The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC) has announced that the third edition of the International Congress of Arabic Publishing and Creative Industries (Congress PCI) will take place on 28 April at Manarat Al Saadiyat in Abu Dhabi. The theme for this edition is Technological Transformations in the Publishing Industry and Drivers of Change.

The congress precedes Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2024 and will feature speakers from as many as 50 countries, representing various cultural and creative fields. The event will foster innovation and cross-sector collaboration within Arabic literature and creative works.

His Excellency Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, said: “Congress PCI is part of our commitment to propel the publishing sector to even greater heights, in line with our mission to promote Arabic language as a priority and enable greater cross-cultural understanding. It presents a pivotal opportunity for experts from the publishing and creative sectors to actively shape the future of this industry, while developing an innovation-centric infrastructure that empowers the next generation of creative minds. We are proud to be able to convene decision makers, speakers and delegates from around the globe to drive cross-disciplinary conversations in our constant effort to promote intercultural dialogue and collaboration."

His Excellency Dr Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC, said: "The cultural and creative industries are key to the enrichment of nations and societies. Following the remarkable success of its two previous editions, the congress has become an important platform for experts from Arab and international markets to connect, exchange experiences and knowledge, and learn about the latest practices in the field. For the creative industries in the Arab world to continue to thrive, we require innovative and ambitious minds, and this year we have a dedicated programme and several workshops to support young talent in these industries."

His Excellency Dr bin Tamim also highlighted that the congress, with its carefully curated themes, creates common ground between the Arabic language and the cultural and creative industries, contributing positively to both.  

A range of vital topics related to the publishing and creative industries will be discussed through various sessions. The keynote session Foresight for Growth: Cultural and Creative Industries as a Driver for Economy will reveal how the cultural and creative sector adds resilience and growth capacity to the economy, within the context of real-life examples of initiatives led by Abu Dhabi. Featuring His Excellency Mohammed Al Mubarak, Chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi, and Mohamed El Erian, President of Queen’s College Cambridge, and moderated by Caroline Faraj, Vice-President and Editor-in-Chief of CNN Arabic, the discussion will explore the benefits of combining proven economic strategies with local cultural policies to drive sustainable development and economic diversification.

Another session, titled Creative Economy and Public and Private Collaboration will explore the value of the creator economy to the local economy, and how to boost the creator economy by leveraging new value-creation opportunities through cross-sector and geographic collaborations and partnerships.

Filmmaking Alchemy: The Dynamic Relationship Between Literature and Film Adaptations will shed light on the process a novel undergoes to become a film. This intricate process involves a myriad of talents, from the scriptwriters and directors to actors, cinematographers, sound teams, and music composers.

The Cross-border Storytelling through Game Adaptations panel will explore how storytelling can be translated into cross-border interactive gaming experiences, exporting, and sharing local cultures through compelling games that reach global and universal audiences.

The panel Evolving Consumer Tastes and Consumption in the Era of Multi-Platform Content Creation will discuss the disruptive shifts in the evolving landscape of content consumption and consumer preferences, questioning whether consumers are inclined to pay for broader access to various platforms or whether their primary demand is for increased content variety.

New Readership: Fostering a Love for Reading in the Next Gen will debate strategies for fostering a love for reading in Arabic in the next generation, and creative approaches to ignite passion for literature among young readers and enhance the cultural significance of Arabic storytelling.

The Beyond Bytes: Impact of Generative AI on Humanity panel will explore the intersection of technology and society, covering the latest technological advancements in publishing. It will examine how these advancements not only shape the creative processes and the future direction of the industry but also influence our collective experience, addressing the broader implications of technology on human connection and wellbeing.

The congress will also hold a programme to support young talent through a variety of tracks, including exploring extended reality in storytelling and interactive content creation, as well as screenplay techniques for crafting impactful stories for the screen. It also encompasses social media promotion and strategies that empower authors and publishers to effectively market their works and engage with their audience. It provides guidance on establishing a professional home studio through a set of guidelines for designing a sustainable and effective space for podcasting, content creation, and video production. Tracks focusing on comics and visual novels will explore the art of storytelling through visual media. The congress also provides detailed publishing data that offers valuable insights into market trends and consumer preferences.

Featuring matchmaking sessions with literary and film agents, the event will support the sale and purchase of publishing and translation rights, while also providing opportunities to convert texts into visual creations. This initiative seeks to increase contractual agreements and cooperation between global publishing markets, allowing participants to expand their networks and negotiate rights with literary agents and publishers in other languages.

In partnership with the private sector, a hackathon will be held during the congress, with participants competing on highlighting how technology and innovation can bolster Arabic learning and creative talent among UAE youth.

The event’s exhibition and demonstration theatre will host interactive experiences that showcase the latest advancements in publishing and content technologies. This area will be a hub for innovation, with partners showcasing their latest achievements and creative solutions. It will also provide opportunities for participants to engage with attendees, with live demonstrations that allow them to experience the potential of these innovations.

Not limited to the presentation of products, the theatre will also be a space for interaction, learning and discovery, inviting attendees to experience the latest technologies – from augmented and virtual reality applications in publishing, to cutting-edge software that has revolutionised content creation and dissemination. It also offers two-way interactions, where participants receive direct feedback from the audience and visitors gain valuable insight into the future of the publishing industry.