Mardin Museum in the Upper Tigris Valley  ©

Mardin Museum

We are pleased to award the Protecting Intangible Heritage in the Upper Tigris Valley project £99,911

This project will train people in the Upper Tigris Valley to document disappearing intangible cultural heritage, as well as establishing a new research resource to boost the region’s profile in the heritage and museum sector. 

Intangible heritage in the Upper Tigris region

The Upper Tigris Region is particularly notable for its diversity, representative of Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians and Yazidis among other groups. The traditional crafts, storytelling, Leyli nights (musical celebrations), Reyhani (music bands), Rahyan horse racing and communal festivals (such as Nevruz and Bilal’l) represent the cohesiveness of these groups. Memories, oral histories and other intangible heritage related to these activities are considered vitally important by the local people and diaspora communities. 

Documenting and archiving the region’s intangible heritage 

In this project, University students will be trained in documentation techniques to gather oral histories from 80 local people.  Resulting short films will be produced and stored in a newly created archive to be held at Mardin museum. In addition, teachers from each of the four cities of Batman, Sirnak, Mardin and Siirt will be trained in cultural heritage documentation, in order to conduct heritage workshops with local school children. The resulting student’s work will be presented in an exhibition at the Mardin museum, which, as the project develops, will serve as a hub for researchers in the field of intangible cultural heritage in the region. 

About the History Foundation (Tarih Vakfi)

Tarih Vakfi (History Foundation) is a non-governmental organisation based in Istanbul, founded in 1991 by the joint initiative of a group of intellectuals of various backgrounds and professions. It aims to enrich people’s understanding of history, encourage the conservation of historical heritage with a deep rooted sensitivity and active participation of wide sections of the population. It conducts research and educational work, publishes books and periodicals, produces oral histories and online resources and organises exhibitions and academic conventions.

Project partners:

  • Tigris Development Agency
  • Mardin Museum