Britain's Cultural Protection Fund allocates £3m to heritage protection overseas
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Britain's Cultural Protection Fund allocates £3m to heritage protection overseas

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It's important, and right, that we share our expertise and support communities around the world to help preserve art, culture and heritage of global significance

A number of heritage projects in the Middle East and Africa have been given millions in funding by Britain's Department Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the British Council.

Awarded by the Cultural Protection Fund (CPF) – which was created to safeguard heritage of international importance threatened by conflict in the Middle East and North Africa – more than £3m (US$3.9m, €3.4m) has been awarded to nine different heritage projects.

“The Life Jacket”: The Revitalisation and Development of Rural Jerusalem, Occupied Palestinian Territories

A grant of £1m (US$1.3m, €1.1m) has been awarded to the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities to restore the historic centres of Al Jib, Qalandiya, Jaba’ and Kafr ’Aqab in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Each of the four sites will be researched, surveyed, documented and excavated, with detailed drawings and analytical mapping produced. Riwaq – a centre for the preservation of architectural heritage on the West Bank of Palestine – will also undertake emergency consolidation work on a number of buildings and structures.

Community Museums of Western Sudan: Omdurman, El Obeid, Nyala, Sudan

In Western Sudan, £997,000 (US$1.29m, €1.11m) will be used to restore three community museum in Omdurman, El Obeid, and Nyala, providing for the educational and cultural needs of the region's communities, visitors and tourists.

Decades of ongoing conflict in the region have devastated communities, damaged heritage facilities and led to a loss of heritage skills.

The revitalisation of the Khalifa House in Khartoum, the Sheikan Museum in El Obeid and the Darfur Museum in Nyala, will ensure better protection of their collections and offer valuable community and educational tools. The scheme will also provide training in heritage skills.

Archaeological practice and heritage protection in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq

Led by University of Glasgow, £301,178 (US$389,600, €335,000) will be used to document and monitor site damage to the archaeological heritage of Garmian in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

In addition to this crucial work, the money will also be used to increase the capacity of local heritage professionals through skills workshops and field training, as well as engaging local communities with their cultural heritage.

Action for Hope Music Schools for Refugees, Lebanon

Musical heritage is also to be protected, with a £296,060 (US$383,000 €329,500) awarded to preserve and promote traditional Syrian music.

Led by charity Action for Hope, the population of 20,000+ Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon will be taught Syrian music and musical instrument making. The scheme will be used to educate and train talented children in traditional Syrian music, so they are able to perform at a professional level.

In Lebanon, the Institute for Heritage and Sustainable Human Development has been awarded £100,000 (US$129,000, €111,000) to to collect, archive and share the skills and traditions of the Bekkaa Valleys Bedouins – a group of nomadic peoples who have traditionally inhabited areas of the Levant, North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.

Planning the future of Amedi: building community capacity & management frameworks for the protection of the historic town, Iraq

£100,000 will also go to World Monuments Fund Britain, with the funds used to plan the future of Amedi, an ancient citadel in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

Building the capacity to protect Palestinian land and heritage through museology, Occupied Palestinian Territories

A project to document Palestinian ethnographic heritage has been allocated £94,650. Led by The Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability at Bethlehem University, this project will pay particular attention to agricultural practices along the cultural route of ‘Abraham’s path’ in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

An Ark for Iraq: Emergency response programme for the endangered watercraft heritage of Iraq

A project called Ark for Iraq has been granted £99,246. In the country's south, Iraq's traditional boats represent a craft tradition sustained since earliest recorded history in the Tigris-Euphrates river system. Constructed largely from locally harvested materials, they are shaped by the ecology of their place of origin.

In a year-long effort some of the last remaining boat builders of the region will share their skills with the younger generation and reconstruct four types of traditional boat. The money will also be used to revitalise and document the endangered watercraft heritage of traditional boats in central and southern Iraq.

Assessing the condition of the Afghan national art collection, Afghanistan

Finally, to assess the condition of the Afghan national art collection, £50,000 (US$64,000, €55,600) has been granted to the Foundation of Culture & Civil Society, which will lead efforts to carry out a preliminary needs assessments and restoration work on 150 paintings within the Afghan National Collection, which were destroyed by the Taliban.

"The Cultural Protection Fund is providing essential support to countries where internationally important heritage has been damaged or threatened by war, conflict and terrorism," said Britain's minister for arts, heritage and tourism, Michael Ellis.

“Tragically we have seen some of the world’s greatest cultural treasures destroyed in recent years. It is important, and right, that we share our expertise and support communities around the world to help preserve art, culture and heritage of global significance.”

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A number of heritage projects in the Middle East and Africa have been given millions in funding by Britain's Department Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the British Council.
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