The Assembly (Youth Programme at Jameel Arts Centre – Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

Accessibility | Diversity/ Inclusion | Other
2018 – present
Commissions, lectures, workshops, public programmes, exhibitions, publishing
Youth-focussed community programmes at Jameel Arts Centre commenced with the appointment of the first Assembly in 2018, an experimental programme designed to foster creative leaders aged 18 to 24 and enable peer-to-peer exchange of ideas, discussions and to prompt self-initiated projects that utilise Art Jameel’s networks and opportunities.
The Assembly’s annually-appointed multidisciplinary cohort of UAE-based practicing artists, researchers and entrepreneurs collaborate to lead public programmes, commissioned exhibitions, roundtables and more, in response to both Art Jameel exhibitions and projects as well as current events and discourse. The joint project is developed over the course of the cohort’s year via discussion sessions, site visits, exhibition tours and additional opportunities for engagement across the Emirates and within Art Jameel’s local and global network. The first cohort of the Youth Assembly convened in 2018-2019 and the second cohort participated throughout 2020. May 2021 marks the beginning of the third Assembly cycle, which runs till May 2022. In two iterations, The Assembly has staged two exhibitions, termed Youth Takeovers, that showcased more than 40 young artists. What is most notable about this programme is the breadth of collaborative thinking that the members are able to experience together – from defining the theme, writing curatorial statements, producing briefs for commissioning artists and speaking publicly about the programme to audiences. To date, the programme received 288 nominations by educators and youth leaders and featured 44 new commissioned artworks and interventions. The Assembly and it’s accompanying programmes curated by the cohorts have engaged with more than 2000 visitors. 2019 Youth Takeover: April 26 to May 4 The first Youth Takeover concluded with “a collective investigation of the fetishisation of the future, the romanticisation of the past and the neglect of the present. The programme also responded to shared frustrations about time and it’s perception by interrogating the meaning of pace, affirmations and the ‘now’ using internet memes as it’s main language. The responses were showcased and staged inside the gallery spaces, but also outside — in the corridors and the Lobby in unexpected and unassuming spaces across the Jameel. 2020 Youth Takeover: October 30 to November 16 The second Youth Takeover focused on ‘Value Systems’ ranging from the numerical value of algorithms and finance all the way to the values of personal and collective identity. The 2020 Assembly Takeover surveyed how we re-interpret values across disciplines and resignify the everchanging complexities of our environment(s). Subtopics included: adaptation & selfcare, cybernetics, performative change, reassigning traditions and unspoken values.  
2021-2022 Youth Takeover: May 2022 In order to continue research, design and execute public engagements, The Assembly currently experiments primarily with curatorial practices featuring a Youth Curator and mentors, and focussing on five main areas:
  • Creating
  • Curating
  • Community programming
  • Commissioning
  • Critiquing
This year’s learning programme is designed, curated and facilitated by Daniel H. Rey, independent curator and alumnus from The Assembly 2020. The current Assembly programme revisits Art Jameel’s initiatives of engaging young audiences as well as prioritising institutional growth powered by youth. Thematically, the focus is on research in the Global South and curation in languages other than English. As a cohort comprised of creatives under 25 years old, The Assembly advocates for #YouthCuratingYouth.