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Match!, the creative networking sensation, gives a whole new meaning to the term networking. Think speed dating but take off the emotional chemistry and feelings and insert the concept of making valuable contacts then call it Match! Dubai has done it again, they’ve taken a concept and given it that special Dubai spin; giving birth to a new and unique way to connect creative people together.

Match! is an activity that aims to help fellow creatives exchange ideas and find work for each other. It is not a speed networking activity for all sectors, but merely works to connect the creative world. You may be wondering why Match! caters to just the creative sector as opposed to other sectors of society such as the financial sector, Khaleejesque posed that question to the good people behind Match! and got the following explanation. Match! believes that the creative industries are more codependent, in the sense that a lot of the jobs in the creative sector require collaboration with other partners, examples are the fact that artists need to collaborate with galleries and curators, journalists need photographers, and musicians need event specialists.

This networking process allows all participants a chance to connect and converse for two minutes only. According to the organizers, “that’s enough time to figure out if you’re a match or a mismatch.” Participants are paired up at the start of the activity and instructed to move down the line to another partner once one of a series of bells rings. The first bell is an instruction to start talking and conversing, and the second bell ushers them to move on. Pairs introduce themselves, learn more about each other, and basically network.

Match! allows for a mix of creatives to huddle, “ranging from one looking to open a studio gallery with a space for art enthusiasts to draw in Dubai, to a designer/photographer who is planning to host a charity event and is in need of a sponsor.” Participants find new job opportunities, establish collaborations, and get to know what’s out there in a session that lasts up to 1 hour and 30 minutes and ends as a mixer in which people can swap business cards and socialize.

So far the events have been very popular, with sessions being choc-bloc full, and various requests for more Match! sessions to be organized. They’ve already been asked to take the event to Abu Dhabi, and are considering hosting one in London during the October Frieze Week – when the international art world descends on the city.

We must admit, we’re secretly wishing Match! would make their way across the Gulf.

If in Dubai and interested, email

– Khaleejesque. Images courtesy of Shelter Dubai.

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