A message between two brothers describing their usual routine and life, dated 1940. The letter is part of the Jamakaneh project, which is protecting undocumented Yemeni intangible heritage. ©

Basement Cultural Foundation

Nearly £500k in new grants awarded to seven Cultural Protection Fund projects in Libya, Syria and Yemen.

Recognising the particular vulnerabilities and challenges of protecting cultural heritage in Yemen, Syria and Libya, in November 2019 the Cultural Protection Fund launched a new insight round. This insight round awarded small grants to local partners for projects that focus on cultural protection activities in these three target countries. 

We received 46 expressions of interest, and following our thorough application and assessment process, awarded just over £470k to seven organisations – three in Syria, one in Libya and three in Yemen. 

These awards will support projects to safeguard not only cultural heritage sites and objects, but safeguard intangible heritage in order to build capacity, create shared understanding and contribute to economic and social development.

Find out more about these projects below.


Ddwi Ddwi - Oral traditional heritage of Infusen 

£36,270 awarded to The Khalifa Ihler Institute who will collate and disseminate the oral histories of the Amazigh people, an indigenous tribal population in Libya whose intangible cultural heritage has rarely been documented. Their stories will be collected, curated and published along with a digital booklet and transcription available in Tamazight (the Amazigh’s traditional language), Arabic and English.


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.


Preserving Yemen's needle work and hand embroidery traditions

£31,920 awarded to Felix Arabia International to protect and preserve intangible cultural heritage practices of traditional Yemeni needle work and embroidery, at risk of deterioration 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 both the tangible pieces of embroidery and the practice itself for future generations.


£36,475 awarded to Basement Cultural Foundation who are addressing an urgent need to protect undocumented Yemeni intangible heritage. The project will digitise, catalogue and publish hundreds of personal family relics alongside a training programme in archiving techniques and public sharing events.

Visit the projects page to find out more about projects supported by the Cultural Protection Fund.