DOHA – The world’s art and culture professionals have flocked to Qatar this weekend to engage in the artistic and culture discourse that is taking place at The New York Ti­mes Art for Tomorrow Conference, sponsored by Sotheby's.

When people talk about Qatar, they invariably find themselves talking about art. On any measurement you choose, you can conclude that the country’s capital – Doha – is an up-and-coming cultural powerhouse, and making headway across the world.

But while art is a difficult word to define, the disciplines it crosses and the multiple meanings it holds are constantly changing. The New York Times Art for Tomorrow Conference, now in its second edition, brings together a diverse selection of speakers from around the world, whose keynote discussions, panels and dialogue on often challenging topics were presented in a bid to help underwrite the on-going negotiation about what art might constitute, and what the future holds.

DOHA'S SKYLINE. PHOTOGRAPH BY BUENA VISTA IMAGES.

Four days of talks, panels, workshops, gallery openings and experiential events comprises the core of this year’s edition. It also kickstarts the calendar of events for the region’s art season taking place elsewhere in the United Arab Emirates.

The ambitious conference will see artists, professors and thinkers instigating conversations around the overarching theme: Technology, Creativity and the City. Their talks will explore the complex relationships between the digital world and the creative process, the nature of creativity and its impact on developing cities or even nations, and what goes into making a city "creative."

Headline participants include Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums; Jean-Paul Cluzel, former president and CEO, Reunion des musées nationaux-Grand Palais; David Goodman, executive vice president of digital development and marketing, Sotheby’s; Tony Salamé, founder, chairman and CEO, Aishti s.a.l; and Hans Ulrich Obrist, co-director of exhibitions and programs and director of international projects, Serpentine Galleries.


International New York Times Art for Tomorrow 2015 Highlights


Amongst artists Marina Abramović and Jeff Koons as well as architects David NelsonJean NouvelKoray Duman and William Lim, the forum seeks to map, archive and, ultimately, broadcast a variety of experiences and case studies to collaboratively share and develop a communicative narrative of techniques from the global creative community. The symposium-style summit will explore interdisciplinarity, new methods of collaboration, and approach the often challenging topics of how and where the future of art is evolving.

While the Middle East art scene is growing at an impressive rate, dialogue has been absent in its progress, and therefore, this event is an instrumental missing link between the growing arts and creative scene in Qatar, and the people behind it.

The conference is focused on becoming an educational podium that will equally work to inspire the citizens of Qatar who are directly and indirectly connected to the arts.

Follow the event live on @Sothebys and @NYTlive on Twitter. Also, join the conversation using the hashtag #NYTAFT. 


LEAD IMAGE: THE MUSEUM OF ISLAMIC ART IN DOHA. PHOTOGRAPH BY MERTEN SNIJDERS.