SYRIA CULTURAL INDEX
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Syrian culture faces multiple threats: The artistic output is overshadowed by dispersion across nations and regions as well as often harsh economic, social or psychological situations. On one hand, we experience the ongoing destruction of the tangible heritage and people while on the other hand the inevitable melting of contemporary cultural producers into their new surroundings cannot be reversed. At the same time, these traumatic times will in the future have a lasting impact on the global dynamic of cultural outpouring. Within this context, the Syria Cultural Index (SCI) is a much-needed tool.
The Syria Culture Index is a necessary response to the sudden displacement of Syrian cultural producers. An alternative map connecting the Syrian artistic community around the globe and showcasing their work to the world.
The Syria Cultural Index is an easily accessible online platform and a network for creative practitioners. It is a website that, on the one hand, functions as a gallery and a showcase of its users and, on the other hand, serves as a social network for professionals. The SCI will be extended by a mobile app that offers additional services.
The Syria Cultural Index works as a reference research and mapping tool, a knowledge sharing platform, a communication & networking instrument, an event-database, a culture indexing archive, a source of general information, a method to strengthen and support the process of intercultural understanding as well as an integration- and business accelerator.
The core focus of the SCI-project are the Syrian cultural producers. Creating a profile on the platform allows them to showcase themselves and their artistic work to the world and thus to find new work opportunities. At the same time, it allows them to find and get in contact with other Syrian artists, to share their knowledge and professional skills and to find fitting collaboration partners in order to start new projects.
The full vision incorporates the possibility of expanding the initiative in the future, starting with launching the cultural index for the MENA conflict zones, eventually creating a worldwide platform.
Cultural Identity: There is an urgent need to compensate for the current loss of the Syrian geopolitical identity by replacing it with a collective cultural identity. The SCI reflects a wide cultural diversity on all levels. It serves to reconnect the social fabric by bringing together artists who were forcefully displaced with those who remain in the country, as well as it counteracts the defragmentation of the identity as a nation and represents and preserves the cultural heritage and its shape beyond national borders. In addition to that, the SCI serves as an archive to preserve Syrian culture and makes it accessible to the world.
Artistic Networking: The SCI will be a place for other cultural institutions and artistic networks to connect and share resources and information. Their input will be extended by a regularly updated overview of other essential information provided by the SCI-network itself, to inform the Syrian artists about topics like upcoming events and activities, academic opportunities, artist residencies, legal information as well as information about job and funding offers. The index serves to create opportunities for encounters with artists, institutions and supporters from all fields on the ground to make the community and their surroundings profit from the project.
Community Building: The SCI-platform not only serves as a network that provides the necessary fundamentals to create a much-needed community of Syrian artists in exile, it also functions as a database and map that serves as a reference for research, data analysis and mapping of Syria’s cultural scene as a whole around the globe. It allows the Syrian artists as well as other institutions and individuals who are interested in the Syrian matters to filter the database based on the information needed, and therefore to design future programs according to the real needs and possibilities of the Syrian cultural community.
Integration: The SCI-project is expected to have an essential impact on the integration process, so urgently needed in many countries around the globe. Providing the opportunity to discover Syria through the perspective of art, it will provoke a necessary questioning of the image of Syria, created by the mainstream media. Experiencing Syria through its rich culture and outstanding art scene will help to shift from common stereotypes, fears or ignorance, caused by war and immigration problems, to open-mindedness and understanding towards Syrian people. The resulting interest in and interaction with Syrian people enhance integration and cultural diversity.
Diversity: The SCI understands itself as a representation of a diverse and vibrant art scene. Therefore, it has the expressed wish to represent those values internally - in the team - as well as among the members of the platform. The hired external professionals and the users of the platform as a whole will reflects a belief in the benefits of diversity through nationalities, gender, sexual orientations, religions, sects, cultures, languages. The SCI-project strongly trust that the active exchange of varying viewpoints leads to a more creative and innovative thinking.