Globalization, Economics and Museums: Saadiyat Island’s Cultural District in Abu Dhabi, UAE

By Seth Thompson.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The emirate of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates is in the process of positioning itself as an international tourist destination with an estimated $27 billion dollar development project on Saadiyat Island that includes museums, hotels, resorts, golf courses and housing that could accommodate more than 125,000 residents. An important component of Saadiyat Island is its Cultural District, which aspires to jump-start cultural tourism to Abu Dhabi and aid in the development of the local economy. Providing an overview of Saadiyat Island’s Cultural District, this paper analyzes and critiques museum initiatives that were designed in part to develop the local economy and reflects upon the role of education within a museum context.

Keywords: Globalization, Museums, Education, Economic Impact, Saadiyat Island, United Arab Emirates

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp.21-26. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.714MB).

Seth Thompson

Assistant Professor of Design, School of Architecture and Design, American University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

Seth Thompson is an educator and arts journalist involved in documenting and interpreting art, design and culture through print and online presentations. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Design at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. In addition, he has written on the arts for such magazines as Afterimage, Art Calendar, Bidoun and Dialogue. Thompson’s documentaries, Evolving Traditions: Artists Working in New Media and Outside the Box: New Cinematic Experiences have aired on such television stations as PBS 45 & 49, Northeast, Ohio; KDOL Channel 18, Oakland, California; DUTV, Philadelphia, PA; and Triangle Television, Auckland, New Zealand. Thompson began his career at Harvestworks Digital Media Arts in New York City where he was the Business Manager and Education Director. In addition to teaching at The University of Akron and Cuyahoga Community College, he was a Contractual Artist/Lecturer with The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Associate Educator at the Akron Art Museum. Thompson holds a BFA in Studio Arts from the University of Colorado, an MA in Visual Arts Administration from New York University and an MFA in Visual Art from Vermont College.


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