Lebanon/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.11 New technologies and digitalisation in the arts and culture

Some studies about arts administration promote the term “culture digitization”. The digital revolution (especially in ICT), which started during the last decade of the 20th century will affect the cultural sector and other industries together with the related issues in terms of art innovation using the Internet and how to develop quality standards for this interactive space art (Ibid, p 96.)

The new cultural policies will abandon their traditional ground to adopt modern technologies now that digital societies are ready to replace actual societies, with a one difference that digital societies are scientific and have nothing to do with cultural or ethnic identities. Meanwhile their members do not consider the difference between fine arts and mass culture; between the culture of production and that of consumption; and between profit-making and nonprofit. They simply enjoy arts as entertainment.

Here emerges the following dilemma. Knowledge and culture have become the very substance of global economy. They represent the “enlightenment age” of the technological revolution. The Lebanese are in a very advanced position, and they enjoy individual as well as family ability to absorb new technologies, which is not the case in many countries. Lebanon witnessed horizontal expansion in education in the past twenty years; it is difficult to find a Lebanese village without a school. Lebanon has as many as 42 universities. This horizontal development has deprived us of our scientific resources and prevented in-depth educational development. There are many technology universities and institutes in Lebanon. The Inventiveness groups or bodies in the knowledge economy depends mainly on the graduates of humanitarian institutes. It is clear that the Lebanese people have excelled in fashion design and art management, especially overseas where many of them occupy senior positions in many countries.

Lebanon is paying a heavy price for this innovation, because, in the light of this success, we cannot create a technological revolution and we cannot keep up with the knowledge-based economy. This economy needs large mergers and alliances in different sectors (banking, finance, education and government ministries (Technology revolution and the new enlightenment age, the Lebanese ex-Minister of Culture, Ghassan Salameh). On the other hand, the IT Committee at the Lebanese Parliament, in collaboration with the Ministry of Economy and Trade, has developed an integrated draft law to foster different kinds of e-operations. However, this draft is still waiting to be ratified.

The Secretary of the Minister of Culture, Professor Raymond Araiji signed cooperation agreement with the Lebanese Academy for fine arts, with the purpose of implementing the "Virtual National Museum of Modern Arts". This virtual museum is the first National Museum designated for Fine Arts;  it will include a valuable collection of almost 2,000 pieces of contemporary Lebanese painters and sculptors, owned by the Ministry of Culture and currently stored at the presidential Palace, the parliament building, the Houseof Representatives and in the Ministry of Culture warehouses. The cost of establishing and managing of this museum is covered by a grant from the University of Alba in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture.

The Committee on Information Technology in the House of Representatives - in conjunction with the Ministry of Economy and Trade - has also worked towards a bill to sponsor an integrated project to electronic operations in various forms, and the project is waiting for ratification.

The MoC uses technology in some of its bodies, including the International Center for Human Sciences. The multi-disciplinary center uses methods that fall under human and social sciences, especially sociology, science of human cultures, ethnology, linguistics, history, political sciences, economics, philosophy, human rights, international law and religious studies.

The center provides support priority to the establishment of R&D networks and organizes cooperation among these networks.

The center builds a specialized library and a documentation and information center, conducts studies and researches, and organizes international seminars and conferences (www.culture.gov.lb).

Chapter published: 07-04-2016