UAE set to become safe haven for artists: Expats

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai Filed on April 4, 2021
Photo by Ryan Lim/Khaleej Times

The strategic programme launched in Dubai will see the number of creative sector firms almost double from 8,000 to 15,000 within five years.

With the string of new initiatives rolled out for artists and creatives, the UAE will soon transform into a global centre for culture and the ‘safest’ hub for talent in the world, expats have said. For experts, these programmes would provide creatives with the opportunity to make a livelihood out of their passion.

On Saturday, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced the launch of the Dubai Creative Economy Strategy to boost the value of the city’s creative sector, aiming to generate more jobs and doubling the number of companies in the industry.

The strategic programme launched in Dubai will see the number of creative sector firms almost double from 8,000 to 15,000 within five years, stated the Ruler of Dubai. The programme will also see the number of creative professionals go up from 70,000 to 150,000 in the emirate.

With the slew of visa schemes that were launched by the government of UAE this year, creatives in the country are hoping more people will now come to the UAE to pursue careers in the arts.

Satyen Babla, CEO and founder of Dans Studio, said: “The UAE has always been spearheading growth in this region not just in traditional business, but also in the arts sector. Now, as a business owner in the arts field, this initiative gives me the assurance that local talents are receiving support.”

Mahua Chauhan, artistic director for Xpression Art and a professional Kathak dancer, said the UAE could even be a pioneer in creating such a robust programme for the sector. “I don’t think any other government in the Middle East and in the Asian countries are providing this much infrastructure for the liberal and performing arts to thrive.”

She added: “I expect it will bring a huge lot of flow of artists into the UAE especially because it offers such a safe environment to work.”

Richard Wilson, founder creative director of COLAB, said: “This is yet another example of how Dubai continues to retain its position as a regional leader. Despite its established position as the creative hub for the region, Dubai and its leadership are not content on resting on their laurels.”

Dubai’s announcement came as Art Dubai ended on Saturday. The emirate had also recently announced that it would grant cultural visas to 1,000 creators and artists from across the world.

The concept of a creative economy covers broad and varied fields, including publishing, writing, audio-visual and print media. Cinema, music and video are part of the sector.

Other fields include artistic and cultural industries, cultural heritage museums, historical sites, archives, major cultural events, libraries, and the software and videogame industry.

It also includes design, whether related to fashion, gaming, software, or architecture. The strategy will see the launch of an integrated zone for creative individuals in Dubai.

Recent UAE initiatives for creative sector

>>‘First 10-year cultural visa in the world’

The golden visa is granted to creative talents in the fields of literature, culture, arts, heritage studies, history, knowledge, intellectual and creative industries based on several mandatory conditions.

>>‘Abu Dhabi’s creative visa scheme’

On February 14, the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) announced that the Creative Visa is open to talented individuals in certain fields within the cultural and creative industries, including heritage, performing arts, visual arts, design and crafts, gaming and e-sports, media and publishing. The initiative seeks to increase opportunities for residency and employment in Abu Dhabi, while simultaneously bolstering the creative scene in the UAE.


Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88

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