Traditional Crafts Workshop Supports Hebron Industry

Birzeit University’s Architectural Engineering Department held a workshop on September 7, 2014, in Hebron, with owners and operators of ceramics, pottery and glass workshops in the city. The workshop, a continuation of the project “Mediterranean Cultural Network to Promote Creativity in the Arts, Crafts and Design for Communities’ Regeneration in Historical Cities” known as MEDNETA, was also attended by Hebron Governor Kamel Hamid.

In his opening address, project communications officer and department chair Mohamed Abdel-Hadi talked about the traditional crafts sector and its role in developing the local economy and providing employment opportunities and its substantial contribution in promoting tourism, culture and economy, as well as import and export.

Hamid called for ending the marginalization of the traditional crafts sector, which is subject to extinction, asking that the results of workshop and a related field survey be distributed among all related institutions to study ways to develop the traditional crafts industry.

The project manager at the National Technical University of Athens Professor Sofia Cologne, via a recorded speech, talked about the project details, and how to develop innovative initiatives that contribute to the development of local economies, pointing to the role of Mediterranean civilizations in the development of human and sustainable civilization values.

Project manager Shadi Ghadban presented a general project summary, saying that the project is based on the convergence of friendship and scientific cooperation, within the spirit of Mediterranean harmony. Ghadban said that the main project goal is to promote cultural dialogue across borders, and cooperation among the owners of traditional crafts as a way to renew the communities in the historical cities of the Mediterranean region.

These addresses were followed by a presentation on the results of the field survey, presented by the project coordinator Andaleeb Atawneh. The results showed that measures imposed by the occupation at borders and crossings are major obstacles in the traditional crafts industry in the city of Hebron, and these limit the import of raw materials and export of goods.

Engineer Baher Edkaydik gave a presentation on creativity and innovation in traditional industries, and the innovative ways of developing the designs of traditional industries cultivating good quality and suitable prices that attract consumers and tourists.

At the end of the session, the project team agreed to pass its findings and recommendations to related local institutions that can provide support in meeting the challenges, especially in the city of Hebron, which is suffering from occupation policies of displacement that gravely affect the owners of traditional crafts workshops.