By Tamara Pupic
The Culture Shift Lab 2015 has awarded CULTURESCAPE and Creative Dubai for their digital innovation ideas.
The winning teams of the British Council UAE’s first regional innovation development programme for UAE-based designers, artists and developers, have created digital platforms to give a voice to grassroots artists in Dubai.
The Culture Shift Lab 2015, the council’s global innovation programme delivered by the Scotland-based innovation agency, Snook, was recently organised at thejamjar in Al Quoz, Dubai.
Exploring how around 20 UAE’s nationals and residents, individually or in groups, could use technology to benefit the cultural sector in the UAE, the lab awarded CULTURESCAPE, a listings website to give small art events in Dubai exposure to a wider audience, developed by Hussam Mohsineh, software engineer, and Mehrad Yaghma.
In addition to the winning idea, an online brand Creative Dubai which aims to give a voice to grassroots artists in the UAE through a website and social media was announced as the joint winner.
Creative Dubai was developed by Alex Teodoresco, co-founder of Street Nights, Hetal Pawani, founder of thejamjar and Artinthecity, Wael Hattar, an artist, and Mel Songco, digital media and advertising entrepreneur, who before the lab started had not worked together.
Speaking about their experience, Mohsineh said: “This British Council Culture Shift Lab was a great opportunity to bring technology to arts and culture – we haven’t been involved in anything like this before.
“There is currently such limited exposure for smaller art events in the UAE but we’ve identified that it’s a growing industry and our website will enable all cultural events – whether small or established – to be listed for free in one place, which will benefit the artists and art enthusiasts in Dubai. Hopefully within one month our website (www.culturescape.co) will be live!”
The lab’s winners will be awarded with the access to the British Council’s international, regional and local contacts, and the opportunity to take part as delegates or speakers in the British Council’s international programme while further developing their work.
Alex Teodoresco from Creative Dubai added: “We also identified that it is difficult for smaller organisations in the art world to be heard and that we need to educate, inspire and create awareness. Dubai has a strong grassroots movement that we can give a voice to.
“We hope to launch our Creative Dubai brand online and through social media platforms and attract influencers and ambassadors, reach out to the art community and discover new trends in the UAE in the very near future.”