Beyond attending the Abu Dhabi Festival, there are many other ways to get involved in the largest annual celebration of arts and culture in the Arabian Gulf. From volunteering to internships to performing, exhibiting or even embarking on training, the Festival welcomes individuals and fellow non-profit-making and community-based organisations to partner in creativity. Find out more below about how you can become involved in Abu Dhabi Festival.

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National Participation

As an extension of Abu Dhabi Music & Art Foundation’s core mission to support Emirati citizens at all stages of their academic, artistic and professional development, Abu Dhabi Festival celebrates Emirati culture and national identity across its programmes. In 2017, 170 Emirati practitioners contributed to the success of the Festival, from performances and visual arts commissions to creative industries training programmes and roles as compères and moderators.

Third Party Events

With more than 100 events across the seven emirates, Abu Dhabi Festival is a packed celebration of the nation’s talent and diversity. Each year, the Festival welcomes individuals and fellow non-profit-making and community-based organisations to be part of the month-long nationwide Festival programme. If you are planning an arts event  in the UAE during March 2017 and would like to learn more about how you might be considered for the Festival programme, contact

Creative Awards

The Festival’s awards portfolio celebrates artistic innovation through prestigious platforms where the country’s emerging creative minds compete for first place. In 2017, Abu Dhabi Festival and ADMAF will present:

The 21st ADMAF Creativity Award

Established in 1996, this annual award recognises the outstanding creativity of young arts practitioners. The winning artworks are displayed in Emirates Palace during the festival.

The 5th Abu Dhabi Festival Visual Arts Award

Each year, the award recognises an Emirati student for outstanding creativity in an original artwork inspired by the Abu Dhabi Festival exhibition.

The 5th Christo & Jeanne-Claude Award

Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikha Shamsa bint Hamdan Al Nahyan and in partnership with New York University Abu Dhabi, the award gives UAE undergraduates and recent graduates the chance to create a work of art that, in the spirit of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s work, can be publicly exhibited and enjoyed.

Professional Development

Abu Dhabi Festival presents creative training programmes which enable talented young nationals and UAE residents to develop their skills and prepare for careers in creative and cultural industries

UAE Theatre Circle

Year round, ADMAF nurtures creativity in theatre, playing a major role in incubating theatre talent. Now in its third year and culminating during the Abu Dhabi Festival, the UAE’s most pioneering theatre makers will lead an intensive training course to develop the skills of select budding actors, writers and directors in script writing, scenography, acting and reciting. See the fruits of the programme during a special comedy performance in Umm Al Emarat Park. The 2018 programme will also introduce comedy, dance and choreography through a collaboration with Svetlana Al Neyadi (Founder of Fantasia Ballet).

Young Filmmakers’ Circle 

Year round, Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation plays a major role in nurturing Emirati filmmaking talent. During every Festival, this culminates with a series of events that further support independent Emirati filmmaking. Abu Dhabi Festival 2018 will present the third edition of the Young Filmmakers’ Circle, including roundtable discussions, screenings and seminars for leading film industry practitioners from scriptwriters to directors. This year, the programme also includes a special short film competition for directors with international professional development opportunities for the winners.

In partnership with NYU Abu Dhabi.

Young Media Leaders Forum

A networking event bringing together alumni from across ten years of the Young Media Leaders programme. The YML10 Forum celebrates the pioneering talents who have graduated from the innovative platform. The one day event will stage discussions and panels, as well as organising introductions and matchmaking with leading media organisations. Young Media Leaders is a vocational programme that empowers young Emiratis with knowledge and training to help them become key players in future media industries. Over the past decade, 184 Emirati university students from HCT, ZU and UAEU have put in more than 640 hours of training. They have worked with over 95 journalists and media professionals, attended 83 media workshops, written 170 articles both in Arabic and English, and published 8 issues of My News Magazine.

Cultural Excellence Fellowship

The Cultural Excellence Fellowship (CEF), a partnership between ADMAF and the British Council, seeks to inspire and equip Emirati citizens with the skills and knowledge to pursue creative entrepreneurship and a career in the cultural industries. The participants of the third edition of CEF will be engaging with leading professionals during the Abu Dhabi Festival 2018, including in some special Festival initiatives.


Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation, the organisation behind the Abu Dhabi Festival, is interested to hear from Emirati and UAE-based students and recent graduates with an interest in arts, event management and communications. If you wish to develop a career in the UAE creative and cultural industries and would like to work with the team responsible for putting on the region’s largest annual cultural celebration, please contact with your CV for more information.


During the Abu Dhabi Festival, volunteers play a key role in its success. This is an opportunity for many young professionals to get involved. If you are over 18 years old and able to donate your time to encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to explore their creativity, then we want to hear from you! Each year, we welcome 20 Festival Ambassadors who receive basic training in order to give information and guidance to audiences at venues across Abu Dhabi. If you are interested in volunteering for the 2017 Abu Dhabi Festival, contact


Are you experienced in the fields of arts/event management, marketing and communications? Are you committed to nurturing the creative potential and celebrating the cultural diversity of Abu Dhabi, the UAE and beyond? If so, please contact