Create: A Space to Explore Arts and Social Change


The widespread presence of culture and arts in the engagement with displaced Syrian communities started to spread in 2013. Since then, there has been a growing need for frameworks that support the development and implementation of sustainable models and help emerging artistic initiatives to grow and enhance the role of arts in social change. It was clear to Ettijahat – Independent Culture that analyzing and understanding the different contexts and dynamics of the “disaster” or “crisis” affecting Syrian communities was a critical first step in the process of designing such a framework. Key to the design process was the need to create spaces that encourage the development of initiatives and artistic models that are capable of responding to the current situation and to the idea of exile. It is this line of thinking that led to the design and launch of Create Syria with the British Council, which first and second edition focused on empowering Syrian art in exile to develop and deliver effective artistic initiatives in community settings. In 2020, with the Covid-19 pandemic, the world faced a crisis that examined its ability to resist and adapt, which posed real dangers at the level of health and survival and revealed to us the fragility and weakness of existing social and economic protection networks. In spite of this, arts and social change projects remained necessary in order to reflect on the current but also accumulated challenges faced in societies and to confront what may come from them. For this reason, the third edition of Create Syria offered a space for reflection and reimagining, and an opportunity to re-examine our assumptions and re-imagine the field and our ways of working across all art forms.

Since its launch in 2015, the programme already enabled more than 20 projects implemented in Syria, the Arab region, and Europe, by directly supporting artists and institutions or artistic bodies through seed funds and skill-based training that helped them build new skills, grow their experience and network with creative practitioners. More than 800 members from different communities directly participated in these initiatives and more than 80 experts and 20 organisations were supported or directly engaged in the work. At the same time, Create Syria programme organised artistic forums around the questions related to socially engaged creative interventions where more than 100 Arab and International artists participated and where more than 1000 participants benefitted from these forum’s outcomes. In addition to that, the toolkit Arts and Uncertainty was launched in 2021 about designing creative interventions in times of crisis.

Create Syria seeks to increase the capacity of artists interested in arts and social change, to contribute to the development of stronger, more cohesive communities through the design and delivery of community arts initiatives that focus on experience and artistic quality. Create Syria supports individuals and initiatives to build new skills, grow their experience and network with creative practitioners interested in the relationship between arts and community practices.

General Objectives

  • To increase the capacity of artists and community organisations to deliver local artistic projects that have a positive impact within their communities and contribute to greater inclusivity and cohesiveness
  • To champion diversity and participation within communities in community arts initiatives that focus on experience and artistic quality
  • To inspire and facilitate networking and collaboration between artists and community-based organisations working in the arts in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and Europe, as well as with the UK and international practitioners

الحقوق محفوظة اتجاهات- ثقافة مستقلة 2022
تم دعم تأسيس اتجاهات. ثقافة مستقلة بمنحة من برنامج عبارة - مؤسسة المورد الثقافي