UNESCO ResiliArt Lebanon online debate: Defending cultural diversity through creativity, 10 September
Paris: UNESCO will host three virtual ResiliArt debates in the framework of its action #ForBeirut to mobilize support for the recovery of the Lebanese capital, which was devastated by two explosions at its port on 4 August. ResiliArt Lebanon: Defending cultural diversity through creativity, the first in the series, will take place on 10 September 2020, from 7 pm to 8.30 pm (CET).
Prominent artists from Lebanon and the Lebanese diaspora will discuss the situation in Beirut, exchange ideas, build consensuses and advocate for support and sustainable change during the first ResiliArt Lebanon debate, which will be moderated by Ernesto Ottone R., UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture. The event will bring together Ziad Doueri (filmmaker), Omar Abiazar (director of the Zoukak theatre collective), Karen Chekerdjian (designer), Nadine Touma (editor), Nadine Labaki (film director), Hala Bizri (editor), Khaled Mouzanar (musician, composer) and Maya de Freige (President of the Fondation Liban Cinema), among others. The debate will be available in Arabic, English and French, and viewers will be able to ask questions and contribute their ideas through a live chat.
Following Lebanon’s 100th anniversary celebration on 1 September this year, the second and third ResiliArt Lebanon debates will reflect on the development of Lebanese culture and the country’s dynamic creative scene, and look to the future of Lebanese arts and creativity: ResiliArt Lebanon: Museums and Art Galleries for the Return of Cultural Life in Beirut will take place on 17 September 2020.
Finally, ResiliArt Lebanon: Bridging the Past and Future through Built Heritage will take place on 24 September 2020.
The massive explosions in Beirut devastated the capital, claiming hundreds of lives, injuring thousands and destroying large parts of some of the city’s most historical neighbourhoods. Many cultural venues were damaged, particularly in the neighbourhoods of Gemmayze and Mar Mekhayel, depriving artists and cultural professionals of the places they used to create and showcase their work. The blasts also severely damaged equipment that is indispensable for artistic work, leaving many artists without the tools they need to create and make a living, while depriving the public of access to culture and the arts.
The culture sector in Lebanon was already facing a crisis long before the explosions, due to economic and social instability and strict COVID-19 lockdown measures. The recent explosions represent another overwhelming blow to the country’s arts and cultural communities. Responding to crises of this magnitude requires solidarity, commitment and coordination among the local and international communities. UNESCO launched the #ForBeirut initiative to rally international support for the reconstruction and recovery of the city’s cultural heritage, cultural life and education.
As the city and the country respond to the immediate destruction and begin to enter the short and long-term reconstruction and recovery phases, the needs of the culture sector must be addressed. Priorities, concerns and recommendations must be identified and reflected in policies and measures taken to ensure that recovery efforts truly benefit and efficiently support the culture sector and all actors in the creative value chain. The “ResiliArt Lebanon” debates will provide a platform for Lebanon’s artists and cultural professionals to be heard.