About Al Burda Festival

Al Burda Festival, a biennial initiative launched in 2018 by the UAE Ministry of Culture & Youth, is a platform for engaging in cutting-edge dialogues around the present and future of Islamic arts and culture. A global space for creative leaders, scholars, artists, and community members to collaborate, exchange insights, and co-create ideas, Al Burda Festival introduces younger generations to the diversity of Islamic arts and culture, rethinks and reshapes narratives, and strengthens the position of Islamic culture on the global stage.

“At Al Burda Festival, we gather a global community to drive forward a vision of Islamic arts and culture that is connected and forward-looking. Al Burda is a unique platform where society, technology and the arts overlap to create a platform for exchange and ultimately, evolution.”

HE Noura Al Kaabi
Minister of Culture & Youth


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Defining IAC
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What does ‘Islamic arts and culture’ mean to you? The diversity of the Muslim world means there are myriad answers to this question. And the beauty of it all? There is no unique answer. In looking to define Islamic arts and culture, Al Burda has found universality. In 2016, Dubai Culture & Arts Authority published the Islamic Culture and Arts Economy Report, spearheading the exercise of defining Islamic arts and culture through nine categories, each breaking out into sub-categories. On the occasion of Al Burda Festival, we are crowdsourcing this effort by embracing your voices to help us define Islamic arts and culture. Join us at the Festival from 19-21 December, where an interactive installation will gather your thoughts and ultimately, expand our understanding of what Islamic arts and culture is.
Al Burda Festival in at a glance


Dubai Culture & Arts Authority

On 8th March 2008, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched Dubai Culture & Arts Authority to be the custodian of Dubai’s cultural and creative sector and help define it at the local and global levels, enabling and developing these sectors to consolidate the emirate’s position as an active global centre for creativity. Under the leadership of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture, the Authority is committed to enriching Dubai’s cultural scene based on the UAE’s heritage, and is building bridges of constructive dialogue between various cultures to enhance Dubai’s position as a global centre for culture, an incubator for creativity, and a thriving hub for talent. The Authority is committed to reviving Dubai’s history and highlighting its contemporary cultural fabric through a series of innovative cultural initiatives, events and projects, and the cultural and heritage assets it sponsors, including the management of 5 of the city’s notable heritage monuments, 6 museums, and 9 Dubai Public Library branches. Dubai Culture is developing regulatory frameworks for Dubai’s cultural and creative sectors based on the priorities of its strategic roadmap 2020 – 2026 and the enablers that seek to support talents and stimulate active participation from society members. The aim is to create an ecosystem that stimulates creative industries and reinforces Dubai’s position as a global cultural destination, and its cultural responsibility of safeguarding Dubai’s tangible and intangible cultural heritage.
Exhibition Partner


Established in Dubai in 2008 by Lateefa bint Maktoum, Tashkeel seeks to provide a nurturing environment for the growth of contemporary art and design practice rooted in the UAE. Through multi-disciplinary studios, work spaces and galleries located in both Nad Al Sheba and Al Fahidi, it enables creative practice, experimentation and dialogue among practitioners and the wider community. Operating on an open membership model, Tashkeel’s annual programme of training, residencies, workshops, talks, exhibitions, international collaborations and publications aims to further practitioner development, public engagement, lifelong learning and the creative and cultural industries. Tashkeel’s range of initiatives include: Tanween, which takes a selected cohort of emerging UAE-based designers through a nine-month development programme to take a product inspired by the surroundings of the UAE from concept to completion; Critical Practice, which invites visual artists to embark on a one-year development programme of studio practice, mentorship and training that culminates in a major solo presentation; Make Works UAE, an online platform [visit make.works] connecting creatives and fabricators to enable designers and artists accurate and efficient access to the UAE manufacturing sector; Exhibitions & Workshops to challenge artistic practice, enable capacity building and grow audience for the arts in the UAE; and the heart of Tashkeel, its Membership, a community of creatives with access to facilities and studio spaces to refine their skills, undertake collaborations and pursue professional careers. Visit tashkeel.org | make.works
Exhibition Partner


SWALIF Publishing House is an independent collective based in the UAE, providing emerging writers and artists in the MENA region a platform through which they can explore their craft and showcase their work to the world. In the Khaleeji dialect, the word 'swalif' means conversations and interactions - we want to redevelop the way we exchange thoughts, and hope to build a sense of community and connection amongst art and literature enthusiasts by facilitating conversations through various mediums, including book/magazine publishing, gallery participation, exhibition hosting, podcast production, film screenings, and more.  
Exhibition Partner

National Pavilion UAE

The National Pavilion UAE – La Biennale di Venezia is an award-winning pavilion which curates untold stories about the UAE’s arts and architecture through its participation at the Venice Biennale, and provides a high-profile platform for curatorial concepts that address critical international conversations from a distinctive local perspective. For each annual edition of the Biennale, one of the world’s most significant and rigorous cultural platforms, the National Pavilion UAE appoints and works with curators, artists, and contributors to conceive, research and develop an exhibition and accompanying publication that advance and preserve understanding of the UAE’s cultural landscape. Since 2009, its exhibitions have explored the nation’s cultural evolution from 20th century experimental artists to the diverse contemporary scene. In parallel with its exhibitions in Venice, the National Pavilion UAE engages with communities in the UAE to support the growth of the local cultural and creative industries, through public programming and professional opportunities. Alongside an extensive pool of artists, architects, curators, researchers and partners who have contributed to its exhibitions over the years, the UAE’s Venice Internship program has provided training and hands-on experience to more than 200 interns, many of whom are now working successfully in cultural fields. The National Pavilion UAE is an independent non-profit organization, commissioned by the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation and supported by the UAE Ministry of Culture and Youth.
Exhibition Partner

Sharjah Museums Authority

As directed by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, the Sharjah Museums Authority ــ SMA was established in 2006 as an autonomous government authority. SMA links and oversees 16 museums across Sharjah that cover widely varied fields, including Islamic art and culture, archaeology, heritage, science, marine life, as well as the history of Sharjah and the region. Our vision is to be a cultural beacon that enhances Sharjah’s identity locally and internationally and contribute in nurturing a community aware of museums’ importance as a cultural, educational and enjoyable destination. Our mission is to deliver the highest museum standards to preserve collections & enhance an appreciation of culture and learning through our exhibitions, educational and community programs.
Exhibition Partner

Al Ghadeer Emirati Crafts

Al Ghadeer Emirati Crafts is one of the Emirates Red Crescent prominent projects under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Shamsa Bint Hamdan Al Nahyan, the Emirates Red Crescent President’s Assistant for Women’s Affairs, which aims to empower underprivileged women through sustainable crafts. Since 2006, the organization set out to provide women with training, designs, raw materials, and marketing services to create culturally inspired products to assist them in earning a dignified living and sustain traditional crafts. Boasting more than 200 craftswomen.)
Exhibition Partner


Themes from the adventurer Ibn Battuta's travels influence the architecture and style of this property, with intricate designs and experiences. This 5-star hotel in Dubai is ideally located for travellers who wish to take advantage of all Dubai has to offer, with shopping malls and beaches close by. With four outlets including restaurants and bars, a myriad of experiences offers guests weekly theme nights with food and drinks, along with an everyday happy hour. The outlets include Mistral, the all-day dining buffet restaurant, which also hosts an extravagant Friday Brunch. Revo Café & Bar, a retro-themed café with colourful, creative and fun dishes & beverages. Moroc Lounge, the main place to go with a fully equipped bar and a plethora of drinks and snacks to offer, Moroc Lounge also offers theme nights such as Sangria night, Ladies night, Sports nights, BBQ nights and many more. Skyline Pool Bar, with a view of the skyline and colourful skies, this pool bar gets plenty of sun and is perfect to make a day out of with friends and family. As you explore the hotel, you’ll notice that many areas of the hotel are named after a place Ibn Battuta visited. Each floor is themed according to one of his destinations and the themes are visible in each Battuta Suite. In the main Al Bahou Grand Atrium, you can walk below the mesmerising 88 giant handcrafted lanterns, which also symbolise the 88 countries Ibn Battuta visited.
Hotel Partner


MuslimKids.TV is a leading global specialty streaming service based in Canada. We provide the highest quality digital content for children which empowers them with positivity. We help children become ethical and moral global citizens, superheroes who will be the builders of a better future. By spreading kindness, inclusiveness, and hope, we strategically counter the harm caused by the negative messages about certain religions and races.We are trail blazers making children’s content which speaks to contemporary realities while respecting traditional cultural contexts. MuslimKids.TV was established in 2014 and is delivered to its customers through web, app stores, Smart TV platforms and via mobile network operators (MNOs) and mobile financial services (MFS). Subscribers access premium educational entertainment through our proprietary technology including subscription video on demand (SVOD); linear streaming children’s TV channels for pre-school, kids and tweens; a game platform; and an eBook library with thousands of titles. MuslimKids.TV is the category leader globally for Muslim streaming services. In 2020 the platform was named the Best Halal Media Service by the SMIIC standardizations body of the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation). The company was founded by Michael (AbdurRahman) Milo and Flordeliza Dayrit.
Media Partner


MBZMFG was launched in 2017 to connect youth with leaders in the UAE around a program of transformative experiences. Through the Forum, Labs and research it organizes, MBZMFG celebrates the diversity and innovative drive of our youth and the power of collaborative action to shape the future of the UAE.
Knowledge Partner

American University of Sharjah (AUS)

Founded in 1997, American University of Sharjah (AUS) is ranked among the top 10 universities in the Arab World (QS World University Rankings, 2022), and is recognized for its excellence in delivering American-style liberal arts education in the UAE. AUS values learners who are not driven only by academic success, but who embrace the university’s dynamic campus life, embodying its ideals of openness, tolerance and respect. This combination of academic excellence and community spirit ensures AUS is filled with world-class faculty and students who are poised to become the leaders of tomorrow. AUS offers 28 majors and 45 minors at the undergraduate level, 16 master's degrees programs and three PhD programs through the College of Architecture, Art and Design; the College of Arts and Sciences; the College of Engineering; and the School of Business Administration. Through the College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD), AUS is a leader in design and architecture education (QS World University Subject Rankings, 2022). From designing some of the UAE's most iconic structures and interior spaces to receiving global acclaim for sustainable design and innovation, CAAD faculty, alumni and students are leading in the areas of architecture, interior design, design management, multimedia design, visual communication and urban planning, and shaping the future of design in the region. www.aus.edu
Knowledge Partner

The University of Sharjah

The University of Sharjah is a comprehensive academic institution with a distinctive learning style and a global vision. It is a pioneer in academia, scientific research and the arts in the UAE and the GCC region. All programs are accredited by the UAE Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. Some programs such as Engineering, Communication, Science and Business have attained international accreditation. Vision The University of Sharjah is an innovative world-class teaching, learning and research institution providing a distinctive, inspirational, creative and supportive environment. Mission The University of Sharjah is committed to providing a world-class educational experience that prepares lifelong learners and leaders with integrated knowledge and skills. We are passionate about building a collaborative and sustainable environment that cultivates twenty-first century skills and fosters pioneering research and scholarship. We seek to serve the current and future needs of our local community and beyond by offering innovative academic and professional programs. UoS offers more than 100 programs across multiple academic disciplines. Courses are offered in a variety of fields ranging from Sharia and Law to Health Sciences, Medicine, Fine Arts and Design, Engineering and Communication. We also offer a wide range of degree programs at the diploma, BSc/BA, MSc/MA, and PhD levels as well as the Executive MBA (EMBA) program.
Knowledge Partner


Created by an exceptional agreement between the governments of Abu Dhabi and France, Louvre Abu Dhabi was designed by Jean Nouvel and opened on Saadiyat Island in November 2017. The museum is inspired by traditional Islamic architecture and its monumental dome creates a rain of light effect and a unique social space that brings people together. Louvre Abu Dhabi celebrates the universal creativity of mankind and invites audiences to see humanity in a new light.  Through its innovative curatorial approach, the museum focuses on building understanding across cultures: through stories of human creativity that transcend civilisations, geographies and times. The museum’s growing collection is unparalleled in the region and spans thousands of years of human history, including prehistoric tools, artefacts, religious texts, iconic paintings and contemporary artworks. The permanent collection is supplemented by rotating loans from 13 French partner institutions, regional and international museums. Louvre Abu Dhabi is a testing ground for new ideas in a globalised world and champions new generations of cultural leaders. Its international exhibitions, programming and Children’s Museum are inclusive platforms that connect communities and offer enjoyment for all.
Knowledge Partner


Founded in 1996, ADMAF is one of the oldest, not-for-profit culturalorganizations in the Arabian Gulf. Pioneering new artistic practices, it seeks todeepen global cross-cultural dialogue and inspire a renewed interest in thecreativity of the UAE and Arab world. Often in partnership with leading nationaland international institutions, it delivers multi-disciplinary initiatives for people ofall ages, backgrounds, and nationalities through the Abu Dhabi Festival, year-round youth platforms, and community program.
Knowledge Partner

Zayed University

Zayed University is a national and regional leader of educational innovation dedicated to the socio-economic advancement of the UAE. Encompassing two modern campuses in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai, enrollment on each campus exceeds 4000 national and international students. A model of educational excellence, Zayed University is committed to providing a first-class educational experience tailored to the individual needs of students, through the application of the latest academic pedagogies delivered by a distinguished faculty of internationally renowned scholars.
Knowledge Partner


Afikra is a grassroots movement which aims to convert passive interest in the Arab world's histories and cultures into an active intellectual curiosity, and to reframe dominant narratives. Since its inception in 2014, Afikra has hosted hundreds of events, published media, and created educational content that inspires a 50,000-strong community to expand its understanding of the Arab world.
Knowledge Partner


Anghami is the leading digital music entertainment technology platform in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), with the largest catalogue comprising more than 57 million songs available for more than 70 million users. When it launched in 2012, Anghami was the first music-streaming platform in the MENA region. In digitizing the region’s music, it has become the best-known and best-loved brand in music streaming in the region. Today, Anghami features licensed content from leading Arabic labels, independent artists, and distributors. Anghami also features music from major International labels such as Universal, Sony, and Warner, and is continuously licensing new content
Music Partner

Life water Partner

LIFEWTR. We exist to advance and showcase new sources of creation and creativity. We give a platform to emerging artists, democratize art and quench world’s thirst for inspiration. Every bottle is a canvas, every drop inside a source of life. Art is a universal language. LIFEWTR’s Art Beyond Borders series will showcase artists whose work is influenced not only by their own, but also by other cultures. All of the artists in this LIFEWTR series share an ability to transcend borders through their work and in their lives. When an artist works between and across cultures, they bring something of themselves and their experience, and they absorb some of the new – they embrace the intersections. Each of these LIFEWTR artists is engaged in a dialogue beyond borders. Athier Basmah Felemban Ebtisam Abdulaziz
Official Water Partner

The Art and Culture Development Foundation (ACDF)

The Art and Culture Development Foundation (ACDF) under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan was established in 2017 by the decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan. The Foundation’s activities are aimed at the preservation of cultural heritage, the promotion of the contemporary culture of Uzbekistan, and the development of inclusive environments in the public sector. The ACDF actualizes traditions and promotes innovation through an extensive program of cross-disciplinary projects, research, architectural restoration, cultural exchange, international collaborations, exhibitions, concerts, performances, and conferences, among other initiatives.
Legacy Partner

U.S. Mission in the UAE

Established in 1974, the U.S. Mission in the UAE promotes friendly relations between both countries, and deepens bilateral cooperation on a full range of issues, including defense, trade, law enforcement, energy policy, and cultural exchange. The Mission also works with Emirati partners to promote peace and security, support economic growth, and improve educational opportunities.
Legacy Partner

Abu Dhabi Art

Abu Dhabi Art is held under the patronage His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Office. Abu Dhabi Art expands beyond the notion of a traditional art fair in placing emphasis on a diverse public engagement programme, including art installations and exhibitions, talks and events, that take place in different locations throughout the year. The culmination of this year-long programme is the Abu Dhabi Art event in November, which provides an important sales platform for participating galleries whilst also offering these galleries an opportunity to showcase ambitious installations and site-specific works by their artists to a wide audience.
Legacy Partner

Which disciplines do you relate to Islamic arts and culture (IAC)? Help us expand the map of IAC categories and sub-categories