Ian Fairservice: 'The Decade of Saudi Creativity is Upon Us'
Posted on 2023 Oct,12  | By Ian Fairservice

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Ian Fairservice, Chairman of Athar Festival and Managing Partner & Group Editor-in-Chief of Motivate Media Group, weighs in on the Saudi creative industry’s current state of play and the way forward

'Genuine creative output can prove so powerful that it transcends borders and achieves global influence. By 'genuine creative output,' I am referring to forms of expression that accurately reflect both individual and collective experiences, adding new facets to that ever-evolving concept we call national identity.

With over four decades of experience in the MENA multimedia industry, this has allowed me to explore and assess the opportunities that arise with as broad and unbiased a view as possible. Traditional and optimal approaches are constantly evolving, technologies are emerging to drastically change the way we do business, and barriers dictating what we thought was impossible are dissipating overnight.

At the end of the day, true longevity goes to those who remain passionate and agile, striving to stay ahead of the times. We are currently in the midst of another watershed moment for regional creativity.

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has invested an enormous amount of time, effort, and resources to establish itself as a regional hub for innovative ideas and creators. I have personally witnessed the incredible success the Kingdom has achieved across creative sectors, including the fine arts, fashion, entertainment, e-sports, and technology.

This success can be attributed to governmental support, the allure of the Kingdom’s many giga-projects and the influx of global talent that has followed but also due to the genuine passion to shape the sector's future in the Kingdom, leading to a pronounced shift in our creative landscape.

What is commendable, and indeed expected, is that this profound transformation is being led by a new generation of talented Saudis. Their collaborations with regional and global peers have produced distinguished, award-winning works. They have proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Saudi Arabia is ready to contend on the global stage.

Where do we go from here? It is paramount that the optimism of this era and today's bright-eyed young talent from the Kingdom find their true place in the creative industry.

In other words, how can we ensure that the energy propelling this transformation is not only recognized but also cherished, nurtured, and celebrated? How can we convert momentum into lasting impact? The answer lies in promoting life-long education, establishing a culture of mentorship and collaboration, and guiding the development of a supportive ecosystem that will sustain the creative industry’s growth for generations to come.

At this pivotal juncture, one major proponent for development is Athar - Saudi Festival of Creativity. With its inaugural edition right around the corner, it offers marketers, creators, and influencers a platform that fosters ingenuity, facilitates experiential learning, and bolsters organic community growth.

The festival will serve as a nexus of culture and creativity. It aims to empower the upcoming generation of Saudi creative trailblazers, furthering sustainable development endeavors in our country in line with the aspiration of Vision 2030.

Ultimately, I am positive that Athar Festival and other emerging homegrown platforms will open investment avenues for local agencies, bolster young talent with training that deepens their career industry insights, and set new benchmarks for Saudi innovation.'