Sharifa Miriam's House, Suakin, Sudan, 2016 ©

Kate Ashley

We have a complex relationship with cultural heritage. In celebrating its riches, we must also acknowledge the challenges it presents.

For the second in our series of Against Disappearance discussions, we are exploring the different legacies of cultural and commercial exchange.

Trade and culture have always coincided, not always in equity.  A consequence of the movement of people, products and commodities across territories, is the migration of different ideas, rites and customs. Across the globe, coastal cities notably hold vestiges of both nourishing and deadly trades. In particular, they reveal how the transportation of enslaved people impacted on the confluence and also the disappearance of cultures.

To discuss how some stories are told of migration, trade and power, the British Council’s Cultural Protection Fund and Shubbak, London’s festival of contemporary Arab culture, have invited: writer, mythographer and historian Marina Warner, writer and activist Hammour Ziada – whose book The Longing of the Dervish was shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction – and writer, editor and festival convenor, Abu Amirah – whose book KasKazi explores the dynamics and inter-connectedness of narratives and cities on the Swahili Coast.

Centred around the cultural context of African, Arab and European influences in Sudan and the Swahili coast, their discussion will be framed by examples of heritage across Lamu, Mombasa and Omdurman, amongst others, to illustrate the fragility of the material traces of complex and shared histories.

Click here for more information about Cultural Protection Fund heritage projects in East Africa.

Presented by the Cultural Protection Fund and Shubbak Festival. The Cultural Protection Fund is led by the British Council in partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.