Independent Culture for Democracy
Conference for the Leaders of the Independent Culture Sector in the Arab Region
Cairo, December 15 to 17, 2012
In the interests of strengthening the independent cultural sector and empowering it to play a dynamic and effective role in the process of democratic transformation in the Arab region, Culture Resource organised the Independent Culture for Democracy conference for regional leaders within the sector. The conference was held in Cairo from December 15-17 2012 with the primary aim of promoting an agreement on the priorities of independent cultural work that would be consistent with the individual circumstances in each Arab country during this crucial phase. The conference was attended by more than 120 cultural programrs, artists and writers, media professionals, intellectuals and other stakeholders in the independent culture sectors in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Mauritania and Sudan. International institutions concerned with culture in Europe and Turkey as well as representatives of international organisations in Cairo also participated in the conference.
The conference sessions addressed topics including the concept of the independence of culture, funding the independent cultural sector, independent cultural work in the current political circumstances, independent culture and changes, the rise of strict religious currents, and developing the old cultural institutions and entities.
In tandem with the conference, Al Mawred published This Is What Happened, a collection of personal testimonials by some of the conference participants on their personal and professional experiences in independent cultural work. The conference concluded its activities with the adoption of several recommendations stressing the need for the Arab independent cultural sector to participate in steering the processes of political and social change in Arab societies, and calling for continued monitoring of the cultural policies of the official establishments in Arab countries, promoting sources of funding for culture and the arts, and the development of networks of communication and cooperation between organisations, artists and other stakeholders in the independent cultural sector. A steering committee was created to follow through on the implementation of the recommendations and to draw up an executive agenda for this purpose on the basis of the current priorities of cultural work.
Independent Culture for Democracy Recommendations Conference Participants