Call for papers: Mapping Cultural Policy in the Arab Region

2 November 2016
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The call for papers is now open for Mapping Cultural Policy in the Arab Region on 21 April 2017 – a conference organised by the Arab Media Centre and the Communication and Media Research Institute (CAMRI).

Keynote: Professor Naomi Sakr

About the conference

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? And finally, how do we evaluate and critique the Arab cultural policy reports emerging from the UN Convention on Cultural Diversity?

Call for papers

We welcome papers from scholars, policymakers, artists and civil society group members that will engage critically with particular aspects of cultural policy in the Arab region. Themes may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Defining ‘Arab’ cultures and cultural policy
  • Current debates on cultural policy in the Arab region
  • Cultural policies and the anti-revolutionary movement in the Arab region
  • Publics, publicness and the Arts in the Arab region
  • National cultural policy groups in the Arab region: assessing the initiative
  • Cultural policy, authoritarian states and the co-optation of radical art
  • Cultural activism and policy making
  • Cultural policy in the Arab region between state and foreign/global funding
  • Cultural policy in the Arab region through the lenses of history (Nasserism, Baa’thism and the modernist project)
  • Tourism as cultural policy
  • Cultural policy and the Arab film industry/music industry
  • Cultural policy and supra-state bodies: a colonial legacy?
  • Cultural policy, secularism and cultural salafism
  • Implications of digital media on cultural policy in the Arab region
  • Minority politics and cultural policy in the Arab region

Conference fees and registration

This one-day conference, taking place on Friday 21 April 2017, will consist of plenaries and parallel workshops.

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

Registration will open in February 2017.

Deadline for abstracts

The deadline for abstracts is Monday 5 December 2016. Successful applicants will be notified early in January 2017.

Abstracts should be 300 words. They must include the presenter’s name, affiliation, and email and postal addresses, together with the title of the paper and a 150-word biographical note on the presenter.

Please send all these items together in a single Word file, not as pdf, and entitle the file and message with ‘AMC 2017’ followed by your surname.

Send the file by email to

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.

Image (above): Museum of Islamic Arts, Doha, Qatar. Copyright: Andrea Seemann/Shutterstock

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