Saudi Arabia just took a major step forward to enhance its cultural opportunities in the kingdom.
Nearly a year after Saudi Arabia announced the creation of a culture ministry, the country released details of the body's plans, vision, and policies in various cultural sectors.
Proving just how serious it is about culture, Saudi's Ministry of Culture (MOC) has rebranded itself, documenting its vision under the slogan "our culture, our identity."
Here's what you need to know about the kingdom's cultural vision:
It's all part of Vision 2030
As part of Saudi Arabia's ambitious Vision 2030 national transformation plan, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has pushed for greater cultural and entertainment options in the kingdom.
Since the plan was initiated in 2016, the kingdom has opened its doors to a range of new cultural activities in a bid to decrease its economy's heavy reliance on oil. In 2018, Saudi Arabia's MOC was created following a royal order.
Public concerts, international conferences, cinemas, and other entertainment options have come to the kingdom since then. Vision 2030 states that culture is "indispensable to our quality of life" and emphasizes the country's need to increase both the quality and quantity of cultural activities.
On Wednesday, MOC released further details of how it plans to achieve its goals at the King Abdulaziz Historical Center in Riyadh.
Three central "cultural" objectives
The ministry released a PDF document detailing its objectives, plans, and goals. There are three main objectives the ministry will focus on from here on out. These include:
- Promoting culture as a way of life
- Enabling culture to contribute to economic growth
- Creating opportunities for international cultural exchange
"We will develop an environment which supports and nurtures creativity, in addition to opening doors for new forms of expression," the ministry's statement says.
The statement also acknowledges that success won't happen overnight, but that the ministry is "committed to deliver" and has designed the "cultural vision to remove barriers, limit bureaucracy and enable creativity to flourish."
The ministry identified 16 sub-sectors "where it will focus its work"
In the detailed document, the ministry thoroughly defines Saudi culture and its plans to bring that culture to light. The ministry's vision includes "a flourishing of arts and culture across Saudi Arabia that enriches lives, celebrates national identity and builds understanding between people."
It also aims to "to support and enable a vibrant Saudi Arabian culture that is true to its past and looks to the future by cherishing heritage and unleashing new and inspiring forms of expression for all."
Having said that, the ministry identified 16 sub-sectors where it will focus its work. These include museums, film and video, and natural heritage - to name a few.
On Wednesday, the Minister of Culture, Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al Saud, said the kingdom is set to host The Red Sea International Film Festival starting 2020.
Earlier this year, Saudi's General Entertainment Authority (GEA) announced that the world renowned Madame Tussauds wax museum is set to open in the kingdom.
Establishment of bodies within specific sectors
In an effort to turn plans into concrete results, MOC seeks to establish dedicated teams to each of the sub-sectors. There will be 11 bodies in total.
"This clear sector focus is intended to ensure faster and more efficient execution of plans and thus create a clearer path to attracting top talent and leadership," the ministry's statement reads.
More details on the matter will be revealed in the coming months.
"Culture will be part of daily life"
The kingdom's cultural vision aims to have an ecosystem "where talent is encouraged" in both local and global contexts by 2030.
"Across the kingdom, access to culture will have been improved; new museums and festivals will have been founded; opportunities to participate will be wider. Culture will be part of daily life," the ministry says in its statement.
According to The National, Saudi Arabia will soon allow international artists to "live in the country through a new residency visa."
It adds that the cultural sector will contribute up to 3 percent of the kingdom's economy.