What is the concept of cultural development?
Cultural development is the enabling or enhancing of cultural activities within a community, to make its members more cultured and aware, therefore, improves their quality of life. Culture opens new social and economic horizons in the country to which individuals belong. Therefore, increases their income and achieves their well-being overall.
From this standpoint, and for the development of the cultural sector in Saudi Arabia the, the Cultural Development Fund was established by royal decree in 2020. This fund aims to achieve sustainability by supporting knowledge activities and cultural projects and facilitating investment in the cultural sector, to enhance its role in the economic development of the Kingdom, and to enable citizens interested in these activities to engage in them. Hence, the Fund’s effectiveness is a tool in achieving the goals of the National Strategy for Culture and achieving the Saudi Vision 2030.
Cultural development goals
According to a report from the Saudi newspaper Al-Watan about the cultural situation in Saudi Arabia for the year 2022, shows that there are 36,872 commercial registers whose owners work in cultural activities in the Kingdom, which explains the Kingdom’s focus and support for cultural development, and this focus comes to reach goals that have a great impact on the Kingdom, including the following:
Preserving cultural heritage
Since culture carries the society’s identity, beliefs, and customs, the cultural development contributes to deepening these concepts among members of society over time.
The Saudi Ministry of Culture, since its establishment in 2018, has contributed part of the mission to preserving the ancient heritage and traditions of the Kingdom through the development of 16 cultural sectors, which are music, museums, heritage, theaters, libraries, natural heritage, performing arts, cultural events , architecture and design, visual arts, culinary arts, festivals, films, literature, fashion, and books and publishing, to include all dimensions of culture in society, with many initiatives that focus on developing the culture of individuals in the Saudi society.
Knowledge is the pillar of the progress of societies, and spreading knowledge is one of the most important goals of cultural development, as knowledge contributes to providing society with competencies and capabilities that have knowledge, skills, creativity, and ambition.
Enhancing creative thinking among individuals
Working hard on cultural development in society and supporting cultural activities that increase the culture of individuals is an important factor towards the growth of creativity within the culture, and this helps to develop the society to which they belong, especially if the work focuses on encouraging cultural entrepreneurship, and on increasing citizens’ awareness of the importance of cultural activities.
This is what the Kingdom looks for through many initiatives, among them is the “Abde’a” platform, which facilitates the conduct of cultural activities for those wishing to take part, whether individuals or institutions.
Achieving economic growth
Culture enhances economic growth in the country. Through cultural tourism, handicrafts, and other fields. Working on cultural development is a successful investment in the world of economy and helps to consolidate the concept of sustainable development in society.
Speaking of the Kingdom, the vision of His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman, confirms that working on cultural development in Saudi Arabia could contribute 3% of the Kingdom’s national GDP, if the efforts made to achieve cultural development continue in the country according to the established plan.
These efforts are clear when looking into the percentages that show that the city of Riyadh ranks first in the concentration of commercial activities related to culture, with a rate of 38%. Followed by Makkah, in which cultural and commercial activities are concentrated at a rate of 26%. In addition, the efforts exerted in developing these activities in mountainous areas such as Asir, located in the southwest of the Kingdom, which witnessed the launch of the “Al-Suda” company for the development of the tourism and entertainment sector, and the “NEOM” company in Northwest of the Kingdom to develop tourism, sports and entertainment activities, followed by other projects and initiatives.
Areas of cultural development
There are many areas through which cultural development can be achieved, including the following:
Encouraging the acquisition of cultural and artistic knowledge
The Ministry of Culture in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia encouraged its citizens to study cultural and artistic knowledge through the launch of the cultural scholarship program and working on it is considered an achievement towards the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, which seeks to build a vibrant society, a thriving economy, and an ambitious nation. This program allows the study of a range of cultural disciplines such as the study of archaeology, museums, music, theatre, filmmaking, and others.
Supporting cultural activities and projects
The Cultural Development Fund supports various cultural activities and projects through several programs, including the Cultural Projects Incentive Program; It is the first project launched in partnership with the Quality of life Program, to support diverse cultural fields, such as creating and publishing cultural content, film production, restoration and preservation of antiquities and national heritage, digital transformation in the cultural sector, promotion and marketing of cultural works, and others.
The Film Sector Program was also launched with the aim of stimulating and sustaining the filmmaking sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, by producing or distributing feature films and series. This program targets producers, distributors, and all private sector establishments working in this field, because its vision lies in enhancing the competitiveness of the sector and achieving sustainability in it.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has worked to develop libraries as part of its pioneering pursuit of cultural development. In 2021, the Libraries Authority launched its strategy to develop the library sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, transforming it from an information source into integrated cultural platforms that embrace activities and events that attract members of Saudi society, in addition to its primary role related to developing reading habits, enriching knowledge, and raising the level of information awareness as well.
Supporting arts in its various fields
The General Commission for Audiovisual Media granted licenses for 45 cinematic productions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and 93 audio studios for music production until 2022.
The report on the cultural situation in Saudi Arabia for the year 2021, issued by the Ministry of Culture, presented the Kingdom’s interest and support for creative fields. There are approximately 6,684 commercial registers in the Kingdom working in advertising and advertising, and 360 commercial establishments for the activities of painters, sculptors, engravers, cartoonists, and restorers of artwork. In addition, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques honored several Saudi female writers in support of their role in the world of literature.
Part of the cultural development that is being worked is reviving heritage in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. A group of active institutions in the Kingdom serve two areas of heritage, cultural and natural by showing the identity of Saudi society in everything related to it such as furniture, clothing, and textiles. The number of furniture factories in the Kingdom has reached 396, and 113 factories are working on textile, and 156 others work on clothing according to the report on the cultural situation in the Kingdom for the year 2021.
There are also many initiatives that work to revive the Saudi heritage, including the intangible cultural heritage initiative, which motivates middle and high school students to do desk and field research to educate them in the intangible cultural heritage. And the Saudi inscriptions initiative sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and targeting community members to revive the national heritage in the field of rock art and inscriptions on the rocks and mountains of the Kingdom.