Riyadh hosts Athar Festival

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1000 delegates, 100+ speakers, 6 Young Talent Academies, Athar Industry Awards and a host of other experiences can be expected from 13-16 November. The highly anticipated Athar – Saudi Festival of Creativity, the Kingdom’s largest gathering of the creative marketing industry, commenced yesterday Monday, 13 November 2023, at the Hotel Crowne Plaza Riyadh RDC with its three-day Young Talent Academy Programme comprising six distinct training academies (13-15 November).

Organised by Motivate Media Group and TRACCS, the inaugural edition of Athar Festival, running from 13-16 November, also features a two-day festival (14 & 15 November) and an awards gala dinner (16 November).

Speakers, panellists, industry experts and more than 1,000 delegates will come together to explore the next frontiers of the creative industry and the role of creativity as a catalyst for a vibrant, future-forward economy in Saudi Arabia.

Loulwa Bint Yazeed Al Saud will spearhead an exceptional lineup of over 100 speakers from key Saudi government entities and businesses, local and international creative marketing industry, and prominent global companies and brands. Award-winning creative marketer, Fernando Machado, Global CMO of NotCo, who has been recognised with over 200 Cannes Lions awards, including five Grand Prix, will deliver the keynote address.

Ian Fairservice, Chairman of Athar Festival and Managing Partner & Group Editor-in-Chief of Motivate Media Group, said: “We are proud to present the much anticipated inaugural edition of Athar – Saudi Festival of Creativity, which will be a converging point for culture, creativity, talent and technology. The festival aims to make a profound impact on the creative landscape of the Kingdom and beyond. Our desire is to build a global platform based in Saudi Arabia that celebrates local creativity and catalyses the development of the creative economy by nurturing tomorrow’s talents.”

The engaging event will provide a venue for vibrant discourse across six themes that shape the future of the creative industry in Saudi Arabia and beyond. Artificial Intelligence is set to be one of the resounding themes throughout the festival’s agenda, which provides participants with an engaging platform to explore the latest developments in the industry, create connections, and spark their own creativity. Furthermore, in a first for the Middle East, FIRE, an AI-powered robot, is all set to make its first public appearance and feature on a panel alongside industry veterans on harnessing the power of generative AI tools in the realm of creativity.

The prominent themes the festival will encompass are: Technology as a Creative Driver; Strategies That Help Grow Brands; Inspiration and Idea Generation; Work Culture and Talent; Bringing a Positive Change to Society, and Saudi Arabia – A Thriving Market for the Creative Industry.

Athar Festival also features the Maheerah Women’s Empowerment Programme powered by Publicis Groupe Middle East, which aims to open new frontiers of possibilities for 10 high-potential women in the creative marcomms industry.

The festival will culminate with the Athar Awards Gala Dinner, which will feature the Legacy Awards of the Decade, verified by the Dubai Lynx and Cannes Lions international festivals of creativity, and presented to agencies and brands. Also featured are the Athar Special Awards, presented at the discretion of the organising committee to outstanding individuals, market leaders and other stellar organisations who have positively contributed to the advancement of the local creative industry. The awards ceremony will also honour the winners of the 24-hour hack competition part of the Young Talent Academies.




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