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Art & Cultural Diplomacy

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Art is an essential part of individual expression, and the process of being creative is one that is open to all, regardless of age, nationality, religious or political beliefs. The enjoyment and interpretation of art is also universal: because art appeals to human senses and emotions, it is not subject to the controls and restrictions of language and rhetoric. It is, as Goethe has pointed out, “the mediator of the inexpressible”.

Since everyone can partake in creating and enjoying art, it is a powerful tool that can be used to raise awareness and understanding of issues, promote dialogue, and establish bonds between individuals of diverse cultural and professional backgrounds. The shared experience of creating and experiencing art is one that can establish sincere human relationships; relationships that cannot be broken by the words or actions of others.

Interview with Martin Stitt (writer and director) – conducted by Adel Raslan on 15.09.2011

Adel: How relevant do you think Art is as a form of cultural diplomacy

Martin: Although I am not very familiar with cultural diplomacy, I think that Art is highly influential in cultural diplomacy. I think it boils down to arts, film  and any form of media really, in particular the commercial ones films and TV, in so much that as soon as you portray another nationality, community or country on an accessible medium and it goes global people start to formulate a view.  So a lot of people have a distinct view of America but have never visit purely because of what they’ve learnt through American media and film. So as a tool for cultural diplomacy I think it is highly relevant and important.

Adel: As well as writing and directing, you also have a keen interest in International relations so I wanted to ask your opinion on the role that cultural diplomacy plays in strengthening relations between different countries, societies and cultures?

Martin: I guess it can work in a number of ways, one is, better the devil you know, to use that phrase is that if you are unaware of a culture it is alien to you especially to the less educated members of society. The opposite also works; the more you know about another culture or community the less alien it is! Sharing ideas, images and stories helps bring people and communities together, bring pertinent messages. One example is old essop’s tales which told kids the things they should and shouldn’t do and it is no different now! The art of storytelling is important for cultural diplomacy is not actually speaking out but rather how.

Thank you very much.

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The London Art as Cultural Diplomacy ConferenceAugust 21st, 2013

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