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Saudi Arabia releases executive summary of Cultural Status Report 2020

The Saudi Ministry of Culture has released the executive summary of its annual report about the status of the Saudi cultural sector in 2020, under the title "Report on the State of Culture in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 2020: Digitalization of Culture.”

Released on Monday, the summary includes an analytical description of the activities in all the cultural sub-sectors in which Saudi artists and intellectuals are involved: heritage, museums, archaeological and cultural landscapes, theater and performing arts, books and publications, architecture and design, natural heritage, film, fashion, language and translation, culinary arts, cultural festivals and events, literature, libraries, visual arts, and music.

The Ministry has provided access to the executive summary of the cultural report 2020 on its website, in Arabic and English, at https://www.moc.gov.sa/executive-summary-en with the full version of the report to be published soon. 

The annual cultural status report is a research product published by the Ministry of Culture, monitoring the sector’s transformation and development year after year. The report stems from the Ministry's belief in the importance of research’s role in the advancement of the Saudi cultural sector. For research lights the way for a better understanding of the state of culture in the Kingdom and supports the development efforts made by the Ministry and its commissions, in addition to the efforts of individuals, institutions, and active bodies in the Saudi cultural industry.

The theme of the 2020 cultural report, “Digitalization of Culture,” emphasizes “digitalization” as the salient feature of the year, being an inevitable impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which caused the transfer of cultural activity in the Kingdom and the whole world from the tangible reality to the virtual world.  The report highlights this unique situation and explores the digital transformations within the cultural sector, reflected in the nature of activities and events during 2020.

In addition to the exceptional circumstances imposed by the pandemic, the report cites the most prominent decisions and developments pertaining to each of the cultural sub-sectors in 2020 and provides a description of the cultural sector’s potential and challenges. It also lists the achievements of Saudi intellectuals and artists and monitors the level of citizens’ and residents’ participation as well as their interaction with cultural activities during the year, whether virtual or in person at some of the limited activities with the precautionary measures.

The report presents all this information through seven key areas: "Creativity and Production, Presence and Proliferation, Participation, Infrastructure and Creative Economy, Digitalization of Culture, Organizational Developments, and Sustainable Heritage Management."

The report contains multiple resources: secondary sources including the Cultural Participation Survey 2020, which was carried out in cooperation with the Saudi Center for Public Opinion Poll, as well as primary data from multiple sources, including the eleven cultural commissions, government and private institutions active in cultural fields, in addition to 130 experts, practitioners, and cultural officials.

By releasing the report, the Ministry aims to provide a reference and a tool to assess the state of culture in the Kingdom, identify development trends, and benefit researchers and cultural institutions with information built on data that reflects the reality of the Saudi cultural sector.

It is worth mentioning that the Cultural Status report 2020 is the second version of the annual report issued by the Ministry of Culture, as the first foundational version was issued last year and available on the Ministry’s website, highlighting the cultural status in 2019.