2024-02-21 15:53

ALULA, Saudi Arabia, Feb. 21, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) in partnership with the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Culture will bring together 150 of the world's cultural leaders, policymakers, tech entrepreneurs, and artists, to participate in Saudi Arabia's first cultural summit in AlUla from 25-27 February 2024, addressing culture's most pressing issues.


The inaugural AlUla Future Culture Summit will take place in Daimumah, where contemporary art, nature and heritage come together in the scenic heart of the Cultural Oasis. It will feature 3 days of panel discussions, immersive performances, workshops, and guided exploration of AlUla's remarkable cultural and physical landscape, broadening the impact of culture as a driving force for societal progress and long-term positive change.

Held under the theme of 'Cultural Landscapes', the summit acts as a hub for innovative arts and culture and a facilitator of cross-cultural dialogue and creative expression.

The summit will be structured around three core pillars:


Cultivating Innovation & Regeneration in Culture

New cultural infrastructure is being developed across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, from museums and festivals to public art, and globally there is a growing audience for experiences of art in remote and natural landscapes. Panels under this pillar consider how communities can respond and shape culture. How can human and non-human interests be protected from the potential negative impacts of this rapid expansion, and how should urban, rural, and natural environments be regenerated for positive social outcomes? Discussions will address how creatives can offer new non-exploitative, artistic understandings of nature and its needs, and how culture can enable a more harmonious relationship between humans and the natural world.


Powering the Shift to Global Creativity and Cross-Cultural Dialogue.

The shift to knowledge economies in KSA and the region is an aspiration mirrored worldwide, from traditional industrial nations to the emerging economies of the global south. Panels under this pillar explore how to support creative industries, use the arts to improve skills in our culture sector, and decide which traditional skills should be kept or revived and which new skills should be taught as societies progress. This session will also address the policies needed to grow the cultural economy and boost creative entrepreneurship.


Inclusive Culture and Community Empowerment.

The spread of cultural production globally, facilitated by digital media, has opened new opportunities for cultural exchange and creativity. But it can also dilute local culture. Cultural communication and new cultural assets like arts districts and public art initiatives can strengthen community identity and belonging. In contrast, some artists and practitioners resist using culture for broader social or economic impact, questioning whether art should exist for its own sake, or if there is also opportunity to provide new content for digital platforms, or to provide spaces for community bonding. This session will explore these issues and look at whether grassroots initiatives and entrepreneurship are the future of cultural development or whether central governments will still have a central role.

Talks, panel discussions and workshops will include world-leading cultural influencers and organisations, including a keynote speech from His Excellency Rakan AlTouq, Saudi Arabia's Assistant Minister of Culture. Other prominent speakers will include German curator and museum director Klaus Biesenbach; professor, architect and artist Ronald Rael; Laurent Le Bon, President of the Centre Pompidou; Curator & Art Critic, Nicolas Bourriaud; Indian painter and art curator Bose Krishnamachari; international artistic director and curator Akiko Miki; Architect Lina El Ghotmeh and Professor Emanuele Coccia; Filmmaker & Actress Fatima Albanawi; Artist Mohammad AlFaraj; along with contributors from summit partners KAUST, Misk Art Institute, King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra), Centre Pompidou, and L'ÉCOLE School of Jewelry Arts.

In addition to these discussions, there will be performances and presentations by the likes of Saudi multidisciplinary and performance artist Balqis Alrashed; and Nigerian-British poet and playwright Inua Ellams.

Excursions across the region will also take place, including Wadi AlFann's Immersive Experience, titled Campfire Tales: Crossroads of Creativity, a curated journey through storytelling featuring specially commissioned performances including visual and culinary arts. Taking place in Wadi AlFann, a new global cultural destination for land art opening in 2026, the event will be a unique opportunity to experience the monumental desert landscape of AlUla.

A tour of More than Meets the Eye, an exhibition of contemporary works by Saudi artists on loan from collectors in Saudi Arabia, hosted at Maraya will also be included in the itinerary. Curated by Dr. Effat Abdullah Fadag, the exhibition will re-canonise the history of the contemporary art movements in Saudi Arabia, documenting the story of artists and the role of collectors in the development of the art scene.

Nora Aldabal, Arts and Creative Industries Executive Director at RCU, said: "The inaugural edition of the AlUla Future Culture Summit reflects our commitment to preserving cultural heritage and championing art and culture to drive societal change. Through this summit, we explore the role of landscapes in shaping cultural evolution and the impact of nature on the places we inhabit.

"Culture serves as a unifying force, inspiring solutions to global challenges and fostering societal progress through shared knowledge and understanding. The summit unites leaders in the global discourse of cultural expression, expansion and conservation.

"As an ancient crossroads for civilisations, AlUla has a long and celebrated history as a home to diverse cultures and ideas. The AlUla Future Culture Summit builds upon these deep-rooted traditions while celebrating the dawn of a new chapter. I look forward to welcoming delegates and participants to explore new ideas, debate new solutions and exchange knowledge at this impactful event."

Attendance at the event is on an invitation-only basis. For more information, please download the AlUla Future Culture Summit app available in the Android and Apple app stores.

Source: The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU)