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Saudi Arabia: A Cultural Renaissance

Saudi Arabia: A Cultural Renaissance

Richard Wilding, 21 February 2024 14.00 GMT
At the Royal Astronomical Society and Online

Richard Wilding will be well known to members of the society through previous talks he has given about his work with heritage and cultural identity in Iraqi Kurdistan, North-East Syria and Saudi Arabia. In this illustrated talk, Richard will describe the dramatic changes he has witnessed since he first travelled to Saudi Arabia. With unparalleled access a decade before the arrival of international tourists, he travelled throughout the Kingdom, documenting its rich archaeology, stunning landscapes, historical architecture and traditional costumes. 

Since Richard’s journey began in 2010, Saudi Arabia has been transformed economically, culturally, and socially. The Kingdom’s vulnerable heritage, vanishing artisanal crafts and diverse regional identities are now being preserved and revitalised through the development of heritage tourism. Experience the unfolding story of Saudi Arabia’s captivating past and its promising future, as Richard Wilding’s photographs reveal the beauty, diversity, and unique essence of the ‘heart’ of Arabia. 

Richard Wilding is a consultant, curator and writer specialising in heritage, history and cultural identity. He is currently working on books, films and exhibitions in Saudi Arabia, Iraqi Kurdistan, Iraq and Syria. 

Richard is a Trustee of the Mansoojat Foundation, a charity formed by a group of women in Jeddah to preserve and promote the traditional costumes and crafts of Saudi Arabia. Since 2012, he has been Creative Director of Gulan, a charity which promotes Kurdish culture. 

In 2019, Richard co-founded ‘Eye on Heritage’ as a platform for local filmmakers in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan to promote their intangible cultural heritage to an international audience. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, London in 2021. 

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