Photo: Sharjah Art Foundation


Sharjah Art Foundation, in partnership with the U.S. Consulate General Dubai, the Smithsonian Institution and the Sharjah Museums Authority, and with the support of the UAE Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development, is pleased to announce Outreach and Engagement: Broadening Access to Arts and Culture. This two-day professional development programme on community outreach and audience building will take place at Sharjah Art Museum on 22 and 23 April 2019.

Organised by Sharjah Art Foundation, this programme for professionals working in the arts, culture and education sectors will explore key aspects of community outreach and audience engagement, from best practices and opportunities to challenges and obstacles. Included are panel discussions, workshops and breakout sessions such as ‘Pathways to Engagement – Scholarship, Institutional Partnerships and Community Outreach’, ‘Outreach and Education in the Digital Age’, ‘The Role of Public Programming in Audience Engagement’ and ‘Measuring Audience Impact’.

The programme will feature Nancy Micklewright, Head of Public and Scholarly Engagement, and Matthew Lasnoski, Educator in Youth and Family Programs, from the Freer|Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Emily Haight, Social Media Manager, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Manal Ataya, Director General, and Shaikha Al Mazrouei, Senior Education Specialist for Accessibility Programmes, from the Sharjah Museums Authority; Mohannad Al Bakri, Director of External Relations and Partnerships, NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Centre; Lana Shamma, Programmes Manager, Art Jameel, Dubai; and speakers from other key institutions in the UAE.

HE Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi, President and Director of Sharjah Art Foundation, stated, ‘Sharjah Art Foundation is delighted to be working with our distinguished partners on this professional development programme. As increasing audience engagement is central to the mission of all the participating organisations, we are coming together to share our knowledge and experience as well as our opportunities and the challenges we face. Through these discussions, we aim to propose practical strategies for building and more fully engaging the diverse audiences and communities in which we work both locally and regionally.’

U.S. Consul General Philip Frayne said, ‘The U.S. Consulate General in Dubai has long been impressed with the work of the Sharjah Art Foundation and Sharjah Museums Authority and the impact they have on the cultural landscape of Sharjah, the UAE, and beyond. We are proud to bring representatives of the Smithsonian Institution, “America’s national museum,” to the UAE for this important workshop. Expanding the breadth and the reach of cultural institutions and programs is so important since art serves as a welcome bridge between diverse cultures and peoples.’

‘It is critical to continue to work on outreach programmes that help us influence more diverse audiences,’ said Manal Ataya, Director General of the Sharjah Museums Authority. ‘We want everyone in our community to experience museums so that they explore their interests, have stimulating conversations and are able to express their creativity. Museums offer programmes that create these opportunities, and we must encourage the widest demographic of visitors of all ages to engage with us. I believe it is our responsibility as a cultural institution to engage all segments of the community, especially young people, to help them in understanding and shaping the world around them.’

The programme will also include a guided tour of Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber.

Participation is free, and lunch will be provided on each day of the event. To learn more about the programme, please contact Sharjah Art Foundation’s Adult Education Programme at or (06) 5685050.