An expedition into the past – to prepare for the future

An expedition into the past – to prepare for the future

It’s been 5 years since we founded Safina Projects and got started on the journey of building an Ark for Iraq.

In the next 5 posts, we’ll look back at the stages of that journey – and invite you to join us for the next phase.

We’re proud that in the past two years, the Ark for Iraq project has reached the point where it’s not just documenting and protecting heritage, but revitalising it.

Through founding the Heritage Boat Clubs Network – now with 3 clubs, in Babylon, Basra and Chibayish, and a fourth coming soon in Baghdad – the project is pioneering new uses of traditional boats in sports, leisure and tourism in Iraq, and boosting demand for boatbuilders’ skills.

Just as importantly, it’s bringing much-needed moments of enjoyment, beauty, and reconnection with the waterways and nature.

Now we aim to bring continuity to this revival, and to ensure that there’s local leadership taking it forward into the future.

We’re also excited that our 5 years of research and boatbuilding (actually 7 years, since Rashad started on the project before Safina Projects was founded) has yielded not only a flotilla of traditional boats, but huge amounts of knowledge.

This learning brings new perspectives and raises important questions: about the heritage of Mesopotamia, and that of civilisation and humanity more broadly – and even about the nature of knowledge and the methodology of research itself.

Now we are keen to share what we are finding out with communities who can benefit from it: young people, change makers, creators and educators, in Iraq and internationally. The next 5 posts will bring you a taster of our enquiries, discoveries and future plans.

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