About the Creative City:
Located in the southeast of Saudi Arabia, Al-Ahsa is one of the largest palm tree oases in the world, with an area of 379 kilometres and a population of 1.3 million inhabitants. The city has an ancient tradition of handicrafts, considered as both cultural and social practices passed on from one generation to the next. Around fifty expressions of crafts and folk art have remained through out the city’s history and bear witness to Al-Ahsa’s scenic wealth, including textiles from palm trees, pottery, weaving and joinery.
Crafts and folk art make a considerable contribution to the city's economic development, with growth highlighted by the 36 weekly open markets, as well as by the increase of visitors to cultural festivals. Some events, including the National Festival for Heritage and Culture Janadriya, reaches more than 68,000 visitors in total per year. Other popular festivals, such as the We all are Producers Festival, Harjer Market and the Okaz Annual Market for Innovation and Creativity, have also experienced creative success.
To continue growth in the sector, the city has implemented a specific National Project for Artisans and Handicrafts, as well as a Human Resources Development Fund aimed at reshaping the crafts and folk art sector. In cooperation with the Centre for Social Development in Al-Ahsa, the Palm Centre for Crafts Industries notably emphasizes capacity building and job creation for young women and men, training more than 450 people since its creation.
As a Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art, Al-Ahsa envisages:
- improving the working environment for craftsmen and craftswomen through training activities and by fostering market opportunities through the creation of a new market place dedicated to the sector;
- strengthening the role of crafts and folk art and their impact in promoting sustainable development and reducing unemployment rates, by supporting youth artisans, while emphasizing on gender equality; and
- enhancing cooperation and exchanging best practices with the Creative Cities of Crafts and Folk Art.
Ahmed Almatar, Consultant of the Mayor, Al-Ahsa Municipality, firstname.lastname@example.org