Mohamed Ben Soltane is a visual artist and cultural operator. He is project manager in BAC Art Center, the first art center dedicated to contemporary art in Tunisia. He shares with us his views about trends and developments in the cultural field in his country.
WHAT ARE THE IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENTS IN SOCIETY IN YOUR COUNTRY IN THE NEAR FUTURE IN YOUR OPINION THAT WILL HAVE AN INFLUENCE ON THE CULTURAL SCENE ?
A new generation: After decades of an authoritarian regime, we feel free now and the young generations are using this freedom. There will be a lot of new initiatives in the cultural field in the coming years.
Financial issues: After the fall of the old regime that was restricting access to public and private funds for culture specially from foreign countries, the situation has changed and this will attract a lot of people specially that our country is not an industrial country and the is not so many opportunities of work. So, the money will attract (good and bad) people in the cultural field.
WHICH ROLE PLAY THE POLICY MAKERS IN YOUR CITY / COUNTRY IN RELATION TO CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT?
In my country there are two very different cultural and political projects: a modernist and a conservative project. Until now the battle is not finished. It is a political battle. This will create confusion on the cultural policy of the country. I think that the civil society has to play a leading role even if it is very difficult in regard to the economic difficulties of the majority of cultural operators. We use to say that you have to be rich to make culture; the majority of cultural workers have very few time and energy to fight for their rights.
IF YOU LOOK AT YOUR COUNTRY OR YOUR CITY WHICH ARE THE BIGGEST TOPICS THAT YOU SEE IN THE CULTURAL MANAGEMENT FIELD?
I think that the reinforcement of human resources in cultural institutions is a main topic. I also think that all topics related to cultural management are important in my country but I would say that good governance, audience development and evaluation are keys issues in regard of the development and the durability of cultural structures. I also think that we have to shift from a francophone to an Anglo-Saxon vision of culture and cultural management (more professionalism, more scientific tools, statistics…).