Policy Briefing Paper

By presenting the project summary and analyzing its results, this paper identifies some gaps between cultural facilities management policies and users' needs, and highlights opportunities to develop public policies for the culture sector at the local level as a model that can be replicated to return at the national level towards comprehensive cultural development.

07 2021

This study examines the public cultural facilities available today in the downtown area of ​​the Tripoli Municipality, and the needs of users. The project aims to support the relevant state institutions towards improving the services provided to the culture sector in public facilities, by translating the views of the direct beneficiary into public policy proposals, based on a study with a scientific methodology.

In this way, Scene contributes to this project by providing:

- a map of cultural facilities within the geographical area,

- Basic database + detailed locality database, policy paper,

In addition to reports and a panel discussion.

These outputs provide data to the public and decision makers in local state institutions, and support the research of those interested in this field; Believing that each of us has a role to play towards building a state of institutions.

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Map of Public Cultural Facilities

within the 7 central Mahallas of the Municipaity of Central Tripoli


Baseline Database



1) Supported Practices

The map and Baseline Cultural Resource Database above reveal the distribution of facilities amongst cultural practices. This emphasises the lack of spaces made available for some art activities compared to others.

Fine arts           Theatre            Literature           Cinema            Pottery           Seminars            Music            Sculpting     Partly equipped   Empty space

2) Type of Support

The study reveals a critical gap in public cultural policies where all facilities available are for the distribution of finished art products, with the exception of two theatre spaces where performing arts rehearsals can take place. No art production spaces are available for all other forms of arts and culture.  

Production Facilities

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Distribution Facilities

Production Facilities

Distribution Facilities

3) Distribution of Support

For evaluating the consideration of geographic accessibility of local communities to cultural spaces within Municipality planning, the data shows unequal distribution of cultural facilities amongst the Mahallas. 

53% of the total public cultural facilities located within the central 7 Mahallas of the Municipality are located within the Old City of Tripoli; a historical site managed by an independent public heritage Authority.

 8             مـــحـــلـــــــــــــــة     المدينة القديمة
 1                          مـــحـــلـــــــــــــــة     عمر المختار
   3        مـــحـــلـــــــــــــــة      ميدان الشهداء
مـــحـــلـــــــــــــــة      بالخير
   1                                 مـــحـــلـــــــــــــــة      الظهرة
 1                                  مـــحـــلـــــــــــــــة      الصريم
1                    مـــحـــلـــــــــــــــة      عين الدوارة








Report: Interviews with Users

Objective: Survey user evaluation of existing services & needs
Focus Group: First-hand users of mapped facilities; i.e. artists & cultural civil society managers

This survey was conducted for the purpose of understanding the views of culture and arts makers on the support provided to them by the state through public cultural facilities and services as one of the main tangible cultural resources of the sector .

The research took a semi-structured face-to-face interview methodology with 12 persons as a sample of the users of the facilities documented in the cultural resource map of this project, and the facilities closed since 2019 were excluded according to sources from the public institutions concerned. Participants in this poll are artists or managers, civil society organizations, cultural who use these facilities at least once since 2019.


Participants expressed that they are pleased with the increasing number of art activities and of audience participation in recent years, allowing them to disseminate the messages within their arts as a means of social impact. For most facilities, this is made possible due to the easy booking procedures with no fee in many of the public spaces. However, there are weaknesses and lacks in the means made available to them that require planning for a long period before the event, consequently limiting the number of events and/or programmes that can be prepared for per annum.

4 participants noted that there has recently been some technical improvement such as in Dar Al-Faqih Hassan and Dar Nueji cultural facilities within the Old City. Microphones and a projector are now made available within the space whilst in the past users were responsible for arranging to rent such basic equipment. On the other hand, basic spotlight fixtures within the seminar room at Dar Al-Faqih Hassan have been added in response to the increasing use of it as a gallery space by the users. Despite the improvement, the lighting currently installed does not meet professional art gallery standards.

Addressing the management of the facilities, participants mentioned that they often find themselves having to clean a place before an event, and sometimes even paint it, because the facilities are usually abandoned and opened only upon occasional events.

6 participants spoke about the problem of space constraints. Many of the spaces allocated for cultural activities are small. This restricts the number of art work displayed and the number of audience possible to accommodate, especially since the COVID19 pandemic. If users want to display more work the only available option is to rent other spaces as opposed to the free but smaller public cultural facilities.

Moreover, 2 of the interviewed users said that it is difficult to find venues for their public workshops; given that these activities require a production space in which it is allowed to use liquid paints, for instance, without worrying about damaging the space.

[See previous section on the absence of art production facilities.]

Not much different is the situation for the performing arts, according to 4 participants in this field who mentioned that there are no dedicated rehearsal spaces for theatre actors other than the theatre auditorium. The participants expressed a state of frustration amongst the theatre community; on one hand due to the lack of encouragement and support by the State, and on the other hand because of institutional conflicts regarding the ownership, budgets, or management of some of the few remaining theatres. These consequently led to the closure of some facilities and the weakening of theatre in the capital city.  


It becomes apparent through the opinions surveyed that the weaknesses lie within the management of facilities and the investment in developing the services offered within them. Positively, a number of facilities are currently available; however, most are not of spatial and/or technical characteristics that comply with the activity to which it is allocated, and its standards. This is particularly because many of the dedicated spaces lie within historical buildings in and beyond the Old City, thereby constructed for other functions whilst the process of rehabilitation/re-functioning is often either incomplete or restricted in order to preserve the historical identity of the building.


Roundtable Discussion

On needs & policy recommendations
Focus Group:   Managers and long-term users of public and private cultural facilities 

2hrs, 26 November 2021


Summary of Roundtable Discussion

Within the framework of the second phase of this project, a panel discussion was held to engage the views of 8 leading cultural actors on:

  • The importance of public cultural facilities for workers in the sector and local communities;

  • Strengths and gaps;

  • Recommendations.

Topics discussed

  • Why the cultural field? 

  • Defining cultural movement and its components.

  • The role of cultural facilities in public life.

  • Production facilities and display facilities, and their respective roles.

  • A reading of the reality of public cultural facilities in the city of Tripoli.

  • What do you think of the appropriate facilities? 

  • Recommendations and Suggestions.


Summary of main issues raised by the participants:

1) Challenges and weaknesses:

  • On the one hand, the cultural activity led by civil society and artistic personalities is isolated from the rest of society, as it is noticed that the same circle of the public is present on all occasions, and there is also a reluctance in cultural activity that seeks to address and engage the community. On the other hand, the cultural activity led by government agencies is absent and has little role, and suffers from a classic that no longer keeps pace with the needs of the artist and society in this era.

  • Independent initiatives of individuals, groups or organizations is a new culture that we did not experience during the period of the previous Jamahiriya regime. Therefore, a number of security considerations and a different understanding of culture and its repercussions must be taken into account

  • There are a good number of suitable cultural spaces that are in line with the cultural activity in its current modest and weak size. But a number of cultural spaces are closed due to administrative and operational challenges.

  • Cultural activists who are specialized in activating these spaces and who may be able to provide a better level of management and services are not involved.

  • It is noted that government institutions are not interested in traditional industries and artistic heritage and there are no clear policies in this regard, despite the possibility of twinning and taking experience and cultural exchange with neighboring countries that have preserved and encouraged the heritage and cultural activity in a way that advances the sector.

  • There is a confusion between the concept of display spaces and artistic production spaces, and the lack of interest in providing customized and equipped spaces for production

  • There is no effective communication link between individual activists, artists, and government institutions. Some government institutions have bureaucracies that do not allow partnerships with individuals or private institutions, and they do not have the capabilities to manage this partnership. There is also a reluctance to participate in government agencies by organizations and artists due to double what the first can add to the second

  • Most of the participants expressed the urgent need to develop the policies of government institutions concerned with facilities, and work to open a fair partnership with cultural activists/operators and artists, so that they can contribute to the development of cultural facilities and thus the sector.

2) Recommendations:

  • Establishing a culture of cooperation in cultural management through participation, art evaluation, employment, engagement and all considerations that raise the infrastructure of this sector.

  • The cultural operators must be equipped with the facilities, build their capacities, and use technical residents specialized in the arts, who can be employed for a temporary period or through integration programs.


  •  Opening up and reconsidering ways of reaching and networking between civil society organizations and government institutions to provide opportunities for a deeper understanding of the variables related to the cultural movement and the public scene.

  • Linking the College of Arts and cultural centers through programs that strengthen relations and open opportunities to create new cultural directors.

  • Determining the identity of each cultural space where each building is dedicated to a specific artistic activity, which enables building the appropriate administrative and technical services for that activity in each facility and creating the appropriate environment for it.

  • Improving policies (particularly for the administration of the Old City Authority) regarding the management of cultural spaces and the management of their contracts and the fair application of these policies by establishing mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation of these spaces.


Report: Interviews with Decision-Makers

Focus Group: 

View the views of decision makers, office managers and cultural facilities officials.

Within the cultural resource inventory project, a number of interviews (formal and informal )have been carried out. By phone or meeting directly with decision makers from the culture office (Tripoli )and the culture committee (Tripoli municipality). The center (and the old city administration apparatus. Selected who are in direct or indirect(continuous )contact location. With operators of cultural facilities covered within the scope of the project. Objective of the interviews is to know. How close departments are to facility operators and their plans to cooperate and provide better services to users and size
Proprietary statistics and accuracy. Participants in this survey are four decision makers in the target offices.

Research report
The director of the culture office( Tripoli )of the Ministry of Culture stated that there is a lack of Statistics and data. Especially those related to cultural facilities and therefore the bureau's reactions are limited until now because of the lack of clarity of status. All the facilities but the situation will change soon where he expressed plans for the restoration and maintenance of cultural buildings, including also
Sports buildings to the wishes of office culture in re-strengthening the culture within Tripoli, and make it more inclusive.

He also explained that there are some security problems and challenges that impede the work of the office, such as their inability to access. Some cultural facilities as a result of the control or imposition of their closure by some parties. Example of the limitation. The engineer from the Old City Administration Service added that there are plans to change the policy of booking and use of facilities
To be more accessible, independent and direct from the operators of the facilities and also stressed that the personnel of the device In contact with many users, activists and civil society members interested in cultural facilities He stressed the importance of continuous communication. And the extent to which this contributes to the enrichment of the cultural movement and the prosperity of life in
Facilities are especially those of wealthy ones. 
he chairman of the culture committee of Tripoli municipality praised the Center for their plans to build a communication channel with
Users of cultural facilities during periodic meetings within cultural celebrations(for example, Malouf)
To talk constantly about the cultural needs of the houses and the desire of the committee (which has just begun work) to implement some New policies regarding the cooperation of the culture committee of the municipality with activists who are constantly working in the field Cultural within the scope of the municipality. 
The member of the Municipal Council and the former director of the projects and Planning Department of the Tripoli municipality explained that The municipality in general is working towards decentralization and policy development as it has not been operating freely with regard to  establish policies and provisions of the owner and his competence from other parties. In conclusion, there is a weakness in current policies, working methods and cooperation between operators and officials And users but there is a great desire of decision makers to develop new policies to improve the work and output. Cultural facilities everyone agreed that cultural facilities contribute to connecting the community with each other. He painted a distinctive character of society.


Detailed Database (pilot)

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