Dubai Lynx is where MENA’s creative industry sets the bar for creative excellence; bringing together creative agencies, brands, startups and artists to celebrate what our region has achieved in the creative brand communications industry each year.  

We’ve exclusively interviewed Thea Skelton, Dubai Lynx Festival Director, on how she defines creativity, the 2020 festival experience and so much more!

Thea Skelton – Dubai Lynx Festival Director

BB: Since 2009, Dubai Lynx has become a regional landmark for celebrating creative excellence and effectiveness. In your opinion, what defines “Creativity”? 

TS: Creativity has many definitions, but at Dubai Lynx we explore the value of creativity specifically from within the branded communication industry, covering the full spectrum of creative disciplines from product and service development to creative strategy, execution and impact.

BB: What’s your take on creativity in the Middle East? 

TS: The MENA region is incredibly exciting creatively. Creative agencies are demonstrating excellence across regional and global platforms, spotlighted through their wins at award shows like Dubai Lynx and Cannes Lions, and are producing commercial success for brand and businesses in the Middle East and North Africa. 

BB: Where do we stand on a global creative map?

TS: MENA just can’t be compared to any other region. Defined by its multicultural society, unifying different ethnicities, religions and backgrounds, the region provides a truly unique opportunity to experience and enjoy creativity developed locally and internationally. 

BB: In your opinion, why are creative awards important to brands and agencies?

TS: Creative awards are hugely important to brands and agencies, because it enables everyone to benchmark their creativity. Winning an award is evidence that the work a brand or agency creates is game-changing and that it delivered commercial results. Winning an award at Dubai Lynx can mean new business and exposure and pushes brands and agencies to raise the creative bar. 

BB: Heading into its 12th year of reigning on top of the creative awards scene in the entire region, what’s new in terms of strategy and vision for Dubai Lynx 2020? 

TS: We continually evolve the Dubai Lynx Awards, in line with the industry. The Creative Strategy Award was launched for 2020 because it was the right time to elevate and define the importance of strategy and recognise the essential role that it plays in the creative process.  

The Festival also has a wider focus on diversity and gender equality in 2020. We have introduced the ‘unstereotyped judging criteria’ to the Festival this year, following its success at the Cannes Lions Festival in 2019. Following these rules, the branded communications industry around the world must ensure it’s considering the impact that stereotypes have on gender equality when producing creative work. It felt like the right time to roll out the guidelines in the region and place the issues of stereotyping at the heart of the creative process, and ensuring our juries are more conscious than ever when judging work. 

BB: Can you give us a sneak peek on the main highlights of the festival experience? What should audiences be expecting this year? 

TS: The 2020 Festival experience is an amalgamation of expert opinions from industry leading CMOs, CEOs and Creative Directors based in the MENA region and from across the globe. It gives a unique insight into the industry ecosystem and an opportunity to reflect on emerging trends, such as the growing importance of brand purpose. 

BB: Digital transformation is hitting the world by storm. In a nutshell, can you elaborate on how digital transformation has leveled up the festival experience?

TS: The Festival’s content themes and programme are designed to explore creativity in all its forms. The Dubai Lynx content programme is formed by the industry and of course, digital transformation is key because it’s so current right now. Attendees can expect to discover cutting-edge technological and digital transformation that’s influencing the industry right now. 


The Dubai Lynx Festival, taking place from 8–11 March 2020 at Dubai’s Madinat Jumeirah.