MEDNETA Workshop Addresses Needs of Handicrafts Industry in Hebron

The Department of Architectural Engineering at Birzeit University held an August 17, 1014 workshop with the owners of ceramic, glass, mosaics, embroidery, wood and copper factories and workshops in the city of Hebron as  part of the project "Mediterranean Cultural Network to Promote Creativity in the Arts, Crafts and Design for Communities’ Regeneration in Historical Cities,”  also known as MEDNETA.

Chairman of the Birzeit University Department of Architectural Engineering and project communications officer Mohammad Abdul Hadi opened the workshop by welcoming those in attendance. Project director Shadi Ghadban presented the project’s goals, aims, where it will be implemented, and its expected outputs. Coordinator of the project in the city of Hebron Andalib Atawneh then presented the results of the  field survey conducted by the project team. Project research assistant Mohammed Abu Alrub and project media coordinator Eyad Jadallah were also present with the owners of various ceramic, glass, mosaics, embroidery, wood and copper factories and workshops in Hebron.

Atawneh  reviewed  the history of traditional crafts in the city of Hebron, and how the owners of these crafts gain their experiences: either through courses or self-learning and inheritance from generation to generation. Also, she discussed the challenges faced by the sector, most critical among them the delays in obtaining raw materials, the lack of skilled and well-trained workers, and shortages in the number of training centers in the city of Hebron.

At the end of the presentation, Atawneh reviewed marketing problems facing the sector caused by a lack of experience in marketing. She also detailed the delays created by the Israeli occupation at borders and checkpoints, and obstacles that prevent marketing. As a result, she said that 49% of products go to the internal Palestinian market, and 51% to foreign markets, of which 42% goes to Israeli markets.

After the presentation of the project’s aims, participents discussed the most important strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats facing these sectors in the city of Hebron.

At the end of the meeting, the team and the craftsmen agreed to comtinue the discussion and the results of the field survey during a SWOT seminar planned for September 7, 2014 in Hebron.

The Department of Architecture Engineering had conducted similar meeting one week earlier with the owners of pottery workshops and factories in the city of Hebron to prepare for the upcoming SWOT seminar.