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Campus Art Dubai (CAD) is the first and only programme of its kind in the UAE; the intensive six-month course gives UAE-based artists, writers, curators and cultural producers the opportunity to develop their practices under the mentorship of world renowned curators. Meetings occur over weekends and feature courses, talks, workshops, taught and led by a local and international cast of academics, critics, curators and artists. The course provides a space for critical thinking and the exchange of ideas and skills, with participants encouraged to collaborate, debate and challenge.

Campus Art Dubai programme is a highly competitive membership level open to serious career-oriented artists, writers and curators.

CAD Core 5.0 was led by Murtaza Vali, Uzma Z Rizvi and Lantian Xie, with an invited group of international and local guest tutors, and focuses on the theme On Engagement: Rethinking Investment.

The 2016-17 participants included:

Rumaitha Alshehhi

Noush Anand

Layan Attari

Mona Ayyash

Reem Falaknaz

Nadine Ghandour

Uns Kattan

Sophiya Khwaja

Flounder Lee

Zara Mahmood

Moylin Yuan

Riem Ibrahim

Sara Masinaei

Noor Danielle Murteza

The course takes place on Saturdays, and includes group critiques, lectures and workshops with visiting tutors, as well as 84 hours of teaching, plus one-on-one mentoring sessions for each participant.

Campus Art Dubai is part of Art Dubai’s educational programming and is held in partnership with Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, and is supported by Dubai Design District (d3).


Skills: developing and articulating the practices of locally-based artists / writers / curators, through discussions, talks, workshops and mentoring, all informed by regular readings, plus visits to exhibitions and artists’ studios.

Feedback: presenting work and learning strategies for critique, self-critique and self-motivated practice; all participants present their work and discuss it with the class and visiting tutors at least twice over the six-month period.

Access: to international, regional, and local tutors, perspectives and audiences.

Projects: participants develop their own projects, and also work collaboratively on a project with the CAD Core class.


On Engagement: Rethinking Investment

CAD 5.0 was designed to interrogate the methodologies with which we engage with and invest in our surroundings locally, globally and in between spaces. Uzma Z. Rizvi, Murtaza Vali and Lantian Xie devised a course that dives head first into the issues of anxiety and unease that creative and cultural producers regularly navigate within their diasporas of meaning.

Through a series of seminars, workshops and off-site visits, participants explored the significance of local knowledge with individuals and institutions in the UAE, recognising that these dialogues reveal how investments are made in the social, political, cultural, and economic.  Drawing on the Latin root of ‘investment’, the course interrogated how stakeholders both clothe and are clothed by their affiliations, affections, and stakes. During the course, the participants investigated possibilities of making meaning where there is no space, troubling the silence of conversations, and thinking through the paradoxical landscapes that Dubai is known for. CAD 5.0 challenged its participants to think about how we work collaboratively and engage with our environments, communities, and publics.


Cuauhtémoc Medina is an art critic, curator and historian with a PhD in History and Theory of Art, University of Essex. Since 1993 he has been a full-time researcher at the Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, and between 2002 and 2008 was the first Associate Curator of Art, Latin American Collections at the Tate Modern. In 2012 was curator of the ninth edition of Manifesta The European Biennial of Contemporary Art, presented in Limburg, Belgium and in 2013 was curator in the 22º edition of ArteBA. He is currently Chief Curator at the MUAC Museum in Mexico City.

Riason Naidoo is curator of Any Given Sunday (2016) in Cape Town as part of the international public art project Draft, 1910-2010: From Pierneef to Gugulective (2010) at the South African National Gallery and The Indian in DRUM magazine in the 1950s (2006). He curated several retrospective exhibitions on artist Peter Clarke shown in France, England, Senegal (2012-13) and photographer Ranjith Kally shown in Mali, Austria, Spain and Reunion Island (2004-2007). 

Shaina Anand has been active as an independent filmmaker and media artist since 1981. Her works are informed by an interest in media and information politics and by a critique of documentary form and process. Anand formed the Mumbai-based ChitraKarKhana for independent experimental media in 2001. She is a co-founder of CAMP, an organization in Mumbai cultivating radical artistic practice with a variety of media. CAMP seeks to create structures of support, rhythms of production and distribution, and to provide a collaborative atmosphere in which artists can work collectively on the challenges facing art and cultural practices in the region.

Raja’a Khalid is an artist from Dubai. Her practice is concerned with the Arabian Gulf region and its contemporary narratives of class, ultra luxury and consumer culture. Her current work aims to subtly critique the Gulf’s own streaming motifs of soft power alongside frequently presented notions of wealth, masculinity, game, athleticism, sport, adornment, desire and crypto‐religiosity. She received her MFA in Fine Art from Cornell University, where she was also the recipient of the Cornell Council for the Arts Grant in 2013. Recent awards and residencies include the NYU Abu Dhabi FIND Research Fellowship, 2014; the Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen International Fellowship for Art and Theory, 2015; the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten Guest Residency, 2015; and the International Curatorial and Studio Program Residency, 2015. Her work has been shown in New York, London, Dubai, Basel and Vienna.

Butheina Kazim is the co-founder of Cinema Akil, an independent cinema platform in Dubai. She was a Fulbright scholar at NYU and has worked as a project manager in television and radio stations in the UAE at media conglomerates Arab Media Group and Dubai Media Incorporated. Kazim has contributed to publications including Al Jazeera, Gulf News and the Art Dubai blog. She has been involved in programming cinema popups including Abu Dhabi Film Festival at The Pavilion and a Focus on the UAE program at the Short Film Week (Kurzfilmwoche) in Regensburg, Germany. She is the producer of short documentary ‘Letters to Palestine’; winner of the Special Jury Prize at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival (2010). Butheina holds an Hon. BA of Arts in Design from York University and Sheridan College in Toronto and an MA in Media, Culture and Communication from NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development with a concentration on Global and Transcultural Studies.

Vikram Divecha is an artist based in the UAE. He has developed a pedestrian practice in Dubai. Constantly negotiating for existing space, material and labour, he works with what he terms ‘found processes’ — forces and capacities that prevail in society. By situating himself within these urban operations he attempts to work through state, social and economic systems. This has seen him align himself with trading houses, municipal gardeners, rock-blasting engineers, non-architects and other diverse faculties. His engagements translate into situations, public art, permanent fixtures, sculptural installations and video works.