to our newsletter


Global Art Forum 10: The Future Was

Each year, the Global Art Forum brings together a diverse line-up of artists, curators, musicians, writers and thought leaders. The Forum is recognised for its collaborative, innovative approach to the art world and draws on other disciplines and experiences to take a broad ‘helicopter view’. It includes performance, music, commissioned research and projects alongside live talks.

Over the years, the Forum has toured to Qatar, Kuwait, France and the UK, and grown to include publications, workshops and other educational initiatives.

The tenth edition of the Global Art Forum, titled The Future Was, explored the ways in which artists, writers, technologists, historians, musicians and thinkers have imagined, and are shaping, the future. All programming was free and open to the public.

Does it feel as if the future was once ahead of us, far away, but now the future surrounds us in our present, on our screens, with each compulsive finger-swipe? What were the great dreams of what was to come? What will they be?

The Global Art Forum 2016 launched in January with events at Dubai Design District (d3) and in London in partnership with the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA). Days 3-5 of the Forum continued at the tenth edition of Art Dubai.

The Forum was conceived by Shumon Basar as Commissioner, with Amal Khalaf and Uzma Z. Rizvi as Co-directors.

In customary fashion, the Global Art Forum convened the most compelling minds from across and above planet Earth to tell untold histories and share speculative stories. The 21st century continues to measure new modernities – from Mumbai to Tehran to Dubai and beyond – with skyscrapers, satellites and space races, even as new futures are imagined, invented and rejected. Because the future is always unevenly distributed in its meaning, its memory and emotive draw. What else might the word “future” mean and why does it resist ever being fully understood?

Art Dubai’s Global Art Forum was presented by the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and supported by Dubai Design District (d3).



View more




Shumon Basar was Director of Global Art Forum 6, Commissioner of Global Art Forum 7 and 8 and Director-at-Large of Global Art Forum 9. Co-author with Douglas Coupland and Hans Ulrich Obrist of The Age of Earthquakes: A Guide to the Extreme Present, he is also a founding member of the Fondazione Prada’s ‘Thought Council. @shumonbasar


Amal Khalaf is an artist, researcher and curator. She is the Projects Curator at the Serpentine Galleries and has been working on the Edgware Road Project since its inception in 2009. She is currently Commissioning Editor of Projects for online platform, Ibraaz and a founding member of artist collective GCC, as well as a trustee of the Crossway Foundation. @amalandaplan

Uzma Z. Rizvi is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Urban Studies at the Pratt Institute of Art and Design, Brooklyn and a Visiting Scholar in the Department of International Studies at the American University of Sharjah. Recent publications include ‘Crafting Resonance: Empathy and Belonging in Ancient Rajasthan’ (2015), ‘Decolonizing Archaeology: On the Global Heritage of Epistemic Laziness’ (2015) and World Archaeological Congress Research Handbook on Postcolonial Archaeology (2010). @UzmaZRizvi


Sarah Amiri is currently the Deputy Project Manager and Science Lead of the Emirates Mars Mission (Hope); she is also the manager of the Space Science Section at the Mohamed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC). In 2015 Amiri was selected as one of 50 young scientists by the World Economic Forum for her contribution to the development efforts in the fields of Science, Technology and Engineering. @SaraAmiri1

Elie Ayache is a former option market-maker on MATIF (1987-1990) and LIFFE (1990-1995). He is the co-founder (1999) and currently the CEO of ITO 33, a derivatives technology company. He is the author of The Blank Swan (Wiley 2010) and The Medium of Contingency (Palgrave 2015).