The project is funded by the British Council Cultural Protection fund (the British Council’s £30m Cultural Protection Fund, in partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, is set up to protect cultural heritage at risk due to conflict in the Middle East and North Africa). The project was initially awarded funding from August 2017-December 2018 (Phase 1), and then awarded an extension for January 2019-December 2019 (Phase 2).
Working with three Palestinian community organisations – the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, the Al Twani Craft Cooperative, and the Al Maleh Agricultural Cooperative – 20 young people have been recruited to train as youth researchers in their communities. After completing an intensive course in oral history techniques, as well as workshops in project design and management, these researchers have interviewed older generations to gather testimonies about cultural heritage in their communities. The process of recording heritage encourages the sharing of this knowledge between generations, as well as allowing the young people involved to develop valuable new skills. The data they collect will form the basis of an inventory of Bedouin lived cultural heritage in the oPt, especially those cultural resources that could support the resilience and sustainable economic development of future generations. You will be able to access many of these resources on this website as the project progresses.
The youth researchers are also developing proposals to protect the lived cultural heritage they identify through their research. They have presented project proposals to a panel comprised of the On Our Land team and local community members, which will choose a number of proposals to support with a small grant. This phase of the project is crucial in preserving the at-risk heritage of local Bedouin communities, both through the development of the cultural inventory and the projects designed by the youth researchers and implemented with the community.
The Phase 2 builds on the previous stage of the project, by working together with the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (PSCC) to extend the reach of the project from the four initial villages, to around 28 villages in the South Hebron Hills. As part of this, even more activities have been planned. These will deepen the intergenerational work to protect the intangible cultural heritage of the South Hebron Hills, and will also foster connections with other Bedouin communities in the oPt and MENA region. The key activities during Phase 2 of the project include interviews by youth researchers with members of the oldest generations. A selection of these will be transcribed and translated and used also for producing a short film, and four podcast episodes. These interviews will also form the basis for an expanded cultural inventory.
Ten more youth researchers will be recruited during Phase 2 of the project and they will attend oral history methodology and film and video training workshops. Youth researchers will receive training and practise skills required to educate and advocate for preservation of their cultural heritage through additional engagement with key stakeholders in the oPt. What is more, they will pursue new opportunities to engage with Bedouin communities in the MENA region and audiences in the UK.