Dr Ode Amaize hopes the study will shed light on possible gaps in exposure to UAE literature, performing arts, and visits to historic sites. Image Credit: Courtesy: Zayed University

Abu Dhabi Zayed University has launched an online survey aimed at assessing the cultural interests and entertainment priorities of the general public.

The survey will help planners develop the arts and cultural scene in Abu Dhabi and invest in events of an interest to the public, according to Dr Ode Amaize, assistant professor at the College of Communication and Media Sciences at Zayed University.

"Analysing the profile of people taking part in the growing number of arts and culture activities in Abu Dhabi has become crucial to ensure the feasibilty of different kinds of events and to guarantee their suitability to the flavour of residents in the country," Dr Amaize told Gulf News.

"We need to determine to which extent do the UAE citizens and residents indulge in cultural offerings and activities," he said.

Policy decisions

Answers to these questions would be able to lay the foundation for public policy decisions on arts and culture, as well as programming and promotion efforts of local arts organisations, he said.

Despite the rich assortment of arts and culture events organised for the diverse populace of the UAE, there are no detailed or published records of audience attendance or participation.

"This research documents the demography [gender, age, income, occupation, education, marital status, nationality, ethnicity, and residence] of Abu Dhabi public participation and attendance at live performing arts events including music, dance, drama, art museum, reading literature, arts and crafts, and participation through broadcast and recorded media, and the internet," Dr Amaize told Gulf News.

According to Dr Amaize, the study's results will contribute to the UAE national database for the arts, which will better inform the government and municipal authorities for planning arts and culture events besides policy-making. It is also intended to help academic researchers interested in multivariable analyses of factors underlying arts and culture attendance and participation of UAE adults.

"This research was conceived as a contribution to the UAE government's developmental efforts in realising its objective of cohesive society and preserved identity. Our chronicling of the different available culture and arts events and the extent to which they are favoured by different demographic groups of UAE citizens will undoubtedly inform the funding, production, programming, and integrated social service policy-making of relevant public and private institutions," he said.

Balanced programmes

Dr Amaize believes that an ethnically and/or religiously thematically varied and balanced programme of exhibits and performing arts by museums and presenters can contribute tremendously to the people's sense of inclusion and integration with the community. He also expressed confidence that the study could shed light on possible gaps in exposure to UAE literature, performing arts, and visits to historic sites, which could prompt the government in promoting the UAE's culture, heritage and tradition.

"This study will also enhance the efforts of individual arts organisations like Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage [Adach], Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation, Dubai One TV, and even the newly established Zayed University's Performing Arts Centre in addressing their programming, and inter-related marketing and communications challenges of attendance-viewership-listenership stimulation, audience development, membership development, and fund-raising," Dr Omaize concluded.