Ruins  next to the main road in Kafr Aqab.
Ruins next to the main road in Kafr Aqab ©


Several projects have taken place relating to the Occupied Palestinian Territories as well as four 10-month projects that are currently taking place until 2021. Read more below to learn about the projects, which include amongst others the creation of the first-ever paper conservation studio in the West Bank, the renovation of a historic courtyard, and protective measures implemented to two archaeological sites in the Gaza Strip.

Find out more about the projects:

Building the capacity to protect Palestinian land and heritage through museology

£94,650 awarded to The Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability and the Palestine Museum of Natural History, in partnership with Masar Ibrahim Al-Khalil (MIAK) to document tangible and intangible Palestinian ethnographic heritage, paying particular attention to agricultural practices along the cultural route of ‘Abraham’s Path’.

The project focused on the collection and preservation of tangible heritage objects related to agriculture and nature and displayed them in the ethnography section of the Palestine Museum of Natural History in Bethlehem University. In addition, heritage records relating to these areas have been identified and documented. The project also built the capacity of researchers, local guides and museum staff and raised the profile of the museum among the public through awareness-raising events.

Conservation for Digitisation

£152,209 awarded to The Welfare Association (UK) to conserve endangered paper materials within the Palestinian Museum. This project is delivered in partnership with the British Library.

The project has established the first-ever paper conservation studio in the West Bank. It has conserved 2,841 individual paper items from a variety of important archives, 2,019 of which have been digitised by a complimentary project funded by Arcadia. The project also focused on the building of capacity of conversation managers and delivered a number of advocacy and education activities, including a specialised workshop on archive conservation.

10-month project for 2020-21

Following the Impact round of grants, The Welfare Association have been awarded an additional £152,198 in order to continue the development of the conservation studio with procurement of additional equipment which would allow for the conservation of severely damaged items. The Palestinian Museum will also conserve a further 2,210 paper items from domestic and social history from 1800 to the present day. In addition, the project will also run an expanded series of advocacy and education activities and will provide advanced training by the British Library to members of museum staff.

Cultural and natural heritage

£97,925 awarded to the Centre for Cultural Heritage Preservation (CCHP) in partnership with the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities (MoTA) and Battir Municipal Council. 

The project rehabilitated the ancient Ein Al-Balad spring and the Al Maiden Square in the village of Battir, part of the Palestinian World Heritage Site ‘Land of Olives and Vines’. Alongside this, the project created management and development plans for the site, created an oral history archive of traditions in the area, and engaged people and raised awareness of the site in the local community and with visitors. This was achieved through youth workshops, voluntary work to clean the site, site visits for local people and promotional material created and shared online. A local market has also been established in the newly rehabilitated square with an aim of attracting more people to the site.

Enhancing vernacular heritage in As-Samou'

£641,204 awarded to HYDEA in partnership with Habash Consulting Engineers (HCE) and As Samou' Municipality. This two-year project focused on the documentation, conservation and adaptive re-use of vernacular built heritage to address severe conflict damage in As-Samou'.

The project has included 13 months of capital work and training initiatives focussed on built heritage in As Samou'. It has provided training for young apprentices and labourers and delivered heritage training for ten young heritage professionals. It has improved interpretation of heritage in As Samou' by developing cultural tourist itineraries in the historic centre, installed directional signage and erected interpretation panels in Arabic and English. It has also delivered education activities within the local community such as guided tours of the historic centre and traditional architecture workshops. 

The revitalisation and development of rural Jerusalem

£1,018,470 awarded to RIWAQ Centre for Architectural Conservation, in partnership with the Al Jib, Qalandiya and Jaba' village council; and the Kafr 'Akab Municipality, Jerusalem, to restore the historic centres of four villages in North West and North East Jerusalem, and build capacity in restoration for local workers and heritage professionals.

Some of the project’s highlights include the renovation of a historic courtyard in Kafr Aqab to serve as a cultural hub, and In Qalandiya two buildings have been fully restored. Additionally, the project has trained a number of local workers in architectural design.

10-month project for 2020-21

RIWAQ have been awarded £450,000 for an additional 10-month project during 2020-21 as part of the Impact round of grants. The project will build upon RIWAQ’s interventions and rehabilitation plans and look to facilitate restoration work to buildings and sites in five Palestinian villages to the northeast and northwest of Jerusalem. The project will include, amongst others, activities such as documentation and mapping of historic sites, preventative conservation for over 50 buildings, and training a further 40 Palestinian workers and artisans on traditional building and restoration techniques.

The Khalidi Library: Preserving Palestinian Heritage

£98,000 awarded to The Khalidi Library in partnership with The Kenyon Institute to help to restore the library and turn it back into a hub for cultural exchange and interaction in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem. The Library also seeks to become a centre of excellence for the preservation of valuable manuscripts, training young Palestinians in the art of manuscript conservation and digitization

Library staff have received training in conservation techniques and a total of 50 rare manuscripts have been conserved and 1200 manuscripts have been digitally recorded resulting in The Khalidi Library’s whole archive now being digitised. Security systems, including fire alarms, motion detectors, and sprinklers have been installed, ensuring that artefacts are protected against physical damage or destruction. Consequently, this has enabled public access to the building to be increased from two days a week to three and a number of guided group visits to the library have taken place, as well as a number of public lectures and an exhibition.

Protecting Bedouin Lived Cultural Heritage

£288,351 was awarded to The Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations (CTPSR) in partnership with Al Maleh Agricultural Cooperative and Al Twani Crafts Cooperative. This intergenerational project focused on the nomadic Bedouin communities of the Occupied-Palestinian Territories. This project was awarded a grant extension grant in our closing round to deliver additional activities including mapping Bedouin communities, training young people in oral history recording techniques and developing a cultural inventory of Bedouin Intangible Cultural Heritage in the OPT.

The project focused on training 20 Bedouin youth in the documentation of the oral histories of Bedouin communities in the Jordan Valley and South Hebron. The trainees then used these skills to undertake interviews and document videos of at risk cultural heritage. These videos were transcribed, digitised and translated, and stored on a dedicated website and at Coventry University. The Bedouin youth were also granted small amounts of funding to conduct small projects focusing on their cultural heritage, with the support of the project team, and gatherings have been held to discuss the materials created by the project with the community.

The grant extension increased the scope of the project by engaging with a further 33 communities in the South Hebron hills. A further 57 hours of intergenerational materials were gathered by the youth interviewers, which are now being transcribed and translated. There were also further training opportunities for both new and existing youth researchers, including oral history training, research, video, film and photography.

Protection and preservation of historical archaeological sites in the Gaza Strip

£1,755,000 awarded to Première Urgence Internationale (PUI), in partnership with The French Biblical School of Archaeology of Jerusalem (École biblique et archéologique française de Jérusalem), The Islamic University of Gaza and The University of Palestine. This project will rehabilitate two heritage sites in the Gaza Strip: the Saint Hilarion Monastery and a Byzantine Church in Jabaliyah.

This project is currently implementing protective measures to the two archaeological sites in the Gaza Strip, both of which have been directly affected by conflict. A programme of practical training has been delivered with the two university partners as well as a wide programme of community engagement attracting significant numbers of Gazans to visit the sites.

10-month project for 2020-21

Following the Impact round, £450,000 has been awarded to further the protection and preservation of the archaeological sites, deliver a capacity building programme for students and skilled workers in a variety of conservation and archaeological techniques, and increase public engagement with the two sites.

Restoration of a Mamluk Façade in Jerusalem

£163,525 awarded to The Welfare Association in partnership with the Center for Development Consultancy (CDC) and Istituto Veneto per i Beni Culturali. This year long project restored the main façade of a Mamluk building in Jerusalem.

The project successfully restored the façade of a historic Mamluk building in the Old City of Jerusalem. The project also improved the management of the building by enhancing the capacity of the Islamic Waqf to manage heritage of this type, training four local workers, including two from the Waqf, in stone restoration, and promoting understanding of Mamluk architecture with professionals and local people.

10-month project for 2020-21 | Restoration of Al-Madrassahh Al-Jawhariyya and Ribat AlKurd Façade in the Old City of Jerusalem, as a part of the Rehabilitation of the Bab El-Hadid Street neighbourhood

Following the Impact round of funding, The Welfare Association have been awarded an additional £250,000. The Welfare Association and the CDC with a new partner, the Mosaic Centre who are based in Jericho will restore a third Mamluk School on Bab El-Hadid street – the Al-Madrassahh Al-Jawhariyya Façade and Ribat Al Kurd in the Old City of Jerusalem. The project will also deliver a range of community activities to engage new and underrepresented audiences with cultural heritage.

Sufi Shrines

Centuries of Heritage under Siege, Protecting Nabi Ghaith Shrine through rehabilitation. £95,965 awarded to Rozana Association for the Development of Architectural Heritage to rehabilitate the shrine of Nabi Ghaith and establish a community park surrounding the restored monument. This project is delivered in partnership with the Center for Cultural Heritage Preservation (CCHP) and Deir Ammar Village Council.

The Sufi shrine of Nabi Ghaith has now been successfully rehabilitated and the land surrounding has been converted into a community park, including a children’s area. The project included awareness-raising activities such as the gathering of oral histories and traditions related to the shrine and promoting the work on the shrine locally and internationally.

Swansea City Opera Lebanon Heritage Project

£96,700 awarded to Swansea City Opera to create a permanent record of the intangible cultural heritage of Palestinian and Syrian refugee groups across five camps in Lebanon, bringing communities together through the re-creation of festivals, the exchange of recipes, dances and shared stories. This project is delivered in partnership with the Dreams of Refugee Association, the American University of Beirut, and Social Humanitarian Economical Intervention for Local Development (Lebanon).

This project successfully documented the intangible cultural heritage of the population of Shatila and Rashidieh refugee camps in Lebanon. Residents of the camps, acting in the capacity of trained staff and volunteers, worked with the local population through various community-based activities to identify and celebrate intangible cultural heritage. A total of 250 digital records were created for inclusion in the archive at the American University of Beirut.