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CKU current engagements in Palestine

26.03.2015  14:37
The Culture and Development Programme Palestine aims at increasing access to art and cultural activities and connecting artists, creative talents and cultural operators.

Limited public access to art and cultural activities and isolation of cultural operators are the main challenges addressed in the Palestine Culture and Development Programme formulated in close collaboration between CKU, the Danish Representative Office in Ramallah (DRO) and the Danish House in Palestine (DHIP).

Severe geographical fragmentation is isolating areas as the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and the Northern West Bank. The lack of mobility and accessibility causes discernible barriers affecting exposure to cultural activities.

Opportunities for independent arts organisations for training, exchange and productions are very limited outside the cultural hub of Ramallah. At the same time, structural barriers weaken the sustainability of arts and culture organisations.

The strategic approach to these challenges is to support the arts organisations and collectives in developing new models and sustainable initiatives that combine arts development with stronger outreach into the public sphere. A particular focus is set on establishing private-public partnerships and other development initiatives – education, tourism – that can strengthen the impact and economic viability of the initiatives.

In a close partnership between local partners, CKU, the Danish Representative Office in Ramallah (DRO) and the Danish House in Palestine (DHIP), the programme supports the following:

Improving access to culture: The programme contributes to strengthening active involvement in arts and cultural activities for disadvantaged groups in remote areas, in areas C and East Jerusalem in particular, as some of the most severe violations of human rights take places in these areas. The programme further addresses the geographical and social fragmentation in the Palestinian society through a focus on less privileged geographical areas and marginalized population groups.

Promoting art and culture in public space: Support to arts organisations and collectives in developing new models and sustainable initiatives will combine arts development with stronger outreach into the public sphere to generate debate and reflection on contemporary issues. Promoting access to diverse cultural expressions and its value for the development of contemporary culture is a key focus area in the programme.

Creating platforms for arts productions, training and exchanges: To widen the access to art and cultural activities, platforms where youth are free to express themselves will be supported. Strengthening of the quality and sustainability of arts and cultural activities carried out by local cultural operators is also supported through the programme.

Strengthening arts organisations’ sustainability: Enhancing opportunities for learning, inspiration and development of art productions for upcoming arts collectives and companies is a focus area in the programme. Establishment of partnerships with private and governmental structures are encouraged to strengthen the impact and economic viability of the initiatives.

Enhancing job-opportunities for youth: Strengthening technical skills among disadvantaged youth with a focus on creative and non-violent expressions can lead to enhanced opportunities for income generation. Targeted training for young professionals link culture with other sectors such as media, and building up technical skills in relevant fields such as documentary film and photography. It is also addressed by shifting the focus from supporting concrete arts productions to facilitating the establishment of more permanent structures or platforms for such productions.

The target groups for Danish support to culture and development in Palestine are artists, cultural organisations as well as communities.

The geographical focus areas for programme activities outside Ramallah are Gaza, the Northern West Bank (Nablus, Jenin, Qalquilia), and East Jerusalem.

Partners in Palestine

Yafa Cultural Centre is a key player for providing services and activities to a wide range of the population in particular children and women within Balata refugee camp.  These include children’s drama, media centre, library and psychosocial unit.
Ya’bad Cultural Centre focuses on providing cultural activities to Ya’bad’s community, surrounding villages and Bedouin community. 

Assirk Assaghir/Nablus Circus School aims to offer safe places to learn, play and foster creativity through freedom of expression not only to children able to attend the Nablus Circus School, but also to those living in remote areas.

Cultural Forum Society is an NGO formed in 2003 with the mission to promote Palestinian culture and education, focusing on youth through arts and cultural activities. CFS plays an important role as the sole provider of space and activities in the district of Qalqilia.

Oushaq for Dance is specialized in folkloric arts, dance, and drama. Oushaq aims to promote culture and arts as distant from political affiliations, and supporting a generation of Jerusalemites who believe in their Palestinian identity through arts and culture without discrimination based on gender or religion.

Madaa Silwan, based in Silwan aims to empower the community and build community networks by providing and subsidizing recreational, educational and social activities and courses and to promote dialogue and exchange of ideas by organizing events and activities which inform and educate.

The Open Studio is an artist run initiative working in collaboration with local community centres and UNRWA schools. It aims to expose children to the different mediums in art, to develop their competence in various forms of art, and to provide a safe space to explore and express ideas and to develop individual creativity through long-term programmes.

Film Lab Palestine is a Ramallah-based initiative providing production space for filmmakers and audiences to create and experience Palestinian film, in an effort to enhance its uniqueness by offering space, networks, knowledge and providing equipment enabling filmmakers to complete, produce and distribute their personal projects.

Al Hoash Art Court is a non-profit organisation based in East Jerusalem, in Zahra Street, which historically was a cultural hub of Jerusalem in the first half of the 20th century, but which has suffered significantly under occupation laws of the city. Al Hoash mission is to provide and sustain a knowledge-based platform for Palestinians to express, strengthen and realize national identity through visual culture.

A.M Qattan Foundation has several major programmes in the spheres of arts and culture, which include its centre for Educational Research and Development, The Qattan Centre for the Child in Gaza and the Culture and Arts Programme. The Foundation believes in the individual's rights to freedom of thought and creed, as well as to free expression. It provides opportunities for Palestinian creative practitioners to participate on the international arena and advocates the support of excellence in all in the culture sphere by young practitioners.

About Centre for Culture and Development - CKU

CKU is a self-governing institution under the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In close cooperation with Danish embassies and representations, CKU manages culture and development programmes implemented by local partners in The Middle East, Asia, West Africa, and East Africa. CKU is responsible for the implementation of the Danish strategy for culture and development ‘The Right to Art and Culture’ from 2013.

For more information, please contact:

Programme Manager
Muna Bur
+45 33 17 97 15

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