Why we cultivate community

Storytelling is first and foremost about bringing people together to engage in an exchange of experiences.

Stories and art can be very effective at bringing people together and strengthen belonging and cohesion within communities. In the act of telling tales, we share our innermost concerns and yearnings, and engage in an exchange of ideas and imagination. People are by nature social beings, in need of connection. We only thrive, individually and collectively, when we work and play together. To that end, all Sharq.Org endeavours include activities that bring people together.

A research initiative exploring peaceful coexistence begins and ends with the coming together of migrants and locals, seeking to break down the barriers that create social silos through a collaborative effort to build bridges through honest encounters. A performance about womanhood is followed by discussions between actors who were telling stories and the audience members whose lives and experiences were reflected in and touched by those stories. An initiative that seeks to build the professional capacity of youths in a refugee camp supports the design and delivery of events that nurture community cohesion.

Many of our community activities bring people together around the arts – painting, sculpture, theatre, dance, film – because all art forms reflect a story and have the capacity to instigate dialogue. We have invited artists and cultural actors to dive into the stories within the oral history collections produced by Sharq.Org to produce artworks that reflect the social injustices reflected in a story or collection; and have brought diverse people together to collectively produce artworks that reflect their understanding and sense of belonging within the community.

In a bid to highlight the relationship between stories and art, Sharq.Org has partnered with a number of artists and organisations to create, produce and present creative outputs. They include the Swedish Institute, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Beit Beirut, Basmeh & Zeitooneh, Amel NGO, the Lebanese American University, Laban, Dima Matta, Pascale Jallouf, Adi Atassi, Madonna Adib, Ghenwa Abou Fayad, Dima Nachawi, mirella salame, Nadine Kaadan, Lina Abyad, and Tala Nachar.

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