Connecting Cultures Through Art


For John Hoey, associate professor of practice in the Department of the Arts, what started as a regular phone call with his parents sparked up a conversation about how people perceive cultures different than theirs, which turned into a decade-long project that is being cultivated right here at AUC.

John Hoey


Hoey started the project, Discover the World, which uses different forms of art to break down the misconceptions people have about others, aiming to foster a more tolerant and informed global environment. 

“Through interviews, demonstrations and performances, creative customs and traditions will be explored in new ways and will look at the past, present and possible futures,” Hoey said. “Each region will be part arts journey, part sports program, part cooking show, part live performance and music concert.” 

There are a number of different ways these ideas can be presented, but Hoey said that the core idea has been modified for a possible documentary-style approach. 

“The audience will be able to watch virtuosos in their fields, along with regular people, as they discuss, perform or create. It's likely that numerous cultural traditions could be viewed for the first time by a global audience,” he added.

For the project, the world is divided into seven to nine different regions based solely on music tonal scales and tunings. “This allows exploration of the origins of humanity and the development of common societal languages,” Hoey said. 

While Discover the World is still in the works, other projects have been able to stem off of it, and Hoey said that more are to come. 

“I'm currently working with some Egyptian producers, directors and musicians on aspects of Discover, but also a project to perform a 24-hour global live-streamed project,” he said. “Over the summer, I wrote an adaptation of Moiliere' s The Imaginary Invalid for Zoom performances.”

Throughout this process, Hoey said he has been able to learn a lot about Egyptian culture and has enjoyed learning about the thousands of years of history and culture. “I will never stop learning about Cairo and Egypt,” he said. 

And in the midst of the different projects and ventures that are expected to come out of this, the central idea remains constant: to connect people through our love for art and creativity. 

“Any idea that connects people is important,” Hoey said. “This project allows people from all over the globe to understand and celebrate their own culture, as well as those that are different from theirs.”

Hoey has found AUC an ideal place to work on this project, not just because of its location in Egypt, but for its mission. “AUC promotes an open discourse for ideas like this and is always looking to the future of education,” he said