Protecting Intangible Heritage in the Upper Tigris Valley

This project will train people in the Upper Tigris Valley to document disappearing intangible cultural heritage, as well as establishing a new research resource to boost the region’s profile in the heritage and museum sector.

Intangible heritage in the Upper Tigris region

The Upper Tigris Region is particularly notable for its diversity, representative of Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians and Yazidis among other groups. The traditional crafts, storytelling, Leyli nights (musical celebrations), Reyhani (music bands), Rahyan horse racing and communal festivals (such as Nevruz and Bilal’l) represent the cohesiveness of these groups. Memories, oral histories and other intangible heritage related to these activities are considered vitally important by the local people and diaspora communities.

Documenting and archiving the region’s intangible heritage

In this project, University students will be trained in documentation techniques to gather oral histories from 80 local people. Resulting short films will be produced and stored in a newly created archive to be held at Mardin museum. In addition, teachers from each of the four cities of Batman, Sirnak, Mardin and Siirt will be trained in cultural heritage documentation, in order to conduct heritage workshops with local school children. The resulting student’s work will be presented in an exhibition at the Mardin museum, which, as the project develops, will serve as a hub for researchers in the field of intangible cultural heritage in the region.

Project Details


Location: Upper Tigris Valley, Turkey, Europe Organiser(s): Tarih Vakfi Project partner(s): Tigris Development Agency, Mardin Museum Funder(s): British Council Cultural Protection Fund in partnership with DCMS Funding received: £99,911 Commencement Date: 09/2017 Project Status: Completed
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