Global Cultural Districts Network (GCDN) Convening in Dubai
por Juan Carlos Belloso
From April 8 to 12, 2018, the Global Cultural Districts Network (GCDN) met again in Dubai for its annual convening, bringing together over 120 cultural and urban leaders from 25 different countries to talk, share and learn about what is happening in cultural districts around the world.
The meeting was co-hosted by Alserkal Avenue, one of the leading cultural dis- tricts in Dubai. Delegates were also given the opportunity to explore Dubai and other cultural centres in the United Arab Emirates, with guided tours to Dubai Opera House, Sharjah Museums and Louvre Abu Dhabi.
Alserkal Avenue is located in the industrial area of Dubai and home to more than 60 creative businesses. The founder, Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal, transformed a group of warehouses on the site of a former marble factory into a hub for artists and entrepreneurs in Dubai and beyond. The centrepiece of the district is Concrete, which was the main location for the GDCN convening. Concrete opened in 2017 and was designed by Rem Koolhaas’s Office for Metropolitan Architecture to be an adaptable space for alternative programmes and muse- um-grade exhibitions.
The convening featured panel discussions and smaller working sessions on topics including anchor institutions, governance, the role of emergent technol- ogies, artwashing and gentrification, measurement and impact. A running theme throughout the convening was how commercial, civic and artistic interests are best served by cultural districts that operate in a variety of political contexts around the world.