Re-connecting with cultural heritage: How participatory video enabled youth in Palestine to protect their cultural heritage

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    “I wasn't very interested in culture. I never really thought about researching my heritage, documenting it or presenting it in an exhibition. Our community never really talked about heritage. Now that has changed. Now as soon as I hear someone reference to the past, I think about interviewing them and learning more. “

    During 2017-2019, around 30 young Palestinians (18-28 years old) from 33 Bedouin and villager communities in the South Hebron Hills (SHH) Palestine, trained on oral history methodology and video recorded the life-stories of older generations in their community about the different aspects of cultural heritage. The Bedouin communities of Palestine have a rich cultural heritage, which is intertwined with that of their non-Bedouin neighbours. The creation of Israeli closed military zones, the imposition of severe restrictions on movement, and forcible evictions have threatened the connection between Palestinians and their land. The occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) was divided as a result of Oslo Accords into three areas; A, B and C. On Our Land is based in Area C, an area comprising 60% of the West Bank in which the Israeli state has control over security, infrastructure and planning, whilst the Palestinian Authority has responsibility for education and health services (B’Tselem 2014). Collecting oral history stories demonstrated the value of cultural heritage protection as an important resource to support Palestinian social and economic life.
    This chapter utilises the Palestinian concept of Sumud (resilience in Arabic ) to examine how the youth researchers gained agency and increased connection to their land by using participatory video methods. The resilience framework analyses the engagement of the youth researchers and how they developed increased levels of confidence and pride over their heritage and land. The chapter will critically assess the challenges of conducting participatory research in small communities in Palestine: how to overcome the challenges of different conflicting interests, how gender was negotiated within the space of the group and community, and what issues the youth faced on their journey of collecting stories. It will aim to respond to the question of how the youth were able to create knowledge as the experts of their communities and through this way protect their own cultural heritage.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationPost-Conflict Participatory Arts and Socially Engaged Development
    EditorsFaith Mkwananzi, F.Melis Cin
    Number of pages31
    ISBN (Print)9780367638634, 9780367638658
    Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2021

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    • cultural heritage
    • Youth
    • participatory video
    • Resistance
    • Occupied Palestinian Territory
    • Sumud

    Institute themes

    • Peace and Conflict


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