Syrian Entity for arts and culture News:

Research: To Strengthen the Culture of Knowledge - Seventh Edition

Participants in the program researchers names

Almahdi Shbat | The Tunnel and The Cellar as an Alternative Theatre space in Damascus

This analytical and descriptive research is based on interviews with several independent producers of theatrical performances shown in Damascus. The interviews tackled the underlying causes prompting them to resort to alternative locations, particularly performances organized in shelters and basements. The information will be analyzed through questions related to this phenomenon, on the grounds that artwork is a self-standing community. Therefore, the research studies changes witnessed by this community. It also reads into the new artistic forms of expression - including alternate locations – adopted by this community, which seeks to find a broader space to express itself freely and new ways of expression that align with new individual or collective ideas.

Ammar Almamoun | Danger as an aesthetic agent in Documentary Filmmaking

In the documentary film “Still Recording” – produced in 2018 –, “Danger” appears as the agent affecting the story, cinematic and storytelling narration style, and performance in front of and behind cameras. This goes to say that there are political, economic, and cultural factors posing a threat to “Stone” and “Man” which play a role in outlining the film’s aesthetics and means of conveying “the truth”, as visual material claims to do.

The research looks at the exceptional political circumstances which the filmmakers and the people in the documentary had to experience. These circumstances are the result of violent political practices perpetrated by an authority which either seeks to preserve “life” and “land” or threaten them. This alters the political definitions of the individuals in the movie, who can be divided into two categories: the "obedient citizen" and the "potential enemy". Under each definition, the form of danger changes, and along with it, how the image and story are built. Thus, the documentary film turns, in form and content, into an artistic expression on political danger, which can be sensed in the performance, footage, and space.

The research also focuses on the authority’s manifestations, its control over individuals, and how it managed to divide the Syrian space into safe and dangerous zones, where “manifestations” can be seen changing in front of the camera, as well as on how the camera eye switches between both spaces.

Hammoud Emjedel | Oral history as a means of cultural documentation of coexistence in the Al-Hasakah Governorate

Located in northeast Syria, Al-Hasakah governorate boasts religious, social, and racial diversity as a result of its demography, which makes it unique cultural melting pot in terms of customs, traditions, arts, and social rituals. The latter differ, in form and practice, from one social component to another. This research will attempt to identify some of the social rituals for each component (Kurdish, Arab and Assyrian), and the role these rituals play in the coexistence of the different components, and their significance in their social life.

Kenan Salloum | Crowdsourcing the Syrian Cultural Heritage: A Study of the Motives for Participation and the Reliability of Results

The research seeks to explore the possibility of utilizing the concept of crowdsourcing, in preserving the material cultural heritage of Syria, identify opportunities and challenges in applying this concept, and come up with practical steps that could help build crowdsourcing spaces for Syria's cultural heritage.

The research methodology consists of building a pilot crowdsourcing space which tackles a specific topic related to Syria’s cultural heritage, before exploring this concept practically through it.

Mai Atrache | The Manifestations of the Syrian Theatrical Space Outside Syria After 2011

This research studies the theatrical location and space in contemporary Syrian theatrical performances, particularly in the period following 2011, as it represents a turning point in Syria's reality. As a matter of fact, following that year, Syrian individuals had a new definition depending on their location; e.g., Syrians inside Syria, Syrians abroad, Syrian refugees, besieged Syrians, Syrian detainees, Syrians in liberated areas, etc. This indicates a significant change in the role of location in the lives of Syrians, as it became an influential factor in determining their new reality and identity. Hence, the research attempts to monitor the impact of a changing geographical location on theatrical activity and drama, mainly depending on the locations where playwrights have resided over the past eight years, by answering one essential question: Have new spatial relations between formed between the spectator and actor's, as a result of the change in political context and geographical locations of Syrians?

Noor Flihan | Manifestations of Fear in Syrian Blogs

An analytical study of articles from blogs belonging to Syrian men and women in the diaspora, between 2011 and 2019.

The research’s main focus consists of shedding light on the causes of widespread fear in Syrian society, that is the causes that led to fear being injected in the details of daily life. Upon showcasing the causes, the research tackles the manifestations of this fear in articles written by Syrian female and male bloggers in the diaspora, after leaving Syria between 2011 and 2019. By means of the above, the research will attempt to answer the following questions: How did fear manifest in these articles? Was fear reflected in articles that revolved around it, or did it sneak, indirectly, into articles that did not intend to tackle fear?

The research focuses on one literary kind of works (i.e., blog articles) and seeks to analyze and showcase the literary styles and methods used to express fear directly or indirectly.

Noor Shalghen | Post-War Trauma in the Literature of Syrian Exile

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is considered one of the most important terms ever added to the dictionary of Psychology during the last century. However, the increased interest in PTSD dates back to the first world war, when doctors took note of pathological behavioral patterns and hallucinations among returning soldiers. Back then, the disorder was referred to as "Shell Shock" or "War Neurosis". Sooner than later, PTSD was in the press and literature, which repeatedly attempted to document this psychological disorder that was changed the lives of those returning or coming out of the war without the war leaving them. PTSD and the resulting illustrated narratives have intrigued researchers, given the literature's persistent attempts to find an explanation, or reiterate that the legacy of war and the tragedies it inflicts on humankind are, in several instances, far more powerful and devastating than death itself.

Nour Chantout | Women Weaving Tales

This research tackled Palestinian embroidery in Damascus and rural Damascus following the war, and the impact of demographic, social, or political changes on its artistic aspect, in terms of technique, colors, units, and textiles. The research also documents the said changes and analyzes the anti-embroidery archiving methods and explores the archive’s artistic side, as an aesthetic act of resistance.

The research is based on a qualitative, descriptive, and analytical methodology. It focuses on the circumstances and problems of embroidery as a profession, following the war and the changes it catalyzed. This is done through in-depth interviews with an employee at the Palestinian Women's Club in Damascus, along with a trainer and trainee from the embroidery sessions organized by "Aidoun" group in rural Damascus as part of the "We are capable" project launched in 2016. This research will also engage in discussion with the project organizers, and analyze all results obtained from theoretical and literary workers that documented the changes incurred by Palestinian embroidery throughout history. The research will also attempt to document the artistic aspect of the countering archive and showcase several projects that tackled archiving in Palestine and abroad.

Wafaa Abo Fakher | Transformations in the image of the city and its role in changing cultural concepts and values in society

Damascus is witnessing fast-paced transformations in image and identity, affecting the city's architecture, which in turn, bears witness to its history and nature. Hence, this research focuses on an integral part of the city's architecture: Shukri Al-Quwatli Street and the buildings bordering it, as they undergo physical and functional transformations after being opened for investment that is not necessarily in harmony with their identity, history and the communal memory the express. This entails adverse cultural repercussions that the research will monitor and study. The latter considers existing building a cumulative cultural fruit of society's development and raises an essential question on buildings' ability to express society's culture, and how altering structures – as a result of planning and design policies – could impact society's cultural situation.

The research aims to shed light on the extent of the link between material (i.e., buildings in this case) and non-material (the image, memory, and identity of a place as part of society's culture), before identifying a set of general principles aimed at preserving a place's identity, as it represents part of non-material heritage.

Yara Moussa | The Kitchen: An Architectural Void and the Social Relations Related to it

In light of the changes in living conditions in Syria during the war, the empty kitchen is considered the primary variable in the study, as it represents a void that creates social relations. The research ties the kitchen's emptiness (an emptiness which hinders its function) with the social ties resulting thereof. It also monitors social changes through Man's relationship with the kitchen and its architectural components. Thus, the research's main objective does not only consist of describing the kitchen, its elements, and the rituals and traditions related thereto but also of looking into the social dimension behind its emptiness and corroborate its moral and social value within the house and for the family, in addition to determining the impact that a kitchen's emptiness leaves on these social relations. The research discusses the Man & Void duality and confirms the continued mutual relationship between both.

It also raises two main questions: What is the nature of the relationship between an empty kitchen the social relations resulting thereof? Does the kitchen's changing architectural void affect social ties?

In November, the programme participants will enter a training programme under the supervision of specialised researchers in Beirut. They will then go on to produce the papers.

To read statistics on the applications received in this edition, please click here.

The selection committee:  

Fadi Al Abdullah

Born in Tripoli, Lebanon, in 1976, Fadi Al Abdullah holds a doctorate in law from the University of Paris II. Since 2008, he has worked at the International Criminal Court as its spokesperson and Head of the Public Affairs Unit. As a writer, human rights activist, music critic and honorary editor for the website Ma3azef, Dr Al Abdullah has had many articles published in newspapers, magazines and Lebanese and Arab websites (including An-Nahar, Al-Safir, Al-Hayat, Al-Awan, Moudon, Kalman, Bedayyat, Al-Masry Al-Youm, Akhbar Al-Adab, and others). He has participated in a number of contemporary art events and seminars in Lebanon, the Sharjah Biennale, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the Netherlands. He has also published several poetry collections, titled Weird and with a camera, Hand of Intimacy, Infatuation Composes Us, Signatures, and I Share the Pain for a Moment and Kindness for a Long Time.


Jad Alkarim Al Jebae

Jad Alkarim Al Jebae is a Syrian writer and researcher born in Al-Suwayda 1945. He majored in Arabic Language and Literature at Damascus University, 1958-1959. He has worked as a teacher of Arabic language at secondary schools in Lattakia, Al-Suwayda and Damascus, and then as an editor and linguistic auditor at the Arab Encyclopaedia in Damascus, where he edited the Encyclopaedia of Contemporary Arab Thought. Interested in civil philosophy and human sciences, particularly issues of civil society, democracy and human rights, he has published fifteen books and written several others jointly with other colleagues, in addition to a number of research paper, studies and articles in Arab magazines and newspapers. He has also contributed to a number of scientific and intellectual seminars and conferences. Jad Alkarim Al Jebae is currently residing in Germany and is devoted to reading, writing and research. His works include: Controversy of Knowledge and Politics (Dialogue with Elias Morcos), Civil Society: Identity of Difference, Renaissance Issues, Spectra of Arab Ideology, A Road to Democracy, A Rose in the Cross of the Present (Towards a New Social Contract and a Democratic Arabism), From Pastoralism to Citizenship, and The Trap of Equality (The Feminisation of Men and the Masculinisation of Women).


Hanane Kassab Hassan

Hanane Kassab Hassan has experience in academic research and cultural work spanning more than thirty years. Since receiving her PhD in Theatre and from Paris-Sorbonne University, she has worked as a lecturer and faculty member at Damascus University and the Institute of Theatre and Audiovisual Studies at Saint Joseph University in Beirut. Between 2007 and 2009, she served as the Dean of the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts, Damascus, and as the General Secretary of Activities for Damascus - Capital of Arab Culture. She then took on the post of Director of the Opera House in Damascus between 2009 and 2011. She has also served as an external evaluator of cultural projects submitted to UNESCO's International Fund for the Advancement of Culture and is also a board member of the Roberto Cimetta Fund. Between 2009 and 2011, she served as a member of the Strategic Committee of the Conseil Culturel de l’Union pour la Méditerranée in France. Dr Kassab Hassan has directed a number of plays and conducted workshops on dramaturgy and writing; she has also written several articles and papers on these subjects. She is a prolific translator of theatrical texts, from Arabic into French and vice versa, and has contributed to the writing of a French-English-Arabic dictionary, specialising in terms and concepts used in drama and the performing arts; the text is now one of the major works of reference in the field of theatre in the Arab world.


What do we provide to the accepted Researchers?

  • A capacity-building programme that lasts for the entire duration of the project
  • A mentor specialized in the topic to guide the researchers throughout the 8 months
  • A supporting grant of $2000 to write the paper
  • A $200 contribution intended for academic material and useful references (books, articles, etc)
  • Participation in conferences and talks at round tables and symposiums in the region
  • The opportunity to publish research papers abiding by the publishing criteria

Terms of the programme and the application process

  • The call for applications is open from the 22nd of July 2019 until the 10th of September 2019 at midnight (Beirut time). No applications will be accepted after this date.
  • The subject of the project presented should correspond to the general framework of the programme and should fall under one or more of the six research themes presented.
  • Applicants are expected to entirely attend both training sessions that will be held during November 2019 after the announcement of results and during April 2020. Participation in the training sessions is considered among the basic conditions of receiving the full research grant.
  • The project is aimed at Syrian researchers, including Palestinian-Syrian researchers residing in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, the Arab Gulf, in addition to those present in Turkey and Europe.
  • Incomplete applications or those missing one of the necessary documents requested an electronically filled-in application form, applicant’s CV, research proposal, an electronic copy of ID card or passport) will not be considered.
  • Applications that do not conform administratively and/or in terms of content to the evaluation criteria will not be considered.
  • Ettijahat- Independent Culture does not accept previously completed research. Participants pledge to submit original research papers neither completed nor previously published.
  • Ettijahat- Independent Culture reserves the full rights to publish the research (with the consent of the Second Party) for the duration of the grant and for one year starting from the first day after its ending date.
  • Participants retain complete rights to any research completed during the programme after this period and retain copyright on the condition that they cite Ettijahat- Independent Culture in any instance of use.
  • Ettijahat- Independent Culture and its partners reserve the right to use and publish completed research during and after completion of the programme for non-profit reasons.
  • Only accepted applicants will be informed and those results will be published on Ettijahat’s official website and Facebook page. Ettijahat- Independent Culture reserves the right to refrain from stating the reasons for the rejection of unaccepted proposals by the Selection Committee.
  • To apply, kindly find below the general framework and the application form along with the general questions.
  • A committee of experienced researchers (the Selection Committee) will carry out the task of evaluating the submitted applications; names of the committee members will only be announced after the evaluation period.
  • For any further information or queries, please email us at:

Evaluation Criteria

The Selection Committee base their selection of participants for the programme on the following criteria:

  1. Submitted proposal for the research project:
  • Quality of the submitted research proposal and the importance of the problematic suggested for the research
  • The compatibility of the proposed research with the basic topics and general research framework of the programme
  • The ability to analyze and discuss in a proper and correct Arabic language

      2. Curriculum vitae of the applicant:

  • Educational background
  • Age (22-40 years old)
  • Good knowledge of a language other than Arabic, such as English, French, or any other language

Key dates for the current edition:

  • Call launching:  22nd of July 2019
  • Deadline for submitting applications: 10th of September 2019
  • Announcement of results: Second half of October 2019
  • First Training: To be held in Beirut during November 2019, exact dates to be determined later-on
  • Submission of the final research proposal: two weeks after the completion of the first training
  • Receival of remarks on the final research proposal from the scientific committee: One week after its submission
  • Second training: To be held in Beirut during April 2020, exact dates to be determined later-on
  • Completion of the research: from the date of receiving approval on the final proposal until the end of August 2020.

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