About this research project
For many years, museums and cultural heritage sites across the Middle East have been destroyed, damaged or put at risk as a result of conflict. Millions of dollars of international aid are being pumped into documentation, digitisation and conservation projects but in the rush to protect and preserve these sites, the long-term impact to and implications for local communities have often been overlooked. The Nahrein Network will enable local people to reclaim this heritage as local history, and to put it to constructive use for local communities and economies. It will create partnerships between Nahrein Network participants and provide funding and support to help Middle Eastern universities, museums, archives and cultural heritage sites build their capacity to contribute to their countries' economic, cultural and social development in the years ahead.
The Nahrein Network aims to harness interdisciplinary humanities research and education to ensure that Middle Eastern communities are able to take intellectual ownership of their heritage. It will welcome humanities educators and researchers back into the international fold by offering varied options for international, interdisciplinary collaboration, training, mentoring and peer-group support. Opportunities will be provided for early career researchers and especially for women and minorities to help support those who are most at risk of being ‘left behind’ in conflict-affected areas. Funded projects will address different themes, these will be flexible over subsequent years allowing Network participants to learn from and build on prior findings, and respond to new developments in the region. Centred initially on southern Iraq and Kurdistan, Nahrein will run a Research Centre at the University of Kurdistan Hewler (Erbil) and two collaborative hubs at the University of Baghdad and Basrah Museum. In its third year it will expand into Turkey, Lebanon and--if safe--Syria and Iran. Striking a balance between providing support and expertise and allowing Network participants to take their own lead, by its conclusion the project aims to have to have shared and embedded good practice and made policy recommendations across the network's full geographical range.
Professor Eleanor Robson, University College London
Dr Anwar Anaid, University of Kurdistan Hewler
Dr Paul Collins, Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford