Conserving the past, curating the future
Saudi Arabia's ambitious plans for its future envision a thriving culture, defined by creativity and innovation, and inspired by the region’s rich heritage and living traditions.
What role should the past play in a society experiencing fundamental and rapid change – whose focus is, necessarily, the future? The answer is a pivotal one, if the work and ideas produced by Saudi Arabia’s new generation of heritage experts, artists, creatives and curators is to be believed.
As well as being places of history and conservation, the kingdom’s heritage sites, many of which have been recognised by Unesco, are seen increasingly as engines of employment, training and education, as well as all-important drivers of the kingdom’s burgeoning cultural economy.
A new generation of institutions and practitioners are also championing traditional Saudi arts and crafts, not simply to save them from oblivion, but as vital, living traditions that speak of place and identity, as well as continuing to be of the utmost relevance to contemporary culture, architecture and design.