Opening of the community hall in the Sheikan Museum, Kordofan
Opening of the community hall in the Sheikan Museum, Kordofan ©

(c) ICCROM / WSCM / NCAM

The Cultural Protection Fund will award more than £2.4M in follow-on grants to international partnership projects supporting vital heritage protection in the Middle East and North and East Africa.

The 20 projects already underway are fighting the growing impact of conflict or climate change on cultural heritage in Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Occupied Palestinian Territories, Sudan, Syria, Uganda and Yemen.

The additional Cultural Protection Fund grants will continue to allow global experts to collaborate with international partners and communities to mitigate risk and preserve cultural heritage vital to each country’s culture and identity.

Read more about the projects receiving funding below.

The Youth Heritage Gatherers Collective of the Middle East, Syria

  • £165,000 to protect the intangible heritage of Syriac Orthodox and Assyrian Christians, small religious minority communities in Syria whose heritage is threatened by marginalisation, the threat of violence and trauma from conflict. The project will train young people in digital archiving and data preservation to gather oral histories, interviews, photos and videos.
  • Partners: The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex (UK); Suryoyo Patriarchal Youth Department, Refcemi (UK).

Traditional Music & Conflict, Syria

  • £75,000 to preserve and promote traditional Syrian musical heritage by enhancing the online Syrian Music Map, adding more musical entries and making it accessible globally. Young refugee musicians will attend composition workshops to continue the creation of traditional Syrian music and safeguard it for future generations.
  • Partners: Action for Hope (Lebanon); Ettijahat Independent Culture (Lebanon); Book Forum (Iraq); Aga Khan Music Initiative (Central Asia).

 

Douroub 2 (Pathways): Stories & Memories of Syria, Syria

  • £125,000 to rescue, restore, and revive the intangible cultural heritage of Syria by preserving, documenting and sharing stories and cultural memories of Syria and its people. The project will create a web series, animated films and a book of Syrian folk stories.
  • Partners: Ettijahat Independent Culture (Lebanon).

Digital Cultural Heritage, East Africa

  • £72,480 to protect valuable coastal heritage in Tanzania by creating virtual models of the Kilwa Kisawani heritage site, at risk due to rising sea levels, flooding and wind erosion caused by climate change.
  • Partners: University of St Andrews (UK); University of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania); Ugandan Ministry of Tourism (Uganda); Wildlife and Antiquities, the Department of Museums and Monuments in Kampala (Uganda).

Training in Restoration Techniques for Traditional Houses, Beirut

  • £157,022 to build local capacity to restore the traditional houses of Beirut that have suffered extensive damage due to conflict, post conflict reconstruction and the recent explosion in the Port of Beirut. The project will carry out restoration work, provide training to local people on traditional craftsmanship and create a toolkit to support future heritage protection of the Old City of Beirut.
  • Partners: Arcenciel (Lebanon); European Institute of Cooperation and Development (IECD, France); Beirut Heritage Initiative (BHI, Lebanon); Directorate General of Antiquities (DGA, Lebanon).

 

Green Heritage, Sudan

  • £153,000 to produce permanent exhibitions in three community museums of Sudan, where conflict and climate change have severely impacted tangible and intangible heritage through destruction and displacement. The exhibitions will draw attention to the rich archaeology of Sudan and raise awareness of the urgent threat of climate change to resources, livelihoods and heritage.
  • Partners: The British Institute in East Africa (Kenya); National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums (NCAM, Sudan); ICCROM-ATHAR Regional Conservation Centre (UAE); Cambridge Heritage Research Centre (CHRC, UK); Mapping Africa’s Endangered Archaeological Sites and Monuments Project (MAEASaM) led by Cambridge University (UK); Children’s Civilisation and Creativity Centre (Egypt); Mallinson Architects & Engineers (UK).

Preserving Needle Work & Hand Embroidery Traditions, Yemen

  • £33,984 for the protection and preservation of the intangible cultural heritage practices of traditional Yemeni needle work and embroidery, at risk due to displacement of communities, lack of resources and increased cost of materials. Through training and skills development, cataloguing and databasing, the project will safeguard the pieces of embroidery and the skills to create them for future generations.
  • Partners: Felix Arabia International (Yemen); Yemen Education and Relief Organisation (YERO, Yemen).

Maritime & Making Heritage Project, Iraq

  • £111,450 to project Iraq’s threatened watercraft heritage, through the creation of a boat club site at the Basra Museum. The project will engage local young people in the use of traditional boat forms, offering boat excursions and sporting activities.
  • Partners: Safina Projects (UK); Ministry of Culture (Iraq); Ministry of Higher Education (Iraq); Ministry of Sports & Youth (Iraq); the Iraqi Water Sports Federation (Iraq).

Building a Sustainable Future for Traditional Crafts, Soqotra

  • £103,650 to protect the unique cultural heritage of Soqotra, an island off the coast of Yemen. The project will document little known traditional practices, focusing on traditional clothing design and manufacture, locally designed tools and musical instruments. The project will establish a sustainable training programme and apprenticeship scheme to develop a new generation of artisans, as well as hosting two heritage festivals to raise awareness in the community.
  • Partners: Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (UK); General Organisation for Antiquities and Monuments (Soqotra, Yemen); Environmental Protection Authority (Soqotra, Yemen); the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage (Bahrain).

 

Protecting Museum Collections through Encoded Solutions, Iraq & Yemen

  • £86,760 to continue the programme of safeguarding thousands of museum artefacts in Iraq and Yemen through the application of the traceable liquid SmartWater®. The project will train Iraqi and Yemeni heritage professionals in SmartWater application and the enhancement of digital records of artefacts encoded with the traceable solution.
  • Partners: University of Reading (UK); Iraq’s State Board of Antiquities and Heritage (Iraq); General Commission for Antiquities and Museums (Aden, Yemen); Slemani Museum (Iraq); SmartWater Foundation (UK).

A Collaborative Project to preserve Cultural Heritage, Kenya

  • £206,992 to preserve and promote the paper-based collections housed at the McMillan Library in Nairobi. Interns will be trained in digitisation, metadata creation and archive management, and use these new skills to preserve endangered archives at risk of damage due to climate change.
  • Partners: Book Bunk Trust (Kenya); African Digital Heritage (Kenya); Amitations Studio (Kenya); Baraza Media Lab (Kenya).

Climate, Culture, Peace, Virtual

  • £116,615 for a five-day international virtual conference to gather evidence, discuss and share stories of best practice for safeguarding heritage threatened by climate change, conflict and natural disasters. The conference will bring together heritage custodians, researchers, decision makers and youth leaders from across the Middle East and North, East and West Africa.
  • Partners: International Centre for the Study of Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM, Italy).

Protecting the Cultural Heritage of Palestinians living in the South Hebron Hills, Occupied Palestinian Territories

  • £102,074 for the protection of the intangible cultural heritage of the Bedouin communities in the South Hebron Hills, at risk due to marginalisation. Young researchers from the communities will collate previously recorded oral histories and work with the Palestinian Museum to create a publicly accessible archive.
  • Partners: Coventry University’s Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations (CTPSR, UK); The Palestinian Museum (Occupied Palestinian Territories); Dar Al Kalima University College of Arts and Culture (DAK, Occupied Palestinian Territories).

The Life Jacket: the Revitalisation & Development of Rural Jerusalem, Occupied Palestinian Territories

  • £125,000 to restore a historic courtyard in Kafr’Aqab, safeguarding the space for future generations. The restored courtyard will provide an operational space for Visual Arts Forum, · an organisation dedicated to community development in the arts sector, with a focus on children and young people in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
  • Partners: RIWAQ – Centre for Architectural Conservation (Occupied Palestinian Territories); Municipality of Kafr ‘Aqab (Occupied Palestinian Territories); Visual Arts Forum (Occupied Palestinian Territories).

Protection & Preservation of Tangible & Intangible Cultural Heritage, Occupied Palestinian Territories

  • £229,400 to protect the tangible and intangible heritage of the Occupied Palestinian Territories through restoration, training and skills exchange. The project focusses on the 4th century St Hilarion monastery in Gaza, which has been at severe risk of destruction due to conflict in the region.
  • Partners: Première Urgence Internationale (PUI, France); University of Strasbourg (France); French Biblical School of Archaeology (Occupied Palestinian Territories); University of Palestine (Occupied Palestinian Territories); Islamic University of Gaza (Occupied Palestinian Territories); Coventry University’s Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations (CTPSR, UK).

Melting Snow & Rivers in Flood, Uganda

  • £110,143 for the protection of important physical and intangible heritage within the Rwenzori Mountains in Western Uganda from the effects of climate change. Through international knowledge exchange sessions and construction of a retaining wall to mitigate flooding at the Wang-Lei site, the project will encourage sustainable tourism to the area.
  • Partners: International National Trusts Organisation (INTO, UK); Cross Cultural Foundation of Uganda (CCFU, Uganda); Zanzibar Stone Town Heritage Society (Tanzania).

 

Safeguarding & Rescuing Archaeological Assets (SARAA), Lebanon

  • £110,360 to create a resource of training materials that will provide skills to heritage professionals in Lebanon to help safeguard archaeological assets in the country.
  • Partners: British Institute of Archaeology in Ankara (Turkey); Biladi (Lebanon).

Strengthening Capacity Building of the Heritage Preservation & Interpretation Sector in al Raqqa, Syria

  • £62,600 to train heritage professionals in Raqqa, Syria by providing them with the skills to better protect the archaeological environment in the city. Three historic buildings will be restored and a new NGO created to manage the future preservation, restoration, and interpretation of Raqqa’s built heritage.
  • Partners: Heritage for Peace (Spain); RehabiMed (Spain); Spanish National Research Council (Spain)

EAMENA (Knowledge Transfer & National Heritage Databases for Middle Eastern Partners) Jordan, Occupied Palestinian Territories, Lebanon & Syria

  • £125,000 to create three national heritage databases for Jordan, Occupied Palestinian Territories and Lebanon. A separate Syria-only database will be created through independent monitoring of archaeological sites in the country.
  • Partners: Oxford University (UK); University of Durham (UK); Department of Antiquities of Jordan, Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities (Occupied Palestinian Territories); General Directorate of Antiquities (Lebanon).

Cultural Corridors of Peace II, Lebanon

  • £144,476 to safeguard the intangible cultural heritage of the Bedouin in Lebanon. A report into the threats and opportunities facing Bedouin will be produced and presentations of Bedouin traditions recorded. The project will culminate with two online exhibitions and screenings, while a newly created International Network of Bedouin Communities will enable continued interaction between Bedouin communities across the MENA region post-completion.
  • Partners: InHerit (US); American University of Beirut (AUB, Lebanon).