Art Dubai 2016: Global Art Forum 10. The Future Was, 16 Mar 2016 — 19 Mar 2016

Art Dubai 2016: Global Art Forum 10. The Future Was

Madinat Jumeirah, Madinat Jumeirah, Al Sufouh Road, Umm Suqeim Exit 39 (Interchange 4) from Sheikh Zayed Roadi

Each year, the Global Art Forum brings together a diverse line-up of artists, curators, musicians, strategists, thinkers and writers to present and debate ideas around a curated theme. Typically featuring around 50 speakers, and running over five days, the Global Art Forum has become known as one of the largest and most significant annual arts conferences in the Middle East and Asia.

The tenth edition of the Global Art Forum explores the ways in which artists, writers, technologists, historians, musicians and thinkers have imagined – and are shaping – the future. Titled The Future Was, the Forum is conceived by Shumon Basar as Commissioner, with Amal Khalaf and Uzma Z. Rizvi as Co-directors.  The Forum takes place in Dubai and London in January 2016, and at its home at Art Dubai, March 16-19, 2016.

Art Dubai’s Global Art Forum is presented by the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and supported by Dubai Design District (d3).

Does it feel as if the future was once ahead of us, far away, but now the future surrounds us in our present, on our screens, with each compulsive finger-swipe? What were the great dreams of what was to come? What will they be? 

In customary fashion, the Global Art Forum will convene the most compelling minds from across and above planet Earth to tell untold histories and share speculative stories. The 21st century continues to measure new modernities – from Mumbai to Tehran to Dubai and beyond – with skyscrapers, satellites and space races, even as new futures are imagined, invented and rejected. Because the future is always unevenly distributed in its meaning, its memory and emotive draw. What else might the word “future” mean and why does it resist ever being fully understood?


Amal Khalaf is an artist, researcher and curator. She is the Projects Curator at the Serpentine Galleries and has been working on the Edgware Road Project since its inception in 2009. She is currently Commissioning Editor of Projects for online platform, Ibraaz and a founding member of artist collective GCC, as well as a trustee of the Crossway Foundation.

Uzma Z. Rizvi is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Urban Studies at the Pratt Institute of Art and Design, Brooklyn and a Visiting Scholar in the Department of International Studies at the American University of Sharjah. Recent publications include ‘Crafting Resonance: Empathy and Belonging in Ancient Rajasthan’ (2015), ‘Decolonizing Archaeology: On the Global Heritage of Epistemic Laziness’ (2015) and World Archaeological Congress Research Handbook on Postcolonial Archaeology (2010).


Shumon Basar was Director of Global Art Forum 6, Commissioner of Global Art Forum 7 and 8 and Director-at-Large of Global Art Forum 9. Co-author with Douglas Coupland and Hans Ulrich Obrist of The Age of Earthquakes: A Guide to the Extreme Present, he is also a founding member of the Fondazione Prada’s ‘Thought Council.’

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Madinat Jumeirah, Madinat Jumeirah, Al Sufouh Road, Umm Suqeim Exit 39 (Interchange 4) from Sheikh Zayed Roadi
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