Support our work

Retaining the Spirit of Place in Post-conflict Communities: Lessons from Iraq and Libya

Public talk Virtual Talk
Jun 12021 5pm

in partnership with the V&A and Create Streets

What does the future hold for Middle East’s and North Africa’s historic towns and cities? Conflict over the last 20 years, and particularly following the 2011 uprisings, these towns have suffered significant damage. At the same time, others that are undergoing large scale urban re-development are at risk of making similar errors to those made in Europe and North America in the twentieth century.

On one hand lies the danger of ongoing destruction, either by war or by decontextualised development. On the other hand, lies the risk of small proportions being preserved merely in aspic, museum pieces to be stared at but not lived in. Is another future possible? One in which historic places can act as a bridge from the past to the future, from old cultural memories to new ones? How can the regions’ historic towns and cities evolve and provide their residents with humane, connected, culturally-enriched and sustainable lives?

Join us on Tuesday 1st June at 5pm (BST) to explore possible futures for the urban heritage of these regions. Hosted by Laura Jones, Cultural Heritage Preservation Lead at the V&A, this unique event is a collaboration between the V&A’s Culture in Crisis programme, World Monuments Fund and Create Streets. Speakers include John Darlington, Executive Director at WMF Britain, Nada Elfeituri, Fellow at Create Streets and Shireen Y. Ismael, Professor at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Duhok, Iraq. Guests will also experience a special virtual walking tour of Amedi guided by Saman Fakhradin Abdulkareem, Architect at University of Duhok, Iraq.

The event is free with an RSVP.



Laura Jones is the Cultural Heritage Preservation Lead at the Victoria and Albert Museum and convenor of the museum’s Culture in Crisis Programme.

John Darlington, Executive Director, World Monuments Fund Britain is an archaeologist and author of Fake Heritage: Why We Rebuild Monuments. Prior to joining WMF Britain, John worked as Regional Director for North West England at the National Trust.

Nada Elfeituri is a Fellow at Create Streets and  Libyan architect who has worked on reconstruction and research in post-conflict contexts, notable in Benghazi’s city centre. She has worked as an urban design for Create Streets and now works for a borough council.

Shireen Y. Ismael is a professor at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Duhok. She is an expert on Amedi and, via her teaching, work and expertise, advances the protection of the vernacular heritage of northern Iraq’s historic towns.

Saman Fakhradin Abdulkareem is an architect from University of Duhok in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq with interest in the rehabilitation, conservation and development of towns and cities that have diverse ethnicities, religions and cultural backgrounds.