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Theater Trainer, Artistic Program Coordinator
This concept note aims to introduce the Theatrical Museum of Oral History project, with the goal of securing the needed resources to enable:
Oral history is a research methodology concerned with studying the past, saved in living memory, through the spoken word.
Oral history focuses on transferring stories of our lives from the recent or distant past, through a narrator who witnessed the events and their time periods, in order to preserve them so that they do not wither in memory. This differs from historical research conducted by historians in that it conveys details of events that may not be mentioned in historical research; they are from the memory of those who lived through these events.
Why use theater with oral history?
Theater is a living art, and thus, can convey events in a lively, immediate manner. When we watch a play, we communicate with the event more than listening to a lecture; artistic style conveys the message more effectively to the audience. Thus, the choice of theater and artistic tools as a means to deliver spoken stories that may otherwise disappear is very effective, artistically and creatively.
Project and its goals
As mentioned above, the project will specialize in oral history, conveyed through theater and various artistic tools. The stories will be enacted through theatrical scenes, paintings, pictures and films to document them artistically in one physical space.
The work will take place in an old, traditional-style home, as such a place would have a story in itself. Various stories will be enacted in different rooms of the house, with the audience moving from one room to another to watch these stories. Each room will enact a different historical setting; the stories will be performed as such. Screens will display summaries of historical periods, with a story selected from each of these periods to perform theatrically.
All forms of fine art may be included in the project. Pictures will be displayed of various historical periods and shown in the introduction to each. Films will be shown, if available. The stories will also be embodied in paintings or sculptures by contemporary artists to link the past to the present and document oral history in a modern, artistic way.
The museum will also include a community space to hold seminars and meetings related to oral history and its relationship to art. A physical and virtual library collection of documented Palestinian oral histories will be housed in the museum.
Community groups to be targeted by the project
The initial project target is all segments of Palestinian society: men, women, and youth, with particular focus on including university students, workers in different occupations, as well as grade school students. The feasibility study will fine tune the target audience more precisely, both in terms of beneficiaries of the museum as well as participants in the performances.
Other key stakeholders of the museum include tourists and/or foreigners working in Palestine, as well as Palestinians living in Israel. The museum will create a gateway for these visitors to hear and see transmitted Palestinian stories and uncover the truth of not only the existence of a Palestinian people, but the depth and breadth of Palestinian society.
As a way to counter the forced fragmentation of the Palestinian people, the other axis that will be worked on is that of communication between Palestinians in different geographic areas, through joint visits and sharing of stories, helping to bridge the geographical and cultural distance created by the occupation through closed borders, checkpoints and the physical and mental Separation Wall.Mechanism of work
The work will entail a full feasibility study for the establishment of the theatrical museum of oral history. The study will include:
Goals of the project
Timeframe and budget
The feasibility study and full project plan is expected to take three (3) months of work, at a total budget of US $7,200. This will include research, discussions with topic experts, examining project feasibility, scoping out related efforts in Palestine, identification of stakeholders and potential resources of the project, generation of strategic, administrative and financial plans, and scoping out a location for the museum. The results of the work will be documented in a full project document, which will then be presented to potential funders and stakeholders in order to solicit support for the project.
Faten is a Palestinian actress and drama trainer from Nazareth, living in Ramallah. She holds a Bachelors in Theatre (Acting) and History of Art from Haifa University and has been active in live theater performances for over ten years.
Faten’s main focus of work in the last few years has been in the realm of bridging art and theater with live issues, such as Palestinian fragmentation and identity. She has held numerous workshops to bring together Palestinian youth from various geographic areas, with the aim of communication and exploring shared identity, based on her belief that art is a living form and a means of vital expression.
Through this work and through understanding the extent of alienation of young Palestinians from their history and culture, Faten has discovered the need for documenting and presenting Palestinian oral history as a means of preserving it, through art.
Faten is experienced in designing, organizing and conducting drama training and workshops, with a focus on working with youth and on the topic of non-violence. She is a veteran event coordinator within the cultural and artistic sector, particularly in drama training projects and theatre productions. Her career path has forged sound community organizing skills. A goal-oriented, hands-on leader with practicable, cultural, not- for-profit organization, insight and ability to manage complex, multiple functions simultaneously, Faten is energetic, positive and passionate about her work, and it is her dream to realize the theatrical museum of oral history project, which she hopes will be a valuable addition to Palestinian efforts to preserve heritage and oral history.
The following advisors have pledged to provide volunteer support to the feasibility study process: