About Shubbak

A window on contemporary Arab culture

Shubbak (meaning ‘window’ in Arabic) is London’s largest biennial festival of contemporary Arab culture. Founded in 2011 by the Mayor of London, Shubbak is now an independent charity (charity number: 1150374) whose founding Chair was Omar al-Qattan. Shubbak connects London audiences and communities with the best of contemporary Arab culture through ambitious festival programmes of premieres and commissions of visual arts, film, music, theatre, dance, literature and debate. We work with arts institutions in London and internationally. Shubbak 2017 was our largest and most expansive festival to-date. It included over 130 artists, originating from 18 Arab countries, across 70 events in more than 40 venues, performing to a total audience of over 50,000.

“[A] triumphant celebration of Arab contemporary culture”
The Majalla

Shubbak Festival 2019

Returning to audiences in London in 2019

Shubbak has become a key moment in the arts calendar of the UK and the Arab World, bringing new and unexpected voices alongside established artists to new audiences every two years. The next festival will take place in London in the summer of 2019. Follow us on social media or join our mailing list to follow the latest festival news and announcements.

“The festival’s scope is ambitious… with expressions from varied regions and a thriving, vibrant diaspora” Metro

“The festival speaks of restless societies that are questioning themselves”
Peter Aspden, Financial Times

Who We Are

The Team

Eckhard Thiemann, Artistic Director
Daniel Gorman, Executive Director
Reem Akl, Festival and Engagement Producer

Board of Trustees

Maysoon Pachachi, Chair
Aaron Cezar, Director, The Delfina Foundation
David Freeman, Consultant, Thomas Eggar LLP
Lynn Gaspard, Director, Saqi Books
Sumi Ghose, Managing Director, London Design Biennale
Jo Glanville, Journalist
Almir Koldzic, Co-director, Counterpoints Arts
Roxane Zand, Sotheby’s Deputy Chairman for the Middle East

Past Festivals

Cairokee kicks off Shubbak’s 2017 music programme at the Barbican

Shubbak Festival 2017

Our most ambitious festival yet, Shubbak’s 2017 Festival presented over 70 events at more than 30 venues across London between 1-16 July 2017. The festival featured 16 full days of concerts, performances, screenings, talks, exhibitions and installations from over 150 artists. Watch the festival trailer or see a few of our favourite moments from the festival.

2017 Shubbak Festival Guide ›
2017 Shubbak Festival calendar ›
2017 Shubbak Festival Guide PDF ›

el Seed at Village Underground for Shubbak 2015 (c) Michael Brydon

Shubbak Festival 2015

Shubbak’s 2015 Festival presented over 60 events across London from 11-26 July 2015. The festival featured 16 full days of concerts, performances, screenings, debates, exhibitions and installations from over 100 international artists, as well as over 30 artists based in the UK. Watch highlights from the festival or see Shubbak 2015 in pictures.

2015 Shubbak Festival Guide PDF ›
2015 Shubbak Festival highlights

Work from Shubbak Festival 2013

Shubbak Festival 2013

Shubbak’s 2013 festival took place over 15 days in the summer of 2013, presenting over 55 events, spread across 42 venues, attracting an audience of over 50,000 people. We brought together a wonderful range of partners, from London’s largest museums to intimate theatres, from the largest concert halls to specialist cinemas. See the 2013 festival guide below for further details.

2013 Shubbak Festival Guide PDF ›

Work from Shubbak Festival 2011

Shubbak Festival 2011

Initiated by the Mayor of London, the Shubbak Festival 2011 was the first of its kind in Europe. A festival devoted to contemporary Arab writers, photographers, painters, directors, composers and other creative artists. It was an opportunity not just for the Middle East curious, but for resident Arabs keen to learn more about their own region and share in its accomplishments.

2011 Shubbak Festival Guide PDF ›