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British Council programme beefs up UAE-UK bond

ABU DHABI: The British Council on Sunday announced the performances and events which will form the autumn season of the UK/UAE 2017 Year of Creative Collaboration. The announcement was made in a gathering hosted jointly with the British Council’s strategic partner, the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development, at the Ministry’s headquarters in Abu Dhabi. The event was attended by Noura Bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development; Philip Parham, British Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, and many of the UK/UAE 2017 partners from around the country.

Noura Bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, remarked that the UK/UAE 2017 Year of Creative Collaboration makes a positive contribution to strengthening the relationship between the two countries in the fields of culture and knowledge development. She reiterated that the practice of cultural exchange through exploration of British culture and showcasing the UAE’s culture and artistic development, ultimately contributes to the widespread promotion of Emirati culture internationally.

She thanked all the attendees for their interest and presence at the press conference and stressed that the UK/UAE 2017 Year of Creative  Collaboration’s programme will provide an opportunity to learn more about the UK’s deeply rooted culture. She also called upon the different cultural entities participating in the Season’s programme to work together to best represent the cultural and historical richness of both countries.

Philip Parham, British Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, commented, “The ties between the UK and the UAE run deep,  but these bonds are even more dynamic and creative today. The Year of Creative Collaboration is a chance to reinforce and build on this for the future, as we grow together and further strengthen the connections between our people, businesses and institutions.”

Gavin Anderson, Director UAE, British Council said, “UK/UAE 2017 was established to celebrate our two countries’ historically close relationship, and the current lively state of cultural and economic exchange. This is exactly what was achieved with the spring season, and we look forward to further highlighting our strong ties and exploring new ways to collaborate and grow together in this next phase of the programme.”

UK/UAE 2017, which is organised by the British Council under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, is a cultural exchange programme between the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates, which celebrates the long-standing relationship between the two countries and looks to strengthen existing cultural and economic ties. The season is supported by the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development, The Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, Dubai Culture & Arts Authority and the British Embassy in the UAE as strategic partners.

During the first half of UK/UAE 2017, between March and June, the UAE public saw 26 projects, including over 140 events in 6 emirates and 90 film screenings. Over 3,000 people participated in talks, workshops or events and a further 85,000 people attended exhibitions, performances, film screenings or festivals. Following the successful spring programme, the autumn programme, which is supported by the British Government’s GREAT Britain campaign, will be filled with a rich assortment of cultural activity spanning the arts, literature, education, society, sport, science and trade.

The UK/UAE 2017 autumn programme will continue to explore the themes of community, inclusion and the next generation, in line with UAE Vision 2021. Throughout the year, the British Council is working with almost 100 British and Emirati partners, strengthening existing relationships and entering into new collaborations. Top UK institutions and creative practitioners are working with their UAE counterparts, showcasing British and Emirati talent to engage and inspire audiences across the UAE. 

Highlights of the autumn season include:

Digital Exhibition of the Birmingham Qur’an Manuscript: The University of Birmingham, in partnership with the British Council and with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development as strategic partner, will organise a digital exhibition opening in November. This will feature the Birmingham Qur’an manuscript, two parchment leaves of the Qur’an which have been radiocarbon dated to the early seventh century, making them one of the earliest examples of the Islamic holy book in existence. This Qur’an manuscript is considered a global treasure and is currently held at the University of Birmingham’s Cadbury Research Library.

The exhibition, which will come to Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Dubai, will be combined with an education programme including talks, workshops and  tours to engage students and the general public across the nation.

UK Guest of Honour Programme at Sharjah International Book Fair: As part of the UK/UAE 2017 Year of Creative Collaboration, the UK is the designated Guest of Honour for the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) 2017, taking place from the 1st to the 11th November. As Guest  of Honour, the UK will showcase excellence in contemporary British publishing and writing, literary brands and the digital exhibition of the aforementioned Birmingham Qur’an manuscript; there will also be trade days enabling UK publishers attending SIBF to meet new business partners from the Arab region.

UK/UAE 2017 Film Festival: The British Council in partnership with Image Nation Abu Dhabi will organise a special week-long event that brings together emerging and established filmmakers from the UK and the UAE. Building on the success of local initiatives such as Image Nation Abu Dhabi’s Arab Film Studio, this event seeks to showcase excellence in contemporary Emirati and British film, to provide a forum for professional exchange and to inspire the next generation of film-makers.

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