Dubai has announced plans to introduce long-term residency visas for artists, authors and innovators as part of efforts to boost the arts scene in the emirate and to develop the city as an incubator for creative talent.

In a tweet on 1 October, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum announced plans to introduce cultural visas following a meeting with Dubai’s Culture & Arts Authority.

The meeting saw the launch of an initiative to foster collaboration between the emirate’s 6,000 art and culture companies, and its five creative clusters, 20 museums and more than 550 annual cultural events.

Sheikh Mohammed said that the aim of the initiative was to position Dubai as a global art destination.

Skills for life

Dubai’s ruler also approved the establishment of a new creative free zone for innovators and artists in the city’s Al-Quoz district, and announced the launch of seven ‘Schools of Life’ cultural centres aimed at equipping young people in Dubai with life skills in art, innovation and creativity.

The plan to introduce long-term cultural residency visas was welcomed by many in the emirate’s creative industries, who currently are required to be employed by a company in order to gain a long-term residency visa.

On 2 October, consultant Strategy& released a report calling for GCC governments to invest more in community facilities, visual arts and live entertainment.

The report urged governments to make arts and culture offerings more available and publicise them better.

Based on a survey of 1,200 consumers across the region and an assessment of current and planned leisure and entertainment (L&E) assets in the region, GCC consumers were found to be not sufficiently engaged in arts and culture.

A better alignment between L&E investments and customer preferences could deliver up to $3.4bn a year in additional revenues across the GCC, according to Strategy&.