University of Westminster flag

About the conference

The Arab Media Centre’s 12th international conference, 'Mapping Cultural Policy in the Arab Region', aims to bring together academics, artists, policymakers, activists and civil society groups to discuss the role of ‘culture’ and ‘cultural policy’ in the Arab region within a context that takes into account the recent historical and political events that are reshaping the region’s societies, economies and culture industries.

Looking ahead to a post-oil future, Gulf states have for more than a decade been systematically investing in 'culture' or what is known as the ‘creative’ economy. In Arab countries that saw regime change since the uprisings of 2010, cultural policy constitutes an indispensable tool of struggle for both revolutionary and anti-revolutionary forces. And while the politics of difference and representation have resurfaced as a key and contentious issue in several Arab countries, Arab youth and subcultures, alienated by state-owned cultural institutions and the private culture industry sectors, have sought DIY strategies and independent sources of funding to give voice to new and alternative artistic forms of expression, including performative arts, experimental film and music.

The conference raises a number of questions:

  • What lessons can be learnt from the history of cultural policy in the Arab region?
  • How does focus on ‘Arab policy’ reinforce the marginalisation of non-Arab cultures in the region?
  • What roles do the Arab states play in the promotion of the Arts and to what end?
  • Have the Arab uprisings triggered a necessary or urgent interest in cultural policy?
  • What do we know about the politics of cultural policy making in the Arab region?
  • How do we assess the global/Western funding of Arab arts and cultures?
  • How do we evaluate and critique the Arab cultural policy reports emerging from the UN Convention on Cultural Diversity?

Conference fees and registration

This one-day conference, taking place on Friday 21 April 2017, will consist of plenaries and parallel workshops. The Keynote Speaker for the conference is Professor Naomi Sakr.

The fee for registration for all participants, including presenters, will be £85, with a concessionary rate of £43 for students, to cover conference documentation, refreshments and administration costs.

Please register to attend.


Download the Conference Programme (PDF).

Finalised programme will be uploaded nearer to the date of the conference.

Travel expenses

Participants fund their own travel and accommodation expenses.


There will be various openings for publication of selected conference papers, which will be discussed further after the conference.

Further information

For further information please email [email protected].