London is a diverse and internationally connected city; a factor which enhances its status as a centre for finance, business, culture and administration.
To facilitate dialogue and international exchange, the Mayor of London’s Office organises regular cultural festivals to engage with and celebrate links to particular countries or regions. These events show Londoners the contemporary aspects of these cultures, engage local diaspora communities and strengthen relationships in the spheres of culture, business, tourism, retail, and education. The Mayor’s Office works in partnership with a range of London venues and partners, including major galleries, museums, arts organisations, universities and businesses, as well as organisations and embassies from the relevant countries.
The Mayor’s Office is developing a festival in 2011 about the contemporary Arab world and is working with a range of organisations.
There is, of course, a long historic link between Britain and the Arab world. Today, the countries of the 22 states of the Arab League are also important for London in terms of tourism, inward investment, business and higher education connections and cultural collaboration. Many London-based cultural organisations, such as the British Museum and the Serpentine Gallery have cultivated relationships with partners across the region in recent years.
- Increase Londoners’ understanding of the Arab world and showcase exciting and innovative cultural developments in architecture, visual arts, music, theatre, literature, fashion, film, and food.
- Enable an official welcome by the London Mayor to visitors from the region during summer 2011
- Offer new networking opportunities between cultural and business organisations in London and the Arab world.
- Create high impact, positive media coverage in the region and London.
- Enhance London’s status as a welcoming, cosmopolitan city in the run up to 2012
- Build relationships of mutual respect and engagement for the long term.
Date: 4th –24th July 2011
The cultural programme may include the following strands:
· Reception and dinner hosted by the Mayor and Festival Patrons for select business and diplomatic contacts
· Exhibitions and performances at venues around London showing work commissioned for the festival or loaned from Arab galleries and museums
(up to 5 high quality initiatives presented by leading London/Arab artists and institutions)
· Headline cultural and performance all-day event in central London location, with involvement of Arab artists
· All-day Arab cultural and gastronomic celebration including street dining and cooking demonstrations (closure or part closure of Edgware Road, programming in partnership with key local cultural institutions such as the Serpentine and inviting participation from range of local community and retail organisations)
· Festival of contemporary Arab film (to be programmed in partnership with organisations such as ICA, BAFTA, BFI and / or Zenith)
· Publication of a guide to London in Arabic (to be created in partnership with Visit London or Time Out)
· Visual arts exhibition hosted by leading auction house
· Presentations on culture in the Arab world e.g. ground-breaking architecture in the Gulf, establishing new museums and galleries in places like Qatar (programmed in partnership with organisations like the British Museum)
· Training and familiarisation events for the corporate world including how to do business with London and the Arab world (to be programmed with leading business partner, with possible input from Think London, ABCC and Arab League)
· Partner programme with London cultural organisations across visual arts, architecture, design, fashion, music, drama and film (a programme of 40-50 high quality events including UK premieres of work from the Arab region, and showcasing existing and new UK Arab artistic collaborations)
· Closing event with performance by household name from the Arab world (the artist would be carefully selected to ensure greatest possible media cut through in Arab region, performance would be programmed at leading London venue such as Barbican or South Bank)
A range of participants are confirmed in the programme, including:
Museum of London
Institute of Contemporary Art
Arab British Chamber of Commerce
Council of Arab Ambassadors
There would be a strong marketing and communications campaign in London and across the Arab world, including brochures, advertising and social media. This would be developed and delivered in partnership with participating cultural organisations and sponsors. Various media partners would be secured to ensure high level impact and a specialist PR agency has been recruited.
Supporting the festival
A lead sponsor has already been secured and we are seeking additional partners from the corporate sector and private philanthropists. These may be for the entire festival or for specific art commissions and strands of activity. We are also looking for in-kind support and partners within the cultural sector who can contribute to programming.