For more than a decade, Dubai Lynx has been the region’s center stage in celebrating creativity in a must-attend festival followed by an awards ceremony filled with glitz and glam. It’s with no doubt that this prestigious and sought-after platform has helped the MENA region become one of the global creative industry hotspots. We’ve exclusively chatted with Thea Skelton, Festival Director of Dubai Lynx, to delve deep into this year’s festival, big plans for 2023 and much more. 

Thea Skelton – Dubai Lynx

BB: Over the years, Dubai Lynx has been carving its position as the region’s top benchmarking awards platform to celebrate creativity in the Middle East. Can you reflect on this breakthrough journey?

TS: The Dubai Lynx Awards have been running for 15 years and during this time  we have seen an array of work that transforms, challenges and inspires creativity. Creativity is the heart and soul of the awards and even though the pandemic has not allowed us to host an in-person event for 2 years, this hasn’t hindered the creative industry from collaborating to create award-winning work. We were so grateful to be able to host the Awards in-person this year and celebrate the winners, who have demonstrated creative excellence in the MENA region and set the creative benchmark at such a high standard . 

BB: Dubai Lynx awards brands and agencies for creative excellence. In your opinion, how has creativity been impacted by the turbulent experience of COVID-19 ?

TS: Creative teams have had to adapt to a changing world and find new ways of reaching their audiences, whilst still attempting to attract new ones.There has been more of a shift towards digital innovation methods as we have seen things move from entirely in-person to entirely online during the pandemic, and companies have had to adapt their strategies accordingly.People are also realizing the power of virtual experiences in connecting global audiences together, in a way it never used to be pre-pandemic. 

BB: Dubai Lynx has made a great comeback with a newly and meticulously designed learning and development experience. Please comment.

TS: Dubai Lynx provides a  platform where brands, ideas and technology can collaborate with each other, as well as explore what the future of creativity holds.  The Lynx Experience, being held in October 2022, will include a series of community focused networking, awe-inspiring talks and insightful sessions that will deep dive into the business of creativity. Attendees will benefit from exploring key themes in the industry such as new research and insight, best practice award winning work and discussions from global and regional brand leaders and market experts. 

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BB: Dubai Lynx is one of the main reasons why the MENA region is present on a global creative map, drawing attention and spotlighting the region as an impactful creative market. Please elaborate.

TS:The Lynx Awards set the benchmark for creative excellence in the MENA region while providing an insight into the region’s current industry landscape. Creatives from MENA have the opportunity to push the possibilities of creativity to compete locally and be recognized globally. Working collaboratively brings new ideas to life and we are proud that Dubai Lynx provides a platform to facilitate the ever evolving creative industry.

BB: Year after year the platform is able to set itself apart from any other creative festival. Can you briefly highlight what was new in 2022’s edition of the festival ?

TS: Lynx has developed into a year-round experience for our community. Throughout the year we run networking social events for our community, exclusive roundtables focussing on prominent industry themes, young talent programs, and creative competitions. In addition, we are also launching a one day summit in KSA which includes a deep dive into the Kingdom’s creativity as well as examining the opportunities available for the industry.

BB: To benchmark creative excellence in our industry, Dubai Lynx brings a stellar lineup of speakers to enrich the Awards experience. Can you mention some of the main insights the speakers brought to the attention of the attendees?

TS: We recognize the talent in the region’s creative communications industry and celebrate the work that is driving progress. The Jury Presidents spoke to the inspiration and cultural sensitivity of some of the award-winning work and mentioned the power it has, to engage people in meaningful conversations that can have a cultural impact and can change society for the better.

BB: From the submissions that either won or got shortlisted, can you please spotlight some of the main takeaways and defining trends of the regional creative industry ?

TS: This year we saw incredible work in the drive for gender equality. Some of the major themes covered gender representation, inequality and injustice against women in the region this year. The winners this year highlighted work that drives creativity forward for change.

BB: The Young Lynx Academy and The Lynx Experience will be returning at later dates this year. Can you give us some inside scoop on what will be new this year for both events ? 

TS: The Young Lynx academy is packed with insightful content as we support young talent in their creative journey. This two-day event will take place in June and feature programmes targeted towards young professionals aged 32 and under, this year we are bringing in fresh content that will delve deep into insightful topics for young talent in MENA’s creative industry as well as providing more opportunities for mentorship.

BB: We can’t end this interview without asking for a sneak peak into the big plans for 2023. What does Dubai Lynx 2023 have in store for us?

TS: In 2023 we hope to bring the Festival back in-person, as this is MENA’s most vibrant platform for the creative communications industry. We hope to bring in delegates and global speakers for the full Lynx experience to collaborate and network, celebrating the power of creativity once again.