Douroub: Promoting Syrian Intangible Cultural Heritage

Ettijahat – Independent Culture has announced launching the Douroub (Pathways) series, a special edition within the Sobol series focusing on Syrian intangible cultural and heritage resources, written and presented by Hassan Abbas. The series is part of Ettijahat programming for its tenth anniversary with the support of The British Council’s Cultural Protection Fund, the Dutch Postcode Lottery DOEN and Mimeta.

Douroub aims at introducing some components of the cultural map and creating digital graphic backups to enhance cultural and intellectual diversity, as well as satisfying a portion of the knowledge need regarding the Syrian intangible heritage. The series aspire to contribute to the stability of Syrian communities wherever they are and create a platform for Syrians to share their stories and collective memory.

In the final stages of the work on the series,  Hassan Abbas passed away. Despite his health-related challenges, he was determined, as always, to see it through to completion with the team.

“Our sole consolation is that this series will be part of his lifelong commitment to protect Syrian intangible cultural heritage, at a time when such efforts are needed the most. The insights he shared with us during our preparations to launch the series are a true testament to that: “The Syrian intangible heritage faces many threats in Syria,” Hassan Abbas says about the series. “Social incubators of intangible heritage have been decimated. Its inheritors are either being killed or forced to be scattered around the world. This poses a major threat to heritage if cultural institutions do not step up to protect and preserve it.”

The series will cover seven topics of Syrian cultural resources and intangible heritage, introducing over 200 elements of the Syrian intangible cultural map. It will include videos of more than 50 elements and focus on cultural areas including traditional music, popular and religious dancing, food and beverage in Syrian cuisine, social practices and rituals, celebrations, and traditional crafts and children games. The series starts with two episodes on the concept and categories of intangible heritage, exploring the richness of Syrian cultural repertoire.

The episodes are:

Episode 1| The Definition and Categories of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Syria

Episode 2| Syria’s Rich Intangible Cultural Heritage

Episode 3| Traditional Music in Syria-Part One

Episode 4| Traditional Music in Syria-Part Two

Episode 5|Traditional Dance

Episode 6| Traditional Cuisine-Part One

Episode 7| Traditional Cuisine-Part Two

Episode 8Social Practices, Rituals, and Celebrations

Episode 9| Traditional Crafts

Episode 10|Children’s Games

The series was produced in collaboration with many partners and artists, notable Hammana Artist House, Coculture organisation, Ornina Syrian Orchestra conducted by Shafi Badreddin, and Ossama Halal. Parallel to the series, a specialised training programme was created, covering multiple aspects of Syrian intangible cultural heritage. The programme was conducted in September 2020 – March 2021 with multiple partners and over 120 participants.

According to the organizers, the series will soon be available with Closed captioning (CC) in Arabic and will be translated into English, with a special edition on Audio platforms. Later this year, a special musical edition in collaboration with Ornina Syrian Orchestra will be shared alongside audiovisual materials. All the media produced is shared under the Creative Commons License 4.0, which allows any user to view, download and share them free of charge for non-profit purposes and without altering their content.

Ettijahat – Independent Culture is a cultural organization founded at the end of 2011. Ettijahat seeks to activate and render the role of independent culture and arts more positive, in the process of cultural and social change. Ettijahat tries to achieve that by supporting artists and undertakers of cultural initiatives, enabling young researchers, working to build consensus and alliances between individuals and cultural institutions, promoting the arts and artists through regional and international platforms, and helping communities wherever they have access to culture and arts.

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