The project will be implemented between January 2022 and December 2023, and is funded by the international alliance for the protection of heritage in conflict areas (ALIPH), Gulf Today reported.

The project will begin with the establishment of the conservation studio in Palestine at the Palestinian Museum in Birzeit, drawing on expertise from the V&A. In parallel, PM conservators will travel to the V&A in London for specialized textile conservation and collections management training.

The museum aspires for this studio to be the first local and regional hub of excellence to meet textile conservation needs and to provide best training to institutional and private Palestinian collectors. It will enable the PM to document and preserve the museum’s permanent collection as well as other institutional and individual collections of traditional embroidered dresses and accessories.

The PM collection items were donated by Palestinian and Arab-American women from the Committee for the Preservation of Palestinian Heritage (CPPH) in the US, as well as from a collector in France. As part of the project, the museum designed an educational and public program to raise awareness of best practices to protect Palestinian cultural heritage. It includes specialized workshops, lectures, guided tours, and discussions. Adila Laïdi-Hanieh, director general of the PM, expressed her happiness with the grant from the ALIPH Foundation and the start of the partnership with the V&A.

“This grant is an important support to the Palestinian Museum’s methodical work in preserving Palestinian heritage,” she said. “It is also timely, in light of UNESCO’s recent addition of the art of Palestinian embroidery to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.”

“We pay great attention to embroidery and its artistic, material and historical significance as a crucial component of Palestinian cultural heritage. This grant will allow us to pioneer textile preservation in Palestine,” said Kate Parsons, director of Conservation, Collections Care and Access at the V&A.

“We are delighted to be partnering with the PM to share knowledge and develop expertise in textile conservation and wider collections management practice. We look forward to welcoming their team to the V&A in London, and to support the PM in the planning and development of their facilities as part of this valuable project that will work to safeguard Palestinian cultural heritage,” she added.

Hence, many Palestinians consider this a heritage, an instrument with which to defend history and identity. Thobes display distinctive motifs, colors and styles, across the various villages of old Palestine, showing the ability to draw the culture of their region in the dresses. It is hard to find any national Palestinian event and also weddings and special occasions, without the traditional Palestinian dress. It is a folk art that the Palestinians have inherited, generation after generation, and whose wool yarns narrate the story of a city, town or village. It also depicts an identity that has undergone many changes, from 3,000 years ago, to the Canaanite era. The PM is run by a non-governmental association dedicated to supporting an open and dynamic Palestinian culture nationally and internationally.

The ALIPH is the only global fund exclusively dedicated to the protection and rehabilitation of cultural heritage in conflict zones and post-conflict situations. It was founded in March 2017 in response to the massive destruction in recent years of outstanding, often ancient, cultural heritage, particularly in the Middle East and the Sahel region. Based in Geneva, this Swiss foundation has the status of an international organization.

ALIPH finances concrete projects carried out by associations, foundations, academic, cultural and heritage institutions, and international organizations. Projects financed by ALIPH target monuments and sites, museums and their collections, documents, archives and manuscripts, and intangible heritage. Projects may be carried out prior to a conflict to limit the risk of destruction, during a conflict to ensure the security of heritage, or in post-conflict contexts to enable populations to once again enjoy their cultural heritage.

Source: Iran daily