An all-female line up!

The Arab British Centre announced the shortlist for its biennial Award for Culture, consisting of five women. The centre is a non-profit organisation that works towards promoting Arab culture and to increase understanding of the region. This is done through a unique program of cultural events.

This year, their biennial award, which celebrates organisations and individuals whose work has significantly contributed to the British public’s understanding of the Arab world has put women front and centre. The award is split into two categories: individuals and organisations. And, for this edition, the individuals shortlist is made up entirely of women – five to be exact. The Award for Culture was established back in 2008, with the winner receiving AED 11,100 (£2,500) and the opportunity to travel to one of thirteen Middle Eastern countries, including the UAE, with the British Council.

Here are the five women who made the cut, for their work in promoting Arab culture:

Esther Manito, Comedian



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The Lebanese-British taps into her Middle Eastern background when it comes to stand-up comedy. She works on reclaiming the word ‘Arab’ and bring better public perceptions of the culture. She started doing stand up comedy in April 2016 and has since achieved a wide range of accolades including; BBC New Comedy Award Nominee 4 years in a row.

Juliana Yazbeck, Musician


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Born to Lebanese parents, Juliana is a musician and a familiar face on the Arab arts scene in the UK. She draws on her background to produce compelling music, which could be heard in her latest album Sungod. Recently, she performed at the Liverpool Arab Arts Festival and Shubbak Festival and is currently working on new music.

Nadine Kaadan, Author


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The award-winning author and illustrator has been holding the pen since she was eight-years-old. She started distributing her first children’s magazine to her 5th grade classmates, and 20 years later she managed to win several accolades. The Syrian taps into her heritage when creating her books, writing about the current troubled situation in the Arab world and children with special needs.

Omeima Mudawi-Rowlings, Textiles artist


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The British-Sudanese textiles artist has exhibited her work both nationally and internationally. A lot of which is greatly influenced by her Sudanese heritage. She works with dyes, screen printing and Devoré techniques and also enjoys playing around with Arabic geometry. Moreover, her art explores the themes of identity and change, communication, heritage and womanhood.

Samar Ziadat, Curator


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The freelance curator, educator and activist is also the Director of Dardishi Festival, a festival of Arab and North African women’s art. Her community-focused practice centres on issues of decoloniality and queerness; presenting talks, delivering workshops and programming events that explore the hidden histories and narratives of marginalised and underrepresented communities.

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