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British Council Middle East
Architecture of Cultural Heritage

My Father’s House, the British Council's flagship photographic project, toured the Middle East until March 2010 to ask us: How do we see where we live?

In the past year, 25000 people were invloved in the project or saw the exhibition. We are now exploring plans for the project to tour the UK.

It uses architecture as a motif to explore the role and value of cultural heritage in defining cultural identity and aims to stimulate debate on the role buildings play in shaping a nation’s culture.

Activities encourage us to take a fresh look at our surroundings, the impact they have on our culture and environment and how we value our cultural heritage.

My Father’s House is part of our work to show the value of cultural relations in raising awareness, building understanding, creating opportunities and improving trust between countries of the Middle East and the UK.

Main Activity

A public photographic exhibition forms the centrepiece of a range of wraparound activities designed to engage a wide audience with the themes raised by My Father's House.  The exhibition includes specially-commissioned pieces and features work by five emerging Middle East artists and three UK photographers – including winner of the World Press Photo of the Year 2007, Tim Hetherington. Exhibits include large-scale photography, audio-visual presentations and film to look at how the built environment reflects the people, the community, society and the nations of the Middle East.

The photographers are:

  • Wed Abduljawad
  • Hafiz Ali
  • Boushra Almutawakil
  • Lamya Gargash
  • Camille Zakharia
  • Tim Hetherington
  • Tim Loveless
  • Hazel Thompson.

Inspiration for their works comes from the oral-tradition of story-telling, cinema, households, changing landscapes, archaeological and restoration projects and the role of women in shaping their societies.

Other events

These include an online photography competition, photographic treasure hunts for families, workshops for emerging and professional photographers, artists’ talks, seminars, a regional conference, an education pack and events for schools and colleges.

The online competition was a fantastic success, the standard and variety of photos submitted truly capturing the rich cultural heritage of the Arabian peninsula. Many thanks too all who took part!

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