Report: Assessment on Craftsmanship and Syrian Cultural Heritage in Azraq CampTurquoise Mountain Trust
In the attempt to extend Turquoise Mountain’s work to Jordan and in coordination with the research about Syrian artisans in Amman and its surrounding; this assessment aims to identify potential master artisans living in Azraq camp, and to assess the population’s attitude towards cultural heritage. The research took place in three phases between April and August 2017. In the first two phases, and due to challenges to access the camp, the research took place through phone interviews with refugees. Purposive-random sampling was applied to CARE’s IBV list, and refugees who registered at CARE after an SMS was sent, were contacted and interviewed. In total, 96 phone calls were made: 44 attempts failed, and 52 phone interviews have been conducted. In the interviews, refugees were asked to elaborate on their professional backgrounds in order to identify whether their experience is of relevance to the objectives of the project. A special questionnaire was conducted with interviewees who were identified as ‘artisans’ to understand their craft: its origins, background, settings of production and how it was implemented in Syria. In total, six areas of expertise have been identified and assessed. These are: 1) Pilgrim hats and crochet; 2) Embroidery (of cochins, murals and bed sheets); 3) traditional rugs and weaving; 4) Sh’dad (camel saddle); 5) Abaya (traditional dress); and 6) Pottery. In the third phase of the research, six focus group discussions were conducted with adults, artisans, adolescents and teachers. All groups affirmed the need to protect cultural heritage and demonstrated how it represents parts of their identity that is being re-shaped and culturally reproduced and hybridized in the camp.