Children playing musical instruments
Children playing musical instruments as part of Action For Hope's Music Schools project ©

Action for Hope

From preservation and revitalisation of the tradition of Syrian domed houses to preserving and promoting traditional Syrian music and musical instrument making, there have been nine projects in relation to Syria and more information is below. 

Find out more about the projects:

Dome houses from Syria

£84,616 awarded to arcenciel to preserve and revitalise the tradition of domed houses to offer a housing solution to displaced Syrian families. 

A group of Syrian refugees have received training in building a prototype mudbrick house in the Bekaa valley. This provides the refugees with a heritage skill that can be easily transferred to the job market and potentially a way to reconstruct their houses if they return to Syria. Additionally, the main architect has published a book about this type of architecture in order to record it for future generations.

Music Schools for Refugees

£488,160 awarded to Action for Hope to preserve and promote traditional Syrian music and musical instrument making among refugee communities in two music schools in Lebanon and Jordan. This project is delivered in partnership with the Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere and The Aga Khan Music Initiative.

The project has educated and trained 60 young people in traditional Syrian music in Lebanon and Jordan. It has also resulted in a core group of around 20 dedicated and experienced music teachers, who have all received training in traditional Syrian music. Diverse audiences have attended the music school’s many concerts which has contributed to a new and growing interest in traditional Syrian music among cultural communities in the two countries.

10-month project for 2020-21

Action for Hope have been awarded an extra £395,497 following the Impact round. The new project aims to capitalise on the knowledge, skills and talent of these musicians and teachers, and extend the impact of the artistic work the young musicians produce to new audiences.

Find out more about the Music Schools project in our interview with Action for Hope’s director Basma El Husseiny and in this video with Bettany Hughes.

Preserving Syrian Heritage

£109,445 awarded to The Institute for Digital Archaeology to train Syrians in digital documentation techniques in order to document heritage sites at risk. 

The project focused on documenting damaged and threatened cultural heritage sites in the region of Idlib and Hama in Syria, particularly the Dead Cities, a group of 700 abandoned settlements in north-western Syria which since 2011 are classed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Institute of Digital Archaeology also created a centre where archaeologists were trained in digital documentation of heritage. The photographic data produced by the centre has been used to generate 3D images of the sites which will be digitally archived.

Protecting Levantine crafts through embedded training and traditional learning

£97,060 awarded to Turquoise Mountain Trust to train young Syrians and Jordanians in traditional craft-work skills.

The project successfully trained twelve Syrian and Jordanians in traditional Levantine craftsmanship skills such as mother-of-pearl inlay, woodcarving, carpentry and wood mosaic. Additionally, these four practises have been documented and mapped.

Syrian Stonemasonry Training Scheme

£854,825 awarded to World Monuments Fund Britain to provide a group of Syrian and Jordanian trainees with traditional stonemasonry skills that can be used to repair conflict-affected historic buildings. This project is delivered in partnership with Petra National Trust.

Since 2017, the Syrian Stonemasonry has trained a cohort of Syrian refugees and Jordanians in stonemasonry as well as running community engagement activities with young people living in the area.

Find out more about the project in our interview with World Monument Fund’s director John Darlington and in this video with Bettany Hughes.

10-month project for 2020-21 | Syrian Stonemasonry training - Lebanon

Following the Impact round of funding, World Monuments Fund have been awarded an additional £548,201 for a 10-month project which will build upon the programme of stone-masonry training implemented in Jordan by rolling out the initiative to local people and Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

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, seeking to bring 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.

Douroub (Pathways): Promoting Syrian intangible cultural heritage

£100,000 awarded to Ettijahat to protect traditional heritage crafts and storytelling at risk due to conflict in Syria. Workshops and training in storytelling, ceramics and weaving alongside documentation and the production of digital content, will preserve Syrian intangible heritage which could otherwise be lost.

NOTAH (digitizing the Syrian music sheets)

£66,630 awarded to Douzan Arts and Culture to protect Syria’s diverse musical heritage by researching, documenting and publishing Syrian sheet music. The project will train Syrian musicians in digitisation techniques to protect these pieces of music from being lost due to past and current conflict. 

Documentation and protection of cultural heritage in Raqqa city

£100,000 awarded to Institute Milá i Fontanals of the Spanish National Research Council, to train local professionals in Raqqa to undertake emergency conservation of four significant Syrian monuments, that were damaged during conflict. Further training, documentation and awareness raising activities will support the future preservation of important Syrian cultural heritage.