Tag Archives: Lebanon

Ministry of Culture or No Ministry of Culture? Lebanese Cultural Players and Authority

Nadia von Maltzahn

Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East (2018) 38 (2): 330-343.

This article looks at the relationship of Lebanese artists and cultural players to state institutions, in particular the ministry of culture. Why do cultural players in Lebanon call for the state’s involvement in cultural production, while in most countries of the region they wish for less involvement? What is it that artists and cultural players who are not content with the status quo ask for? This article argues that artists and intellectuals look for state support of culture as long as it does not intervene in their artistic freedom, showing that this search is connected to the idea of citizenship and rights to culture. By looking at the debates around the establishment of a ministry of culture in the early 1970s and 1990s, this article sheds light on the formulation of cultural policies in Lebanon.

You can find the article here.

Please get in touch if you do not have access to the article through the link provided.

A Few Things You Need to Know When Creating an Art Project in a Public Space in Lebanon


Check out the new tool guide on art in public spaces in Lebanon, a project by T.A.P (Temporary Art Platform). This is what T.A.P. says about the project:

A Few Things You Need to Know When Creating an Art Project in a Public Space in Lebanon
Art in public spaces in Lebanon: A research project and tool guide on the legal and administrative challenges and opportunities

In collaboration with Nayla Geagea, Attorney at Law

This research project and tool guide is part of the long-term vision that TEMPORARY. ART. PLATFORM (T.A.P) holds, particularly in the encouragement and development of art in public spaces in Lebanon. Continue reading

USJ: Master Professionnel en critique d’art et curatoriat, Faculté des lettres et des sciences humaines

In order to connect researchers and contribute towards creating a knowledge base on cultural policies in Lebanon, we have started to collect information on MA and PhD theses completed at universities in Lebanon on relevant topics.

At the Université Saint-Joseph (USJ), a professional Master in art criticism and curatorial studies was launched in 2010 at the Department of French Literature at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

According to its website, the programme aims to train specialists of art from the region as well as experts in artistic and cultural professions. It allows students to familiarize themselves with issues of contemporary practices and the local context, and to become actors in the artistic and cultural scene. It responds to a growing demand for professionalization, and contributes to the emergence of innovative projects.

In a conversation with Nayla Tamraz, head of the French Literature department and programme director, we learn that graduates of the Master’s programme are in high demand, and often work in parallel to their academic studies (read an article about the Master here). Since the degree programme is still fairly young, only a small number of Master’s theses have been completed to date.

Of these, the following two are of particular interest to us:

Hage, Maya. Art et devoir de mémoire dans le Liban d’après Guerre: le musée d’art au cœur des enjeux nationaux. 2014-2015. (108 p.) Description bibliographique

Homsy, Ranine. Méditation culturelle et jeune public au Liban: les 7 a 12 ans dans les centres d’art. 2013. (109 p.) Description bibliographique

They are both accessible at the library of the Arts and Humanities Faculty, which is open to all researchers.

This is a programme to watch; a number of Master’s theses are currently being written on other relevant topics!

Open Call to Apply for Grants Related to Cultural Policies

Al Mawred Logo-01

Al Mawred Al Thaqafy launched an open call to apply for grants related to cultural policies. The call is open to organisations, individuals and groups. Grants of up to 8,000 USD are awarded for each project selected. An independent jury made up of cultural policy experts from the Arab region will select the projects.

Applications will be accepted for projects that seek to monitor, assess, research and develop the state of cultural policies in a number of Arab countries concerning the following themes:

  • Freedom of expression and cultural rights.
  • Making culture more widely available in Arab societies.
  • Financing culture.
  • Exploring forms and methods of community and professional organisation for artists and cultural groups.

Deadline for submission of applications is 15 May 2016.

Read the full call in Arabic and in English.


Cultural Policies in Lebanon: A beginning

To improve existing policies and create awareness about cultural policies, a project was launched in 2009 to research the state of cultural policies in a number of Arab countries. Following an open call, the regional NGO Culture Resource (al Mawred al Thaqafy) in close cooperation with the European Cultural Foundation selected researchers from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria to research their national cultural policies along the following axes: historical background, organisation and infrastructure of all institutions involved, objectives and principles, state of the debate on cultural policies, legal frameworks, financial frameworks, the role of civil society and partnerships, and supporting creativity. A summary of the results was subsequently published in both Arabic (download here) and English, and a regional conference on cultural policies in the Arab World held in Beirut in June 2010.

One recommendation of this conference was to set up an Arab group for cultural policies, consisting of representatives of participating countries who in turn would set up national groups for cultural policies in their countries, to advance research and the debate on cultural policies. A second meeting was held in Amman in April 2011, at which the notion was reinforced that cultural work in the region suffered from similar problems, including lack of cooperation between state institutions and the independent sector, a legislation that gave little room to artists and intellectuals, as well as financial restrictions. The change the region was going through was seen as providing an opportunity to examine the organisation and development of cultural work based on a well-grounded understanding of the present situation and a long-term vision, and to make recommendations for new or reformed infrastructures.

The initial research on cultural policies in Lebanon in 2009 was undertaken by Watfa Hamadi and Rita Azar, and is available on al Mawred al Thaqafy’s website (in Arabic, download here). It was updated in 2014 by Mona Merhi (download here).