Projects & Involvements
Currently I spend most of my time working as an arts and culture journalist for Ahram Online doing writing, photography and video stories following the culture scene (You can find my work in the Ahram Online Category on this blog). However, I always find myself looking for new ideas of things to do and project to get myself into. It can look random and scattered to some, but I enjoy it. I am always open for volunteering, but I don’t often say no to getting paid too
Cilantro Central is Cilantro Cafe’s Magazine that aims to give an alternative form of news that is focused on social development, political education, personal issues, cultural initiatives as well as promote artistic self-expression within the Cilantro Community. The Magazine is published every two months, and along with it we publish a monthly guide to Cairo’s cultural events including music, exhibitions, theater, film-screenings and seminars.
Since April 2011 I’ve been the editor of the magazine putting together the content that comes from volunteer contributors. The magazine is published and available in 70 Cilantro Branches in Egypt as well as in Cilantro branches in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The Cilantro in London has it’s own magazine.
CISV is a non-profit, non-governmental international organisation with the purpose of empowering active citizenship around the world. It operates in Egypt and in over 200 cities and 65 countries around the world. It has seven international peace education and non-formal education programmes operating on a local and international level as well as local youth work. The educational themes it works under are: Sustainable Development, Human Rights, Conflict & Resolution and Diversity.
I’ve been involved in CISV for 12 years now starting as participant in an international programme when I was 11 years old, then other programs. When I was 14 years old I started volunteering locally in the youth sector called “Junior Branch”. Within Junior Branch I’ve taken up different positions locally and internationally.
Previously, I have been involved locally in Junior Branch training and consulting as well as volunteering in the International People’s Project Programme. Along with four other staff members we put together the third part in a 6 year project that worked on spreading volunteerism & practicing social development through engagement and experiential learning in Farafra Oasis in Egypt’s Western Desert. You can read more about the Farafra Project here.
Most recently in 2012, I have been working on another IPP with CISV, this time in Alexandria themed ‘Spaces of Expression’. We worked alongside Gudran Association for Arts and Development to rennovate the office of Behna Films which was the leading distributor of Egyptian films between 1930s and 1950s. The space is set to become a hub for Independent cinema and visual arts. Read more on the project here.
I just started working with Medrar for Contemporary Arts, a space in Garden City dedicated to seting the stage for artists seeking to have extensive conversations and collaborations with their peers to develop their purpose as active contemporary artists thus creating a more dynamic and inspired movement.
By tapping into this existing collective intelligence, Medrar encourages cooperation, over competition, among artists, locally and internationally, as well as between institutions, critics and technologists to engage and experiment in this rich playground of media arts.
This non-profit collective, running since 2005, acheives this through: hosting festivals, workshops and events to stimulate the scene; providing a collaborative space for media artists; documenting and dissiminating audio-visual content on the contemporary art movement in Egypt.
Part of my job is writing things such as the paragraphs above, about the organisation, as well as other writing such as curatorial texts for projects and proposals for funding.
My very good friend Ali Azmy is working on starting a volunteer NGO called Nabta with the purpose of connecting civil society online and offline and having a space where we can critically think about the role development plays; by bringing development to people in stead of people to development.
I’m volunteering with him to try and get the NGO up on its feet by starting to work on small projects helping Nabta reach its goals like; making a newsletter for civil society, holding informal education activities in public spaces, selling and promoting NGO products that are made practicing fair trade and help NGOs become financially sustainable.
Contemporary Image Collective (CIC) is an independent non-profit art initiative founded in Egypt in 2004. CIC’s mission spans contemporary art and media educational programming that responds to and develops visual culture and artistic practice, engagement, and discourse. They offer photography courses and run a photoschool, workshops & exhibitions.
Between October and November 2011, I participated in the Photojournalism and Photo-documentary Course where as a group we got lectures by Kim Badawi (a photojournalist & Photo-documentary maker) along with group discussions and analysis & feedback sessions on our work.
Currently I am a participant in a workshop called “Alternative News Agency II” where with a group of photographers, visual artists, bloggers, journalists and filmmakers who are involved in documenting the revolution we are challenging each others’ visual analysis of the revolution along with creating a project (or a number of projects) together to serve the purposes of the current events in Egypt.
Alwan Wa Awtar
Alwan Wa Awtar is an NGO that operates in an Area in Mokkatam called The Residencies of the Earth Quake. This community is living in government provided housing and come from all over the city following losing their homes in the 1992 Earth Quake. The organisation has been operating there since 2005 and uses different forms of art, music and theatre for education of the children and youth of the community. They also expanded to host a library and computer center as well as a non-formal education center using games and experiential learning techniques.
Currently I’m working on this project with small groups of youth:
- Egyptian Geography, History and Anthropology: Using different informal learning and participatory approaches the youth learn through activities about an Egypt beyond their school textbooks.