News and Events

#Unite4Heritage: Talking SyriaFor Syrians overseas, simple things like staying in touch with home can be extremely difficult. These young Syrians in London are writing stories and articles online to allow people from Syria to keep up-to-date, and others to learn about the amazing and unique culture of the country. An inspiring example of how everyone can come together to #Unite4Heritage – learn how you can contribute at

You can visit Talking Syria here:
Filmed at Leighton House Museum, London.

Posted by UNESCO on Monday, 7 March 2016

It’s been a rollercoaster year for our project, which began more than two years ago. We’ve published stories on every subject from refugees’ desperate journeys across Europe, to cycling in Damascus.

Meanwhile, as the Syrian conflict continues, the need to remind the world Syrians are ordinary human beings too has never been greater.

None of what we’ve achieved this year could have been possible without the hard work of our Arabic editor, Samer, our volunteer translators and the Syrians who trust us with their stories.

In 2016, recordings of Qisetna stories were featured in Juan delGado’s multimedia installation Altered Landscapes at the Watermans Art Centre in London.

During Refugee Week, Dima Mekdad presented the blog at an event organised by Euro-Mernet in Brighton.

We are also in talks about several other projects this year. You can read about previous projects below.


From Syria to Scottish islands: Our projects

Bassam and Dima at the Scottish International Storytelling Festival

Bassam and Dima at the Scottish International Storytelling Festival

While the blog continues to drive Qisetna, we have used it as a springboard for a number of different projects.

In late 2014, working with the respected Syrian actor and storyteller Bassam Dawood, and the Jafra Foundation, we held creative writing workshops in Syria. These were organised via Skype with teenagers in Jaramana, southern Syria. While organising such a workshop was undoubtedly challenging, we hope it forms the pilot for future projects.

In October, again with Bassam, we took Qisetna stories to the Scottish International Storytelling Festival. Taking on the mantle of the traditional hakawati, or storyteller, Bassam and Dima shared both old and contemporary Syrian stories with a Scottish audience.

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As part of our trip, we visited the Isle of Bute. Sharing Qisetna stories took on a new meaning once we learnt that in just a few week’s time, our audience would be welcoming Syrian families under the resettlement programme. Our co-founder, Dima Mekdad, made such an impassioned speech to Bute residents that she made front page of the local newspaper.

In November, co-founder Juan delGado presented our project Qisetna at Diasporas, an art project seeking to represent and reconstruct migrational and diasporic stories of Thessaloniki, Greece. It was also an attempt to capture the diversity of contemporary social realities.

We were also lucky enough to receive a grant in late autumn from the Arab British Centre.

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Juan presenting Qisetna at Diasporas, Thessaloniki

5 Responses to “News and Events”

  • I would love to hear more about the project thanks


  • Jackie Carothers

    A group of storytellers in Edinburgh are putting on a storytelling event on April 2nd and would love to be able to show some of the wonderful blogs from your website. Would you grant us permission to do so. I can send you information about our group and the event

  • Jackie Carothers

    I’d like to thank Julia Rampen, editor of the Qisetna blog page, for agreeing to my telling an adaptation of one of the stories, “A glass of Apricot”, at a storytelling event on sunday April 2nd (yes, this coming sunday!) in Edinburgh, to raise money for the work of Medecins sans Frontieres in Syria. We are holding this event at the Augustine United Church on George 1V Bridge in Edinburgh and we have a fantastic line up of well-known storytellers singers and musicians. There’s still time for folk to come along, tickets will be on sale at the door (£10). We will send Qisetna photos of the performances to say thank you for your support ! Jackie Carothers

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