8th World Summit on Arts and Culture Theme Announced

15 June 2017, Malaysia

MOBILE MINDS: Culture, Knowledge and Change will be the theme of the 8th World Summit on Arts and Culture to be held in Kuala Lumpur on 11-14 March 2019.  The World Summit, to be co-hosted by IFACCA and the National Department for Culture and Arts (JKKN) of the Malaysian Ministry of Tourism and Culture, is expected to attract arts leaders and key policy makers from up to 80 countries. The theme is further elaborated below.

To refine the theme and develop the structure and contents of the Summit programme, IFACCA and JKKN are seeking a Programme Director with demonstrable international experience and networks in the field of arts and cultural policy as well as knowledge of arts and cultural issues in Malaysia and/or Southeast Asia.‚Äč Expressions of Interest close Thursday 6 July 2017.

MOBILE MINDS: Culture, Knowledge and Change

The times in which we live are marked by constant change and transformation. Rapid technological progress, environmental impacts, migration patterns and enhanced connectivity all affect our societies, our views of the world, values, cultures, and our understanding of the future. Within this framework, the next World Summit will focus on the intersection and confluence - from both a traditional and contemporary viewpoint - between knowledge, culture, artistic practice, creative spaces, innovation and digital revolution.

How do cultural policies respond to and support innovation, hybridity, diversity and digitalisation, and the interaction between traditional and contemporary practices? How do approaches differ across regions, societies and generations? How do governments respond to the needs of society arising from our transformed sense of self while acknowledging our cultural roots? Is government’s role about finding the balance between respecting the past while encouraging innovation and contemporary practice? How can national development plans be better informed by cultural knowledge and artistic practices? What mechanisms can help establish priorities and respond to change in a fluid and responsive way?

We need to understand the scope, pace and nature of change in order to find ways to respond to it. The perception of change differs from community to community and from society to society. What might be considered progress in one situation might be perceived negatively in another. Finding a balance between preservation and progress, between transformation and tradition, and managing the positive and negative impacts of both extremes is challenging. We might not be able to control change but can we tap into its cultural power and transform ourselves in the process?  Likewise, how do we spark change when change is needed to help society resolve conflicts, foster reconciliation, heal trauma or address injustices?

There are diverse causes of change and multiple ways of reframing the opportunities and challenges it presents. How can governments know when and how to assist societies to respond to cultural change and societal needs. The 8th World Summit will look at the role of governmental agencies, cultural organisations and creative professionals in finding mechanisms for coping with, learning from and supporting change through culture and knowledge.  


  • To investigate how governments find balance between cultural preservation and progress, between transformation and tradition, and managing the positive and negative impacts of both extremes.

  • To understand how change (societal, technological, environmental) reframes the creative environment and vice versa

  • To look at the role of innovation, creativity, education and digitalisation on societal and cultural change

  • To investigate the role of the arts in responding to rapid change and societal needs

  • To look at the impacts of global changes on artistic mobility and practice

  • To comprehend the role of art and creativity in the lives of young and older people, First Nations people, women and under-represented communities

  • To reflect on the role of arts and culture in transforming, empowering and building sustainable communities

  • To showcase examples of how the arts enable communities to learn from the past and apply traditional knowledge to addressing contemporary issues