Silphium Plaza in Benghazi after the war, 2020 

The British Council’s Cultural Protection Fund, in partnership with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, announces seven new heritage protection projects.

The grants announced today will help protect endangered global heritage, preserve local communities and protect sites at risk from conflict or climate change.

Just over £700,000 will be awarded to the various projects which will commence from July 2023, reaching completion by the end of January 2025.

To be eligible for support from the Cultural Protection Fund, projects must include activities that safeguard cultural heritage for future generations, protect heritage from risks relating to conflict, instability and/or climate change (and related disasters) and include meaningful involvement of the communities closest to the heritage.

New projects awarded funding are:

Revitalising the intangible Cultural Heritage of the Endorois people led by the Jamii Asilia Centre, in partnership with Global Widom Collective

The Endorois were some of the first inhabitants in the Baringo and Laikipia Counties in Kenya and their intangible heritage is at risk due to the rising water levels of nearby Lake Bogoria. The project will deliver training in oral history skills and record conversations with Endorois Elders focusing on the knowledge systems, practices and rituals connected to their pastoralist culture.

Documentation and Conservation of Lebanon’s Coastal Castles led by Iconem

The coastal heritage of Lebanon is at risk of erosion due to climate change. This project will carry out conservation, documentation and 3D photogrammetric digitisation of four historically significant archaeological sites, as well as building capacities by providing local training in heritage preservation.

Khan Musallah led by Living Mesopotamia CIC

This impressive 19th Century monument in Iraq was built to accomodate pilgrims travelling between the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala and was a key point for contact and exchange along the Silk and Ottoman trade routes. It suffered significant damage during conflict and faces further deterioration due to climate change. This project will improve the condition of the site, create a conservation plan and support local heritage professionals and the community to care for and protect this and other local heritage sites in the future.

Securing the Archives of a Travelling Merchant led by Dar Yusuf Nasri Jacir for Art and Research

The 19th century Dar Jacir house and its rare archival collection in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, are in danger of being lost due to ongoing conflict. This project will protect the building against further damage, provide access to new areas for collections and display and will enable the creation of a professional standard archive room.

Emergency intervention and damage assessment in Manbij led by Heritage for Peace

This project will see the implementation of emergency and consolidation interventions to stabilise three at risk monuments in Northern Syria, dating from the late Byzantine to early 20th century.

Turath Benghazi led by World Monuments Fund

The historic city centre of Benghazi in Libya hosts many important religious and cultural sites and has suffered significant damage due to civil war. This project will provide local architects and officials with training in cultural heritage preservation and urban design, building capacity for conservation and restoration of this ancient city.

Cultural Heritage Preservation Northern Karamoja led by Kara-Tunga Foundation

The Ik community in North East Uganda have a unique language and culture that is under threat due to marginalisation and displacement through conflict and climate change. This project aims to protect their cultural identity through documentation, community engagement and training.

Stephanie Grant, Director of the Cultural Protection Fund at The British Council said:

'The threat to global cultural heritage because of conflict and climate change is growing and it is more critical than ever that we make efforts to safeguard what we value. The projects we are announcing today will protect valuable archives, sites of historic importance and the cultural practices of marginalised communities. I am immensely proud that the Cultural Protection Fund supports this vital work and look forward to hearing more about the progress of each project.'

Arts and Heritage Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said:

'We have a duty to protect not only our own rich heritage here in the UK but also our shared human heritage around the world. I am delighted that the funding for these projects will help us to learn more about these fascinating sites, collections and practices while preserving them for future generations.'