RABAT: More than 80 jobs in the arts and culture sector are to be given official occupational status in the Kingdom for the first time, a government minister has said.
The announcement from Saudi Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan coincided with a virtual conference held on Wednesday by the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
It is the first time in the Kingdom’s history that such jobs have been included in the Unified Saudi Occupational Classification.
The inclusion came at the request of the Ministry of Culture to the Ministry of Human Resources, based on efforts and cooperation between government agencies. The occupations were added after studying the reality of Saudi Arabia’s culture industry, and based on the International Standard Classification of Occupations.
More than 80 cultural occupations were approved for inclusion in the first stage such as theater producer, film director, lighting designer, documents and manuscripts restoration specialist, exhibitions designer, textile designer, curator and other basic cultural occupations in which Saudi creatives are active.
The occupations include all cultural sectors: Heritage, language, books and publications, libraries, fashion, theater and performing arts, culinary arts, movies, museums, visual arts, festivals and cultural events, and architecture and design arts, as well as occupations in the educational development of the cultural sector and multimedia design.
Listing the cultural occupations under the Unified Saudi Occupational Classification will help give Saudis official recognition at state agencies and private sector institutions. It will also be a first step toward professional licensing, as well as enhancing artists’ significance and value in society under a clear and recognized professional title.
The Ministry of Culture’s keenness and endeavors to include cultural occupations comes from its belief in the value of Saudi creatives and the need to obtain the value that they deserve professionally and socially.
The ministerial move is also considered to be an essential step to elevate Saudi creatives from ‘hobby level’ to a professional one, which is seen as a major requirement to advance the Kingdom’s culture sector and make it an influential, productive and effective industry socially, economically, and culturally, and at a level that meets the goals of the country’s Vision 2030 reform plan.
Prince Badr used his conference speech to highlight the impact of culture, awareness and solidarity in mitigating the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, and shed light on the proactive preventive measures taken by the Kingdom that he said reflected the true meaning of “humans first” and the principles of Islam.
He said all sectors had been affected by this pandemic, including the cultural sector but that “thanks to the decisions of the Saudi leadership, we were able to promote the cultural presence in the society through an innovative flair, as we are aware and certain that the culture is renewable and able to adapt to the changing reality.”
Prince Badr hoped that the conference would be an opportunity for participation and cooperation to overcome challenges and take culture to a safe harbor where it could achieve the desired development goals.
The event was held under the theme of “the sustainability of cultural work in addressing crises (COVID-19)” to discuss the current challenges. Other ministers of culture and heritage from Muslim countries were also in attendance.