Young boys perform a sword dance during a festival in Muscat.
Young boys perform a sword dance during a festival in Muscat.
Tuesday 10 December 2019 to Thursday 12 December 2019

From Tuesday 10 December to Thursday 12 December 2019, the British Council in Oman will hold the Gulf Festival Academy, a short course focused on skills development relevant to the GCC countries. 

The Gulf Festival Academy will take place in Muscat and aims to contribute to the growth and sustainability of the festival sector in the Gulf as a socio-economic contributor to the countries’ economies.

British Council’s work around festival skills is in line with the Gulf countries’ new vision to move investment towards a knowledge-based economy that will help diversify the countries’ income away from its reliance on natural resources.

The Gulf countries are home to some remarkable festivals. Many events feature traditional craft and heritage and others focus on the display of contemporary art and live performance.

Today, festivals contribute to the sharing of culture and traditions, creating a space to celebrate a nation’s heritage and sense of place and identity. Festivals also offer socio-economic benefits to local communities, as they can be a source of employment and international attraction. In some cases, they encourage fresh thinking about urban planning, environmental issues and social inclusion.

The Academy aims to:

  • Bring early stage together festival professionals and future leaders from the six GCC countries who are interested in developing new audiences, venues, and new ways of working
  • Enable participants to articulate and discuss their festival vision, mission for the present and the future
  • Develop skills in successful festival management which can be applied locally
  • Empower participants to find new solutions and routes to sustainability, through learning the principles of festival management and sharing with their peers from the Gulf festival sector.

Festival industry experts Edinburgh Science Worldwide in partnership with Edinburgh Napier University Business School have designed and will deliver the Gulf Festival Academy which will be a three day workshop combining theoretical knowledge and specialist practical experience of delivering world class festivals. The Academy will support participants to develop their skills in festival management, stakeholder management, business modelling, audience development and digital presence.

The Gulf Festival Academy responds to a 2019 research report by BOP, who were commissioned by the British Council, and the discussions from the inaugural Festival Symposium held in February 2019 in Muscat around the benefits of strengthening the Gulf Festival sector and the social and economic impact that festivals can make.

A copy of the Gulf Festival Skills Research report is available here. For more information on the Gulf Festival Academy, please contact your local British Council office.