and former UAE Ambassador to France and Russia; Nujoom Alghanem, Emirati poet, artist and film director; Sima Dance Company; a Syrian contemporary dance company based in Alserkal Avenue, Dubai; and the Engage 101 collective, an art collecting and research platform that aims to address gaps in the Gulf’s art ecosystem through sales featuring non-gallery represented artists and public programs.
Made for and belonging to the global community, the Programme for People and Planet at Expo 2020 addresses the world’s most critical issues and opportunities, aiming to inspire collective and meaningful action.
Through five tracks – Build Bridges, Leave No One Behind, Live in Balance, Thrive Together and UAE Vision 2071 – this programme will explore humanity’s most pressing challenges through cultural, social, environmental, and economic lenses.
Build Bridges strives to break down cultural boundaries, harnessing the power of storytelling, art, and music to foster intercultural dialogue and knowledge exchange.
‘Cultures in Conversation’ is Alserkal Advisory’s first project with Expo 2020 Dubai. Alserkal Advisory, the consultancy arm of Alserkal, is an independent, multi-disciplinary practice of thinkers, researchers, and specialists covering diverse fields and multiple geographies. A trusted contributor to and shaper of the local cultural ecosystem, Alserkal Advisory has over a decade of lived experience in heritage creation and cultural production—from creating context-specific public programming to establishing sustainable cultural destinations. Unconventional strategies enable the Advisory team to deliver memorable outcomes while remaining sensitive to client imperatives and regional demands.
Vilma Jurkute, Executive Director of Alserkal, comments: “At the heart of Alserkal and Alserkal Advisory we challenge conventional business practices and craft audience-specific public programs that resonate with our communities while assessing our impact on society, the environment, and local economies. Through partnering with Expo 2020 to conceptualise ‘Cultures in Conversation’ we have thoughtfully brought some of the world’s leading thinkers from multiple disciplines together to address and reimagine critical contemporary issues in a world of Anthropocene.
“‘Cultures in Conversation’ allows for a meta-narrative that offers reflection, awareness, and re-envisioned approaches, as a result engendering new forms of knowledge, activating social discourse, and shaping borderless communities on a collaborative Expo stage.”
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