Qisetna: Talking Syria is a non-political social and cultural initiative founded in 2013 in response to the mainstream media coverage of the conflict in Syria. Our aim is to reach out and engage Syrians and people with a connection with the country to write their experiences and stories so that they could be disseminated, and shared on an online platform with a wider audience. We aim to inform the British and international public, through first-hand testimonies, and to humanise the audience perception of the Syrian culture and the Syrian refugees and newcomers.
After four years Qisetna has also been involved in promoting the tradition of storytelling, as well as engaging people to contribute to an on-going bilingual and accessible archive of stories from those who are living inside Syria, displaced, in transit and re-settling across the UK. We are producing exhibitions, presentations and workshops on storytelling that bring communities together and generate a safe space for people to express themselves. Our focus is culture, arts, music and cuisine with the goal to preserve a cultural identity that the war has taken away. This project is coordinated by a team mostly of refugees themselves, who understand the role that culture plays in the life of the British society.