Dubai’s thriving art community is soon to see the return of Campus Art Dubai, with this year’s instalment of a curatorial collaboration between Art Dubai and non-profit organisation Art Jameel. Now six years running, CAD 6.0 will offer a wide-ranging, five-month course to UAE-based artists, writers and curators to hone their practices under the mentorship of seasoned curators. This partnership will also give CAD participants access to Art Jameel research facilities and library upon Jameel Arts Centre’s opening next year.
In what Lantian Xie, Dubai-based artist and one of the three CAD 6.0 tutors, describes as “a space for critical thinking and the exchange of ideas,” selected participants will meet over weekends for workshops, lectures and seminars led by local and visiting tutors, engaging in artistic discourse. “One of the first things we wanted to avoid was to have a pedagogy of rotating doors through which people would parachute in, smile for cameras, and then leave right after,” Xie emphasises the platform’s role in educating and inspiring a younger generation of artists.
CAD 6.0 tutors Murtaza Vali, Uzma Z. Rizvi and Lantian Xie
The other two tutors at the helm this year are Brooklyn-based Uzma Z. Rizvi and Murtaza Vali, who, like Xie, also led the past two CAD programmes. Rizvi is a visiting scholar in the Department of International Studies at the American University of Sharjah, and Vali, a writer, art historian and curator. “Aside from the three of us, there are a lot of other folks who made CAD possible,” shares Xie, naming former Art Dubai director Antonia Carver, who conceived CAD, and Art Dubai programme manager Dawn Ross among those who have fuelled the programme.
CAD 6.0 is titled ‘Theme, Format, Mood, Setting’. “This year’s title looks to the idea of genres as a means to think through the many ways in which places like the Gulf can be envisioned,” says Xie. “Most often, genres are associated with film, music, literature, but we invite participants to expand that notion to consider our everyday landscapes as formal spaces of repeated affect.” CAD will delve into genres such as Rom-Com, Sci-Fi, Historical Fiction, Action, Surrealist, Noir, Travelogue, Documentary, and Western, all with the Gulf at the core.
The programme’s structure is such that each meeting is split into two half-day sessions: the first, a group critique featuring presentations of individual projects; and the second, a group discussion on the programme's theme. Participants will work on both individual and group projects. CAD has greatly evolved over the years with each edition featuring distinct lesson plans and reading materials, “all of which are developed with a great deal of sensitivity, thinking about what is urgent and pertinent in the world and time around it,” according to Xie. “We also encourage alumni to reapply so that each year we have at least some part of the conversation that holds over from the last.”
Project Space Art Jameel
Guest tutors, names yet to be unveiled, will also contribute to the programme’s line-up. Previously, Dubai-based artists Vikram Divecha and Raja’a Khalid were guest tutors at last year’s CAD, with the latter also having participated in CAD 3.0. CAD participants have gone on to be affiliated with celebrated regional and international platforms. Among them are Karim Sultan of CAD 3.0 and 4.0, now the curator of Barjeel Art Foundation’s collection of modern and contemporary Arab art, and Sara Al Haddad, participant at CAD 1.0, who showcased in the UAE Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale.
What must you offer to be selected for the programme? Xie says applications are welcome from anyone who is actively in the UAE. “We expect candidates to be intelligent, thoughtful and sensitive to their contexts, and applicants can in turn expect that we will collaborate, debate, and challenge them.”
At present, Project Space Art Jameel in Dubai’s Alserkal Avenue has been converted into a six-week experimental summer studio (till 6 September) for CAD members and alumni, offering participants the chance to discuss, research and practice their crafts.