Just back from an amazing week in Damascus, Syria talking about audience development.
The trip was facilitated by the British Council and consisted of two days contributing to an international cultural management course followed by a lecture at the Damascus Higher Institute for Dramatic Art and a materclass at the Syrian Opera House.
The cultural management course included delegates from Syria, Egypt, Oman, Jordan, Palestine, Morocco, Algeria, Yemen and Mauritania. It was a privilege to spend time with these bright, passionate and ambitious arts workers; to hear about their achievements and work out how we could apply arts marketing principles to their very different situations (censorship and secret police….). The course took place in the fantastic location of Gallery Mustafa Ali, a traditional Damascene house in the old city, that is now a sculture gallery, arts venue and simple hotel.
Above; the first of many delicious meals, breakfast on my first morning, and below; Gallery Mustafa Ali.
The course is organised by Al Mawred Al Thaqafy (Culture Resource) a non-profit organization based in Cairo that supports artistic creativity and creative exchange in the Arab region. Running since 2006 and previously taking place in Marrakesh, Amman and Algiers, this annual cultural management course for delegates from across the Arab world is always heavily over subscribed.
This is the group at the presentation and party on the last day of the course (apologies its a bit dark, you might be able to just make me out in the centre)
More to follow on other aspects of the trip.