Egypt/ 7. Public institutions in cultural infrastructure  

7.1 Cultural infrastructure: tendencies & strategies

Re-allocation of public responsibilities   

Culture was a nonprofit service at the top of the State’s policies. Hence, it was only normal for governmental cultural institutions to be formed in order to provide citizens with the culture. That was the case till the early 70s.

With the economic liberalism taking place in the Sadat era, ideas changed, turning culture into a mere facade. Art came to rely on stars and not on the artistic value of the work. This led to the increase in ticket prices. The public sector resorted to attracting stars who command high fees. At the beginning of the 90s, Egypt started entering the new liberalism era. Cinemas were privatized, as an example of the State taking its hand off one of the most important and oldest cultural intuitions. (See chapter 4: 4.5). This was a blatant example of the State renouncing its responsibility in educating its citizens, But soon after, the Cairo Film Festival returned to be managed by the Ministry of Culture, after it was managed by an independent party for a while.

The number of cultural palaces also decreases, and their conditions deteriorated. Some were victims to horrendous mishaps (Beni Suef culture palace catching fire, while packed with spectators). The state of governmental theaters also deteriorated (the national theater catching fire). In the same era, independent cultural societies started to emerge. (See chapter 2: 2.6)

But, as previously mentioned, the trend towards organizing festivals through the institutions of civil society has increased after the revolution, this is following years of having only the ministry of culture in control of any activity.

Chapter published: 07-04-2016