PARIS: Salma Bensaid is a television presenter and producer who has worked on the design and production of several projects aimed at young people and the Moroccan public — focusing on lifestyle, housing, crafts, social issues and heritage.
For shows such as “Dar Wa Décor” and “Decocoeurs,” Bensaid and her team have visited more than 380 Moroccan families and over 20 accommodation centers, fitting out and furnishing more than 400 spaces. She has traveled across Morocco, meeting women and men passionate about their culture, tradition, and art.
Bensaid spoke to Arab News about her new platform, Dialna Maroc — which she has created to help preserve and promote her country’s rich cultural heritage.
Q: Tell us about your recently launched Dialna Maroc platform. What are its aims?
A:The Dialna movement and the Dialna Maroc platform are the natural continuation of a journey of 21 years in audio-visual production and content creation. The promotion of Morocco, its know-how, its history, arts, and heritage were among my priorities, but what accelerated the launch of this movement was the meeting I had with a family of craftsmen in Fez. They had suffered the full brunt of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic — the border closure and the drastic reduction in tourism. Moroccan craftsmen suffered during this period when economic activity was completely at a standstill.
Our mission consisted of finding alternative markets and sources of income for artisans and relaunching production in certain workshops. We first created demand in a market abroad and, in a continuous spirit of solidarity, we continued with the production of a collection called “SB,” marketed via a digital platform. The objective is to keep productivity up among these craftsmen and to create a link between the artisan and the customer.
Dialna Morocco is a unifying ecosystem. It’s a platform for networking, relaunching a dynamic of creation, meetings and debates around a multicultural country.
It makes it possible to support craftsmen and serves as a bridge between art curators, historians, influencers, and Moroccan youth. Our main mission — through an inclusive culture and shared responsibility, is to revive the legacy of the past; to protect it, to enrich it and to pass it on to future generations.
With the help of its members and its ambassadors, Dialna Maroc disseminates its values through its various content and alliances, in Morocco and beyond. Our projects spark debate and stimulate creativity. Our main themes are Moroccan identity, coexistence, savoir-vivre, artistic and cultural characteristics and skills, architectural heritage, and gastronomy.
Q: What are the main challenges Moroccan artisans face?
A: The question we’re addressing is how to provide them with effective tools so they can promote their skills, build networks, and enter new markets without depending on one-off events. With Dialna Morocco, we’ve launched “Artisan w Aala Bal,” which provides artisans with training in marketing, digital, and e-commerce and offers image coaching.
Q: Morocco is renowned for its cultural richness. How are you promoting and passing on this legacy?
A: In terms of architecture, crafts, art and gastronomy, there are things specific to Moroccan culture that are the subject of international recognition. Unfortunately, our craftsmen do not have any real support. These professions — and a part of our heritage — face the risk of disappearing. Cultural transmission is a common responsibility. And a necessity. The protection of heritage needs to be at the heart of the debate, stimulating interest among young people and encouraging research, reflection and a sense of community.
Q: Can you give an example of how you are helping to do that?
A: For example, we’ve launched a photo contest for students and academics. The objective is to bring together young people who wish to better understand and analyze their history and heritage. We offer them the opportunity to immortalize a moment through photographs.
Other projects are planned too. The goal is to engage with others to preserve our heritage and our culture. Our mission is to encourage young talents, and ensure they get access to necessary training to perpetuate ancestral professions, and become the guarantors of our cultural heritage. Our identity is what we are: Our past, our present, and what we will leave to future generations.