Thematic animations focus on building belonging

Sharq.Org has produced a series of short animations – in Arabic, with Arabic sign language and English subtitles – that were inspired by and include quotes from “Stories of Belonging” – a collection of fifty recorded stories told by migrants and refugees living in Europe.

One animation (below) spoke of the power of kindness and a family embrace in promoting a sense of belonging among refugees and migrants in Europe.

 

Read more about this creative output and watch all three animations on the website of the organisation that produced them, Sharq.Org

Podcast explores diaspora stories of peaceful coexistence

A podcast series of six episodes was produced by Sharq.Org following the documentation of over 50 interviews with migrants and locals in various European countries about the factors that influence peaceful coexistence.

The episode below explores the impact of bureaucracy and government institutions and processes on peaceful coexistence and the acceptance and integration of refugees and migrants in Europe.

Listen to the full series on the Sharq.Org website.
English language versions are currently in production.

 

The episode above about the impact of bureaucracy was
Written by Asmaa Alghoul
Based on interviews conducted by Jenine Abboushi & Reem Maghribi
Narrated by Raneem Khallouf
Sound Edited by Saad Alsawan

New study sheds light on Lebanon lives & livelihoods

Twelve residents of Lebanon were interviewed as part of the Sharq.Org project “Lebanon Livelihoods” that aimed to document and study the various challenges faced by Palestinians and Lebanese in relation to employment and entrepreneurship in the country.

The interviews were conducted and documented in Arabic.

A research paper entitled “Lebanon Livelihoods – Economic Opportunities and Challenges for Palestinians and Lebanese in the Shadow of the Syrian Crisis”, produced by Sharq.Org and written by Lorraine Charles, draws on the collection of narratives and presents quotes from some of the interviews.

As part of the production and research process, Sharq.Org hosted a round table discussion with representations from UNRWA, ILO, UNDP, Synaps, Legal Agenda and IMCapital. The gathering facilitated a fruitful exchange of knowledge and research that helped strengthen the report.

Read and download the report (English): Sharq-Lebanon_Livelihoods-Report-EN

 

Tarikhi celebrates with multidisciplinary event

Sharq.Org hosted a multi-disciplinary event on 15 November 2019 to celebrate Tarikhi: A Platform for Voices from the Arab Region. The digital platform hosts video and audio recordings, accompanied by transcripts or summaries, of interviews conducted and stories documented by Sharq.Org with individuals in and of the Arab region. The Sharq.Org oral history programme aims to enhance inclusion of diverse people and experiences in the narratives that shape opinion; the ultimate aim being to facilitate understanding and acceptance in a region marred by tyranny and division.

The event included an exhibition of artworks commissioned to visually reflect stories captured in the collection ‘Syrian Histories‘; and an exhibition of photographs taken by photojournalist George Azar, whose work in visual storytelling is documented in a Q&A published in a booklet produced for the event.

The event also included recitals of excerpts of ‘I Am Not a Vase’, a play produced by Sharq.Org in partnership with Lina Abyad and Madonna Adib based on stories documented i the same collection. A panel discussion with professionals engaged in storytelling in the region was also held at the event.

Syria & Its People: studies based on stories

Sharq.Org has produced a series of research papers about life in Syria prior to 2011. The papers are based on the more than 100 interviews conducted and documented by Sharq.Org in the oral history collection ‘Syrian Histories’.

The papers were written in Arabic by different researchers and have been translated into English:

Daily Life in Syria Before 2011

Education in Syrian State Schools before 2011

Freedom of Expression in Syria from the 1970s to 2011

Livelihoods in Syria

Sects and Ethnic Minorities in Syria

Syrian Women and Society

 

Sharq.Org has in recent years produced interviews with Syrians from diverse socio-economic, religious, ethnic and geographic backgrounds about their lives in Syria prior to 2011. The interviews were collated in the oral history collection “Syrian Histories”. Each interview focuses on a specific topic in which the narrator has experience, and all provide detailed personal accounts of life as a Syrian in a particular community and town living under particular pressures and privileges.

Listening to the individual stories, it becomes apparent that certain problems impacted Syrians across the country, regardless of ethnicity, religion, class or location and that these stories, collectively, add insight into the difficulties Syrians faced in the decades leading up to the 2011 revolution.

It would serve the future leaders of Syria, and agencies and organisations concerned with the development of the country post-conflict, to consider the lessons presented through these collective stories and experiences to ensure the development of a peaceful and prosperous society.

This is the motivation behind this book, this collection of studies on six interrelated spheres, each of which was written following a review of over 120 personal stories and a study of existing research. Despite the massive destruction, the country is not going to be built on a blank canvas. Its people and diverse communities carry with them fond memories, valuable experiences and crucial knowledge that if heard, nurtured and shared can provide the foundation needed for rebuilding a strong and inclusive Syria.

The ongoing conflict has resulted in the destruction of much of the country and many aspects of its society, but warm memories and relationships abound. When looking to rebuild, be it physical structures, institutions, programmes or communities, looking to Syria’s past should inform design for the future. It is not enough to only understand the experience of Syrians during the conflict, but also to know about their lives, loves and concerns prior to it.

Peaceful coexistence and post-conflict development require above all else empathy and understanding of the other. Effective and constructive development in our understanding of the causes and impact of different actions, events and environments on individuals and communities pre-conflict is key to our ability to develop approaches that can both help end conflict and build sustainably peaceful communities.

For decades, Syrians were denied the opportunity to honestly and constructively share their experiences, their dreams and their concerns. As such, we must focus on building trust based on a unifying desire to build a harmonious and inclusive society. Such trust can be built through storytelling. The telling of and listening to individual people’s stories of struggle and success, woes and wonders, nurtures connections and helps build stronger communities based on empathy, acceptance and respect.

The research papers were written in Arabic and translated into English. The Arabic papers were combined and published in a book available in print and online.