Douzan Art and Culture is one of the few cultural institutions in Gaziantep, Turkey that encourages women, youth, & refugees to participate in their newly resettled environments. Douzan was founded in 2019 by Syrian artists that resettled in Gaziantep. They developed Douzan to reach Syrian artists in the local community and enhance social cohesion amongst Syrians & Turks. Douzan runs various artistic projects including the Syrian Oud House, RoadShow Photography, The Together Project, and Notah.
The Together project conducts workshops in film, photography, and creative writing inside Syrian opposition-controlled areas. This project is of great importance because it is one of the first where Syrians inside the country are able to engage in cultural activities. This project has received positive feedback from participants and other Syrian cities have requested Douzan to conduct these activities as well. The Director of Douzan, Rami explained, “When you start working inside a country, then you are able to put the messages of the people together, rather than guess what the needs of the people are”. It is important to note that Douzan is not politically affiliated and works in opposition areas due to accessibility, but is open to working with all people in Syria.
Further, Douzan’s Notah Project preserves Syrian musical heritage through archiving score sheets and publishing them on their website. This is significant since the musical heritage in Syria has not been properly archived. This project targets all groups with Syrian musical heritage, including Kurdish, Christian, and Syriac music scores.
Rami explained that Syrians have been dispersed throughout the world and for this reason, Syrians need to be encouraged to participate in cultural & artistic activities, while building capacities in the field. Prior to the war, Syrian artists were under the scrutiny of the government causing there to be a lack of participation in the arts. The war further suppressed artists and migration has caused artists not to be able to find adequate spaces to work. That is why Douzan’s projects are impactful and much needed. Rami shared that younger generations of Syrians do not know Syria, therefore, Douzan aims in preserving the Syrian cultural identity so a future generation will have the chance to experience Syria.