Symposium on Egyptian Popular Culture

Produce, Consume, Conserve 


Egypt’s place in popular culture is not disputed: in addition to producing popular culture for its own population, it exports heavily to the rest of the Arabic speaking world and occupies a prominent place in the popular imagination as ‘oum ad-dunya,’ or the mother of the world. Egypt’s large population, and subsequently its large ‘amma, is a component of this. The documented work of scholars and researchers shows how Egypt’s population drove the development of record labels, printing presses, television stations, and many other forms of cultural expression. Egypt is also the site of great historical record, containing relics and monuments from the Ancient to the Khedival periods.

The symposium brings academics, conservators and practitioners together in serious conversation about how their work addresses the question of what is popular, how it is consumed by the ‘amma, and how we can preserve material for a changing ‘amma. Underpinning these conversations is the implicit question “what is the ‘amma?” This symposium will consider how academics and practitioners impact what the general public thinks and consumes and thus, how they themselves enter into the realm of popular culture. Furthermore, the symposium will address the question of responsibility: How and why should practitioners and academics interact with the general public? How do we consume but also conserve Egyptian popular culture? And lastly, what are the ethics of this engagement?

The symposium will take place from January 17-18, 2020 at the ARCE Cairo Center. It is open to the public and attendees are invited to register in advance by filling in the form available at the bottom of this page. Registering for this event is strongly recommended due to capacity limitations in the ARCE Cairo Center. Walk-ins on both days are welcome based on space availability. 



Abstract Booklet and Schedule

  • The schedule is available here.
  • The abstract booklet is available here.



Walking Tour Registration

Al Ismaelia for Real Estate Investment will operate a specially curated walking tour of Downtown Cairo from 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. on January 17 as part of the symposium activities. The tour will be followed by a breakfast and group discussion led by Dr. Shaimaa Ashour at the ARCE Cairo Center.

Registration for the tour is now closed.



Topics and Speakers

January 17, 2020

                      Event                     Speaker/s
Downtown Walking Tour Ahmed Al Bindari
Opening: Seeing Comes Before Words…Cairo the Mega-City Shaimaa Ashour
Roundtable: Producing Material for the Public

Mohamed Elshahed

N.A Mansour

M. Lynx Qualey

Conversation: Popular History and Living Religious Heritage

Dina Bakhoum

Amina El Bendary

Conversation: Modern Art

Sawsan Morad

Khaled Hafez

Conversation: Museums

Karim Shaboury

Yasmin Elshazly

Mohamed Elshahed

Day 1 Closing Reception


January 18, 2020

                      Event                     Speaker/s
Conversation: Books

N.A. Mansour

Nadia Naqib

Conversation: Design

Dina Hafez

Bahia Shehab

Roundtable: What is ‘amma? What is popular?

Ida Nitter

M. Lynx Qualey

Conversation: Photography

Heba Farid

Zein Khalifa

Lucie Ryzova

Conversation: Film

Ifdal Elsaket

Rosaline Elbay

Day 2 Closing Reception and Group Discussion



    Registration for the event is now closed.