We are a unique partnership across six cities including universities, NGOs, artists, and independent researchers, with the aim of exploring how Syrian cultural practices and intangible heritage have been brought to Europe, their connections to Syrian material heritage, and their impact on refugees’ well-being and sense of home in the UK and Europe.
The project was initiated by Dr Alda Terracciano as part of her contribution to the Centre for Critical Heritage Studies cross-cluster research strand on Waste/Wasted Heritage during 2020. Her original proposal to the Embracing the Archive research cluster at UCL focused on ways to unpack the concept of "waste as post-war heritage ground" in relation to the refugee’s condition, echoing T. S. Eliot’s verses from the poem The Waste Land “What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow / Out of this stony rubbish?” Her collaboration with the centre co-leader Jonathan Westin at the University of Gothenburg, has helped the project to engage with partners in Sweden, Germany, Spain, and Belgium, and the current plan is to expand the network to other countries.
The aim of the SHIMoN network is to further develop interdisciplinary and intersectional collaborations for future research, heritage, and artistic activities, and to use immersive technologies and co-creation of non-official archives to empower refugee communities in the process of identifying cultural rooting and shared values in the process of re-building their lived heritage in new foreign lands. The network will achieve this by producing new research questions and models that can challenge aesthetics and heritage canons, re-imagining the future of heritage and art with refugee communities.