Riyadh, 05 February, 2019: The General Culture Authority and the British Council are celebrating the successful conclusion of the first ever Creative Futures Forum in Riyadh, which convened from 03-04 February at the King Fahad Cultural Centre. The two-day event attracted over 200 delegates, including key decision makers, arts professionals and students from a variety of creative industries across the Gulf and UK. The forum featured an impressive
line-up of 32 speakers from 10 countries, who covered a broad range of topics and discussed the social and economic impact of the creative economy in the Gulf.
The two-day event was officially opened on Sunday, 03 February 2019 by The General Culture Authority’s CEO, Eng. Ahmad Almaziad, and the British Council’s Chief Executive, Sir Ciaran Devane and marked the first time the organisations have collaborated together on an international level.
The second and final day opened with an exciting creative activity led by Simon Sharkey from the Necessary Space Theatre Company for delegates to give both sides of their brain a workout, challenging them to follow a complex pattern using both hands. During his talk, Simon Sharkey, formerly of the National Theatre of Scotland, drew interesting parallels between the transformation of the Scottish art scene over the last 20 years and the significant development of the burgeoning art scene in Saudi as the country undergoes major changes.
The second session of Day 2 featured a presentation by Dr. Patricia Kaszynska, a Research Fellow at Innovation and Insights Hub, the University of the Arts London, and focused on the importance of research in really helping arts and culture professionals understand audiences’ needs and the impact of their work. It highlighted the importance of co-creating between artists, arts and culture institutions and audiences, stating that programmes should not be created in a vacuum but developed with communities.
Final sessions touched on examples from skills development programmes from across the Gulf and sharing an employers’ perspective of what employers look for when hiring new recruits. Most importantly they facilitated the sharing of knowledge and ideas between Saudi and the GCC and discussed how they can work collaboratively for mutual benefit and growth of the creative industries in both the UK and the GCC.
Eng. Ahmad Almaziad, CEO of the General Cultural Authority said, “This was a powerful moment for the progression of the creative industry in Saudi Arabia bringing the attention of over 200 professionals and students passionate about the arts and culture to Riyadh, to discuss, debate and see for themselves the exciting potential and talent that is currently emerging in the Kingdom. We look forward to more projects with the British Council and all of the Gulf partners who attended this conference.”
The British Council’s Country Director in Saudi Arabia, Amir Ramzan, said: “We are extremely proud of how successful the Creative Futures Forum has been and are delighted with the overwhelmingly positive response from attendees, who had an opportunity to shape and develop the vision and plans for the cultural sector and contribute to its future. The importance of arts and culture cannot be underestimated, particularly its impact on the economy and on society’s well-being and health. We would like to thank the General Cultural Authority for collaborating with us and hope that we have inspired a future generation to pursue a career in the creative industries.”