New AHRC project to apply creative economies through youth-led arts and craft in Jordan (CEARC)

An interdisciplinary project

Dr Gehan Selim, Associate Professor in Architecture and Urbanism in the School of Civil Engineering, will lead an interdisciplinary project to work with Dr Deema Refai from the Leeds University School of Business to establish a local hub of creative arts and cultural heritage to build capacity in technology acquisition and application to support local enterprises in Jordan.

The project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to strengthen partner country science and innovation capacity and unlock further funding to support this work. The CEARC project takes place in rural societies in the North of Jordan, and focuses on targeting the inequalities (Gender inequality) in those areas.

The CEARC project builds on Dr Selim’s previous success with the ‘Living Museum’ project in Jordan, through which she seeks to revive creative economic practices that remain under-represented in Jordan. Over the next 15 months, Dr Selim and Dr Refai will be working on this follow-up project to offer further support to marginalised local communities in the North of Jordan in order to unleash their potential in contributing to the success of their communities and national economy. This will be done through a focus on arts and crafts work that embody the focus of this project on creative economies.

The contribution of Dr Refai will support the marginalised communities in the North of Jordan in recognising the potential value of their heritage-driven works. Professional business trainings will be offered to support the development of unique brand identities that promote sustainable business practices by emerging artists. The trainings will support participants in developing better understanding of their potential contributions to local and national growth through a focus on the notions and meanings that make their work more relevant to both their makers and their users. Through the strong collaborations established by Dr Selim, the project will involve many networking opportunities to support emerging artists in setting up small enterprises, alongside opportunities to display products at various events.

The project will demonstrate the value of creative enterprises in the arts and crafts sector, whilst highlighting how this value can extend beyond economic growth and development to comprise notions around national identity, well-being, poverty alleviation and gender equality.