Figures silhouetted against pictures in a gallery

Cultural Skills


As part of a Gulf-wide initiative the British Council will deliver a programme of culture and sport activities in the region over the next three years. The programme will:-

  • Create new opportunities to develop mutual understanding and respect through sharing and appreciating Gulf and UK culture, history and heritage with each other and developing long-term arts and education relationships between institutions.
  • Create better understanding in the UK cultural sector about potential partnerships with organisations in the Gulf

The programme recognises and responds to the growth in cultural institutions and events in the Gulf region, reflected in the emergence of new galleries, museums and festivals.

The Exhibition Programme

The Exhibition Programme is an integral part of the culture and sport programme. The aim of this initiative is to enable UK institutions to bring exhibitions to the Gulf, working in collaboration with museums and galleries in the region that are aligned in their aims and objectives. The selected exhibitions must offer extensive engagement and learning opportunities for the target audience (14-30 year olds in the Gulf) both within the venues as well as through digital platforms and educational activities. 

The Exhibition Programme will provide information to UK organisations about the institutions and cultural landscape in the region. It will also support scoping visits to the Gulf so that UK organisations will have the chance to expand their networks and build relationships.

The Exhibition Programme will culminate with at least four exhibitions from UK institutions being shown at museums in the Gulf before the end of 2020. These exhibitions can include a variety of content from science to art and natural history to sports. The exhibitions will signify the start of ongoing and long-lasting partnerships between UK and Gulf museums and institutions and offer opportunities for knowledge and skill sharing.

The objectives of the Exhibition Programme are as follows:

  • Support and encourage new partnerships between institutions in the UK and the Gulf.
  • Create resources for UK institutions interested in working in the Gulf. This will comprise of a comprehensive directory of the museums in the Gulf including information about their governance structure, audience, current and future programme ambitions as well as their facilities. 
  • Support the delivery of at least four large scale exhibitions in the Gulf between mid-2018 and end-2020.
  • Deliver extensive audience engagement programmes associated with the exhibitions for the target audience (14-30 year old Gulf nationals). 
  • Create opportunities for capacity building, skill and knowledge sharing between UK and Gulf institutions, ensuring institutional partnerships and collaborations beyond 2020 are deep and strong relationships that are mutually beneficial.

Gulf Venue Research Project Brief

The British Council wishes to commission a piece of research that will look at all suitable potential venues in the Gulf that have the ability and desire to work in collaboration with UK partners to bring exhibitions to the region.

This research will assess venues ability to host a large scale international collaborative exhibition and accompanying public programme including the production of comprehensive directory of the venues in the Gulf including information about their governance structure, audience, current and future programme ambitions as well as their facilities.

The research will look in detail at the resources that institutions in the Gulf have available to deliver exhibitions, both in relation to funding and staffing levels. The level and reach of audience engagement activities will be analysed and reported to establish if there is any need for training to be delivered prior to the exhibitions opening. This research will be collated into a full report that will be made available to UK venues wishing to participate in the Exhibition Programme. This report will contain all the information that UK organisations will need to enable them to decide if a partnership with a Gulf venue is worth pursuing. 

The research should explore, in detail, the following:

  • Governance – Funding, programming, structure & decision making process, risk management
  • Strategy – Plans for the future in relation to exhibition programme and outreach
  • Facilities – Temperature, humidity, security, storage & access
  • Resources – staff levels, staff skills, equipment & funding for international collaboration 
  • Exhibition Programme – Remit, content, strategy, spaces available
  • Partnership & Collaboration – current international partners, ambitions for the future, what type of collaboration are venues looking for and who from the UK.
  • Audience – who are they attracting successfully to the venue & how. Do they reach the target audience successfully already – if so, how?
  • Training – identify areas of staff training required in relation to exhibition delivery and audience development

The venues that should be part of this research are as follows, additional venues may also be identified by the researcher in consultation with the British Council:


  • Venues Managed by Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority 
  • Warehouse 421
  • Etihad Museum
  • Museum of the Future
  • Art Jameel Cultural Centre Dubai
  • Sharjah Museums


  • Bahrain National Museum
  • Al Riwaq, Manama 


  • Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre
  • Contemporary Art Platform
  • Kuwait National Museum
  • Kuwait Science and Natural History Museum


  • Oman National Museum
  • Bait Al Zubair & Gallery Sarah 
  • Stal Gallery, Oman


  • New National Museum Qatar
  • Qatar Olympic & Sports Museum
  • Islamic Museum
  • Al Rawaq Doha
  • Firestation Doha
  • Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art

Saudi Arabia

  • King Abdulaziz Centre for World Culture
  • National Museum, Riyadh
  • Naila Art Gallery 
  • SCITECH, Sultan Bin Abdul-Aziz Science and Technology center

Gulf Venue Research Project Deliverables

The appointed researcher will do the following:

  • Visit as many venues as possible *
  • Interview key staff (Director/ Exhibitions & Education) at each venue
  • Obtain completed facilities reports from each venue
  • Obtain floor plans for temporary exhibition spaces/ galleries
  • Obtain summary of previous and planned international exhibitions
  • Obtain information on education programmes and audience engagement strategies
  • Provide a full written report outlining all findings including images, facilities reports, plans, strategies etc.

*the final list will be agreed with the consultant prior to the work commencing. 

Research Delivery timeline

July – September 2017 Gulf Venue research – visit venues in UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar & Saudi Arabia – assess facilities and conduct interviews
21 September 2017 Deadline for submitting research paper


Please download the complete brief and application form for this opportunity below.

Please submit completed responses to Anita Butani at no later than 16:00 BST on Thursday, 21 July 2017.


If you have any questions, then please contact Anita Butani at

  • Gulf Exhibition Venue Research Brief June 2017 (Microsoft Word 66KB)