The Moroccan International Storytelling Festival in Covid-19 Mode

The Association Conte’ act pour l’éducation et les cultures organizes, from August 1st to 31st, a virtual edition of the International Morocco Storytelling Festival.  The event, entitled “La parole du Monde dépasse la Covid-19” (The word of the world goes beyond Covid-19), pays tribute to international storytellers who have distinguished themselves in their field.

The world is facing an unprecedented health crisis marked by constraints that are undermining several sectors of activity, particularly that of art and culture. However, enthusiasts and professionals are not giving up and are taking a number of initiatives to try to overcome the crisis.

It is in this sense that the Association Conte’ act pour l’éducation et les cultures is organizing, from 1 to 31 August, a virtual edition of the Morocco International Storytelling Festival under the theme “The word of the world goes beyond Covid-19”. Seventeenth edition of this cultural event, organized in partnership with the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports and the Rabat prefecture and prefectural council, pays tribute to international storytellers “who have spared no effort to conserve and preserve oral tales and popular memory,” the organizers said in a statement. They added that the tributes will be made through the appointment of master storytellers as “Ambassadors of Storytelling”. Thus, the same source continued, despite the closure of borders, the festival has opened its doors to all storytellers to participate in various competitions, namely the Oscar for best international storyteller, the Prize for best storytelling on the pandemic of the Covid-19, the Prize for best storyteller-grandmother or the Prize for best storyteller-child.

Also, on the menu for this event is an evening of stories from the Thousand and One Nights, testimonials, nominations and scientific conferences, as well as a virtual storytelling market. The decision to organize a virtual edition comes in the wake of the measures put in place to combat the spread of Covid-19 and aims to make this festival “a mirror and a memory” of the pandemic, one might say. Through this event, the association Conte’ Act, accredited by UNESCO, wants to convey a message of hope and recalls the central place of culture and art, which are essential for mental, psychological, emotional, moral and behavioral health as well as a true societal therapy that helps us daily to overcome the stress of our confinement, as stressed by the Moroccan Confederation of Professional Arts and Culture Organizations, actors and animators.

Beyond the role it plays in personal development,” the confederation continues in a petition dated mid-May, calling for a public strategy for culture and art in the face of Covid-19, “culture is increasingly seen as an engine of economic growth. Indeed, the creative industry has the strongest growth in the world, with an estimated value of more than 6% of the world economy and a workforce of more than 30 million people. However, in Morocco, the lack of a strategic vision for the culture and art sector, the multitude and dispersion of actors, the modest budget of the Department of Culture – which represents only 0.25% of the State budget – the modest funds allocated by the various donors, estimated at a little over 1MMDH per year, the unequal distribution of cultural infrastructure, the fragility of the artistic cultural ecosystem are obstacles that persist and prevent the sector from fully exploiting its potential. As a reminder, the 16th edition of the festival took place in Rabat and with the participation of 30 countries, including Indonesia as guest of honor.

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