Swansea City Opera Lebanon Heritage Project

This project aims to create a permanent record of the intangible cultural heritage of refugee groups across five camps in Lebanon, seeking to bring communities together through the re-creation of festivals, the exchange of recipes, dances and shared stories.

Swansea City Opera has been very fortunate to receive a grant from the Cultural Heritage fund of the British Council, the first Welsh company ever to do so! It is to work in Lebanon with three organisations to capture and record the intangible heritage of the occupants of two refugee camps, Shatila in Beirut and Rashedieh camp in the south of Lebanon. Our partners are SHIELD an NGO that works with refugees in the south, Dreams of a Refugee, an NGO that works with refugees in Shatila, and The American University of Beirut which will host the website and records of the heritage.

We aim to capture and share three distinct areas of heritage:

1. That of Palestinian refugees

2. That of Syrian refugees – who now make up 45% of the population of some camps

3. Heritage of the camps themselves – camps such as Shatila have been established for more than 70 years and have developed traditions of themselves (festival, music and oral history)

We will be training the refugees themselves to collate and research their own heritage and we hope that by recording memories and stories, it will help the refugees preserve a sense of cultural identity within their displaced communities. We will be looking for any intangible heritage eg. memories of music, dancing, festivals/ ceremonies, singing crafts – including embroidery and costumes, falconry and oral history.

SCO has only just started this project which runs until the end of December 2019, it is a privilege to undertake it. Here are a few photos of our first trip taken in Shatila camp. The large key in the fourth photo is a powerful symbol of hope to the refugees that one day they will be allowed to return to their homes.

Project Details


Location: Lebanon, Middle East, Asia Organiser(s): Swansea City Opera Project partner(s): Dreams of Refugee Association, American Univeristy of Beirut, Social Humanitarian Economical Intervention for Local Development Funder(s): British Council Cultural Protection Fund in partnership with DCMS Funding received: £96,700 Commencement Date: 10/2019 Project Status: Active
Project owner? Update this project



Related Projects

Picture 1

Protecting Iraqi Cultural Heritage: Deterring Antiquities Looting and Trafficking

Priceless artefacts in museums in Iraq have been protected from the threat of destruction and theft by marking them with a unique invisible code, SmartWater traceable liquid, …

Explore project
Bedouinlebanon

Cultural Corridors of Peace

This project will collect, archive and share the traditional skills and living memory of the Bedouins of Bekaa in Lebanon. The Bedouin are a group of nomadic peoples who have …

Explore project
Megatithes de lakkar

Scientific Assistance for the Valorisation of Mengez Megalithic Sites

This project aims to work on the preservation and optimisation of tourism of the megalithic dolmens of Mengez, in the Akkar region of Northern Lebanon. 

Explore project