Syrian Entity for arts and culture News:
   
 

Who we are


Founded in 2011, Ettijahat is a cultural organisation working to promote independent culture across the Arab world. Our main goal is to activate the role of independent artists in enabling cultural, political and social change. We also seek to build a strong and authentic relationship between culture and art and all other sectors of society. We aim to achieve this by supporting artists and cultural entrepreneurs, empowering young researchers, building consensus and alliances between individuals and cultural institutions, promoting art and artists through regional and international platforms, and making art and culture more accessible to local and international communities and audiences. 

Our Vision

We aspire to build a pluralist, diverse and intellectually and artistically productive Syria, a country where access to art and culture is considered a right for every Syrian citizen. 

General Objectives

  • Improve the general ecosystem of Syrian cultural work by drafting cultural policies, identifying art, cultural and academic courses and diversifying the sources and means of funding.
  • Support young artists and the independent cultural sector by creating opportunities for production, networking, and advancement in skills, knowledge and expertise.
  • Integrate creative cultural work in the process of social change by promoting cultural initiatives that seek to improve the lives of young people and other marginalized groups most affected by political strife.

Our Values

Ensuring higher recognition of freedoms: We strive to promote freedom of expression for all artists and cultural practitioners by centring the question of freedom at the core of our work and refusing all forms of censorship. We also work to promote their safety, including when tackling issues related to gender, sexuality and LGBTQ rights, or when artists are subjected to any form of political, economic, social or intellectual marginalization.

Democratizing art and culture: We promote fair and mutual access between art producers and recipients, the free dissemination of art in public spaces and the enhancement of digital content and interaction.

Respecting artistic and cultural diversity: We design empowerment and support frameworks targeting both art producers and recipients. We establish research platforms that connect different art forms and contexts, while focusing on research and critique as a way to monitor the presence of the arts in our lives and the needs of art producers in their different environments.

Believing in the power of arts in mending vulnerabilities: We highlight the role of art and culture in creating positive change and offer spaces for discussion and art production in local communities. We seek to alleviate the plight of migrants, displaced peoples, and refugees by engaging these communities and other marginalized groups through the production and promotion of the arts.

Transparency: We adopt practices and policies in line with our values in order to secure funding and constantly strive to expand our community of beneficiaries and partners to promote freedom, diversity and independence, as well as to reject exclusion and isolation.

 

Areas of Action

Supporting Art Production and Promotion

We promote the development of a vibrant arts movement and help to enable artistic production in all creative fields and at all stages of production. We cooperate with artists and support them in producing and presenting art projects through regional and international platforms, thus expanding the accessibility of arts and culture for wider audiences.

Programmes: Laboratory of Arts, MINA Forum and Life Initiative.

Supporting Cultural Research and Knowledge Production

We contribute to the development of cultural and academic studies and research papers by supporting individual researchers and practitioners in capacity building and creating partnerships with universities, academies and cultural institutions. The aim is to expand and diversify the cultural narratives pertaining to the Arab world and contribute to the wider production of knowledge.

Programmes: Research to Strengthen the Culture of Knowledge.

Empowering Art in Exile and Promoting Social Change

We provide legal and practical support for artists in exile and empower them within contexts of social and cultural change. We create support frameworks in arts and culture so that the sector can play a restorative role for artists and communities alike.

Programmes: Create Syria and SANAD.

Empowering Arts Education and Capacity Building

We contribute to the development of the art education sector, linking art to the labour market and building tools that enhance the professionalism and image of the arts sector. We help art students to build viable careers in art by developing the necessary skills and knowledge.

Programmes: AJYAL, Sobol and Maharat.

 

Advocacy

Ettijahat – Independent Culture has always strived to reshape the narrative and push the boundaries surrounding independent cultural projects in light of the constant political and social transformations taking place in Syria. As such, Ettijahat has taken on a significant role in re-thinking cultural and artistic events in terms of policies and other priorities. This role also entails bridging gaps between public stakeholders, specialists, researchers and creative practitioners to discuss issues pertaining to cultural change. Creating space for art and culture in the daily Syrian experience has been at the heart of Ettijahat’s mission, and capitalizing on the experiences of other countries has been key to activating this role.

For more information on Ettijahat’s activities in this context, please refer to the Cultural Priorities in Syria Programme, as well as research papers published by the foundation, the Scribes and the series outcomes.

 

Syria in the eyes of the Arab region and the world: A continuous exchange of knowledge and expertise

Since its foundation ten years ago, Ettijahat – Independent Culture has sought to establish a participatory and interactive work environment within its surrounding context. During this time, Syria has shifted from being a single, tangible geographical entity into a dispersed, intangible nation largely united through the fight for justice, freedom and prosperity.

Syrian artists have remained steadfast in pursuing and promoting their work despite the many daily challenges they face within their constantly changing political and social contexts. Their links with diasporic artists and other international audiences, rendered possible due to the use of digital communication, have also widened the scope of their work. The broad intersectionality of experiences from across the Arab world and Syria has provided the immense potential for learning and sharing knowledge and practices.

Ettijahat has sought to identify some of this potential across the Arab region, particularly in Lebanon and other neighbouring countries, as well as in a number of European countries where Syrian artists have since migrated to. We believe this will help us fulfil our mission on a larger, more global scale and create a rich, dynamic environment for Syrian artists to operate in. Within this context we have also been able to export several Syrian-inspired experiences to the region and beyond, paving the way for a true exchange of ideas and knowledge.

Programmes: Art Lives and Maharat.

 

Partners and Supporters

 

 

Ettijahat – Independent Culture is certified equivalent to US American charities by NGOsource, and our Equivalency Determination (ED) can be requested on their website here.

 


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