Martin Stitt (Writer and Director)

15.09.2011 - Interview conducted by Adel Raslan

Adel: How relevant do you think Art is as a form of cultural diplomacy?

Martin: Although I am not very familiar with cultural diplomacy, I think that Art is highly influential in cultural diplomacy. I think it boils down to arts, film  and any form of media really, in particular the commercial ones films and TV, in so much that as soon as you portray another nationality, community or country on an accessible medium and it goes global people start to formulate a view.  So a lot of people have a distinct view of America but have never visit purely because of what they’ve learnt through American media and film. So as a tool for cultural diplomacy I think it is highly relevant and important.

Adel: As well as writing and directing, you also have a keen interest in International relations so I wanted to ask your opinion on the role that cultural diplomacy plays in strengthening relations between different countries, societies and cultures?

Martin: I guess it can work in a number of ways, one is, better the devil you know, to use that phrase is that if you are unaware of a culture it is alien to you especially to the less educated members of society. The opposite also works; the more you know about another culture or community the less alien it is! Sharing ideas, images and stories helps bring people and communities together, bring pertinent messages. One example is old essop’s tales which told kids the things they should and shouldn’t do and it is no different now! The art of storytelling is important for cultural diplomacy is not actually speaking out but rather how.   

Thank you very much.