“Cultural Development: What’s in it for Us? Financing the Cultural Sector in Europe’s Neighborhood: Case-Study on Dutch International Cultural Policy 2017-2020 in Egypt”

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This master’s thesis investigates whether culture can foster societal impact and to what extent cultural development can be stimulated from abroad. Taking the Dutch International Cultural Policy objective II – that aims at implementing culture as a means of societal development in, amongst others, Egypt – as the point of departure, it is also questioned whether an international cultural relation between a European and a Third World country can be truly reciprocal, considering it would be a collaboration instead of an aid or development relation. Data for this research is collected both by close reading the Dutch International Cultural Policy and its underlying Theory of Change – also embedded in the European framework – as by interviews with Egyptian cultural actors. Together with a literature study based on Escobar (1995), Said (2003), Bhabha (1994) and Fanon (1967), an analysis of the gathered data shows that Dutch-Egyptian cultural collaboration can be valuable, provided that it is implemented righteously. It can be concluded that it is important Egyptian cultural actors have the possibility of self-definition, creating a local cultural sector that reflects Egyptian society instead of international expectations. Therefore, Dutch cultural funding should do justice to geographical and societal stratification, and invest outside the cultural hubs. Also, a very local understanding of societal impact should be taken as a guideline for monitoring the value of Dutch funding, with an emphasis on the role of youth.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen