Architectural Engineering Wins Partnership in Hebron Arts, Crafts and Design Project

Birzeit University’s Architectural Engineering Department was awarded an international project through “MEDNETA,” which is funded by the European Union. The ENPI CBC Mediterranean Sea Basin Programme sponsoring the project is a cooperative effort taking place along the borders of the region.

The project will be kicked off in Athens, Greece on January 30, 2014 and will reconsider arts, crafts and buildings in historic cities in the Mediterranean basin and develop the urban environment in order to revive these activities. The two-year project includes seven educational and research institutions from Greece, Spain, Italy, Lebanon, and Tunisia, as well as Palestine, represented by Birzeit University. The project’s total budget is around two million Euros, of which Birzeit University’s share amounts to nearly 12%.

Project coordinator and professor of architectural engineering at Birzeit University Shadi Ghadban said that the city of Hebron has been selected as the site of the project, due to its heritage in handicrafts, mainly ceramics, pottery and the glassware. The overall objective of this project is to enhance cross-border cultural dialogue and cooperation among multiple stakeholders with the aim of supporting creativity in the arts, crafts and design in order to regenerate communities inhabiting the urban landscapes in the Mediterranean Basin.

The project’s specific objectives are: increasing the competitiveness of contemporary creative arts, crafts and designs and turning these into leading economic actors in historic cities, improving cross-border cultural dialogue among multiple stakeholders in these fields across the Mediterranean Basin, and revitalizing communities and economic activities forming the urban and social settings of historic Mediterranean cities.

"The project will include fieldwork surveys, meetings and workshops, targeting the stakeholders and institutions working in these industries and evaluating and analyzing the present situation of these arts crafts, and designs,” said Professor Ghadban. “It will accordingly develop mechanisms required for improving these industries, as ten new models of these industries will be developed for local and global marketing."

Med Forum and training workshops will transfer knowhow and new technologies from academia to the field through a lab network, cooperation agreements with local authorities, and a rotating exhibition of pilot products. The premises of the project will be located in the old city of Hebron, which will eventually become a center for traditional crafts and a museum for these industries, according to the professor.