(ONE)H: Clustering, Reciprocity and Interdependency

Talks, Walks and interventions organized by Riwaq

Opening: Sunday 7 October 2018

Riwaq, Al Bireh

In colonial or post-colonial era, built and un-built environments attain special meanings and significance. In Palestine, it is not feasible to separate the built environment’s configurations from the colonial spatial practices and surveillance apparatus. Colonialism that has been shuttering Palestine for the last century left its marks on both urban and rural Palestine in terms of destruction of the productive infrastructures, weakening the rural/urban interdependency and the deskilling of peasants into paid labourers depending on the colonial markets.

In 2017, Riwaq embarked on a new stage of its work on heritage in Palestine. For the past 10 years, Riwaq has been restoring the 50 most significant villages and towns of rural Palestine, and has so far implemented preservation programs in more than 15 villages and towns. In 2017, and in attempt to accelerate restoration, maximize the benefits of local communities, and combat the colonial processes, a cluster approach was adopted towards heritage works. Instead of focusing on individual villages or towns, Riwaq proposes the clustering of several villages and towns to tackle them as one entity. While doing so, Riwaq acknowledges the significance of each village while recognising the potential interdependency of these locales on each other in the interests of all communities. This approach does not constitute surrender to the fragmentation of Palestine into small easily controlled enclaves. Rather, it is intended to ensure that no one is left isolated and no space is insignificant. It starts from the premise that all locales are equally important in any socio-economic-political-cultural project in Palestine. It also poses the question of what might happen if we dismantle borders and reconnect villages with each other and villages with towns across Palestine. In so doing, “clustering” becomes a concept, a vision, or a potential and medium for experimentation in the very contested and problematic field of space. Through series of talks, walks and interventions, Riwaq will address and try to elucidate about built environment as a medium of togetherness and a medium to think the notions of autonomy and the notions of society at large.


Sunday 7.10.2018, 11 am - 1 pm

“The Deconstruction of the concept of Solidarity”

At Riwaq

Riwaq has been advocating heritage and space as a catalyst for social change and as an indispensable actor in nation building process. During the 4th Qi encounters, Riwaq will hold a multidisciplinary invited panel (roundtable) to explore space in general and heritage in particular as medium for meaning making processes under colonial or post-colonial conditions. Right to city, collaborative design, public space, heritage, and solidarity are some key concepts to be discussed during the encounter.

The Riwaq talks will host a discussion of civil society institutions with official names that resonates with the notion of solidarity, such as Tawon (cooperation), Sharakeh (partnership), Sharik (participate), Adel (justice), Ightheh (relief), Inaash (resuscitation). The talks will ask a central question about what this name is and how it relates to its identity and the way it manifest itself in the concrete world.

Walks Program

Wandering is a body act uttering space into existence. It is also a way to capture, understand, and to reclaim space. It is nevertheless, a way to understand modes of social existence and organization. In the second week of October 2018, Riwaq will organize a series of walks and guided tours in Ramallah and the surrounding villages and towns exploring cycles of production and consumption and the emergence of new spatial and societal organization and collaboration as a way of being in, and acting, on the world.






Sunday 7.10.2018, 4.30 - 6 pm

Qalandiya Before Kalandia (Guided Tour in Qalandiya Village)

Tour Guide: Shatha Safi &  Abu Wael

Qalandiya is a Palestinian village in Jerusalem Governorate located 10 km north of Jerusalem. According to Riwaq's Register of Historic Buildings in Palestine (2006), Qalandiya got only 20 historic buildings. This tells a story of a tiny rural hamlet. However, this number does not reflect the actual number of buildings of the village since most of the historic centre fell into ruin and only elders remember some of its ‘glorious’ past. Recently and after conducting huge work of excavation and consolidation in the historic centre by Riwaq (2017-present), many historic buildings emerged from rubble and new findings tells a story of a larger historic centre with as many as 40 historic buildings varying in size and typology.

In this guided walking tour, we will explore Qalandiya village as stood before the dramatic changes of the Nakba (1948) and on the light of recent and more dramatic changes after 2002.

Meeting point: Riwaq



















Monday 8.10.2018, 9 am -12 pm 

Kalandia After Qalandiya (Guided Tour in Kalandia Refugee Camp)

Tour Guide: Khaldun Bshara &Hamza

Kalandia refugee camp is located some 10km north of Jerusalem, near the infamous checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem and next to the Separation Wall. The construction and expansion of Kalandia Checkpoint and the Wall in the early 2000s have significantly affected the camp.

Kalandia refugee camp was established in 1949. The population of the camp grew significantly from few thousands as of 1967 to 12,500 registered refugees in recent times. The inhabitants of the camp came from more than 40 depopulated villages from Jerusalem, Haifa, Lydd and Ramleh, and the Area West of Hebron. The camp is only 0.353 sq. km, which makes it a very dense space of 35,410 per sq. km. The temporary shelters have grown into a quasi-permanent urban space. Spatially and socially, the camp mirrors the villages of origin. Through our walking tour, we will see first hand how refugees utilize space as a resource and as a time machine; reminding refugees of their villages and helping them cope with the harsh reality they have endured. 

Meeting point: Riwaq






Tuesday 9.10.2018, 9 am -12 pm

Ramallah Urban Tour

Tour Guide: Khaldun Bshara

Ramallah is not easy to capture. It is a village with the size of a city. It is a city with the functions of a capital. It is a hub with the size of a transit station. In the last three decades socio-economic and politico-cultural changes affected Ramallah resulting in a cosmopolitan space that is always on the run.

In this urban tour, we explore the city’s landscape through different magnifying lens in an attempt to reclaim a space that has been, like time, passing swiftly in front of our eyes, and leaving us with vague memories and scrappy narratives.

Meeting point: Arafat Mausoleum



Wednesday 15.10.2018, 9 am -12 pm 

Al Jib  Archaeological Tour

Tour Guide: Nazmi Jubeh

Al Jib town is located 10 km north west of Jerusalem. Al jib is known for its archaeological sites and ruins. The site has been inhabited continuously over the last three millennia. As Riwaq is conducting the first phase of restoration, we will take you through al Jib ruins in attempt to narrate a new a history that has been underplayed and a geography that has been fragmented and marginalized

Meeting point: Riwaq

Tour Guides

Khaldun Bshara is a conservation architect and anthropologist. Bshara is currently the Director of Riwaq where he has worked since 1994. He received his B.Sc. in Architectural Engineering from Birzeit University (1996) and his MA in Conservation of Historic Towns and Buildings from the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium (2000). On a Fulbright Scholarship, Bshara joined the University of California Irvine where he attained his MA in Anthropology in 2009 and a PhD in 2012.

Abdulhalim Hamdiyyeh (Abu Wael) was born in Qalandiya village in 1945. Abu Wael is a peasant who plants vegetables and grains, and sell it in Qalandiya as well as in neighboring villages. Abu Wael is a great resource on the village history and has priceless information about the village’s history, family history, ownership of houses, courtyards and agricultural land.  He is also knowledgeable about Qalandiya’s everyday life and festivities.  

Shatha Safi an architect currently working as Co- Director of Riwaq and she has joined Riwaq in 2008. She received a B.Sc. in architectural engineering from Birzeit University and MA in World Heritage and Cultural Projects for Development from ITILO, Turin, Italy. She has been leading and working in different projects including the rehabilitation project of Beit Iksa, Hajjah and Birzeit, Beit Iksa and Qalandiya. She is interested in cultural landscape and community involvement.

​© 2018 Qalandiya International

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