Cultural exchanges, education and schools
Bradford on Avon Friends of Palestine have a great track record of organising successful cultural exchanges, in particular involving local young people. In 2013, we hosted Hakaya, the young dancers’ troupe from the Ghirass Centre in Bethlehem, who performed the spellbinding traditional Dabka dance at the Wiltshire Music Centre, and took part in activities at St Augustine’s Catholic College in Trowbridge. We have also hosted inspirational youth workers from Tubas who shared their experiences with local schools. We aim to set up more youth projects in the near future.
We organise regular screenings. Our showings have included acclaimed documentaries The Stones Cry Out, about the plight of the Palestinian Christians, On The Side of the Road, exploring denial in Israeli society, and Flying Paper, about the children of Gaza. Many of our screenings include the presence of the film’s director, with an opportunity for questions and a discussion after the showing.
We also have our own short film Hakaya Dancing For Palestine, produced by committee member Samiha Abdeldjebar.
Music and performance
We are keen to host performers with a message of solidarity with Palestine. Past events include a concert by gospel- and protest-musician Garth Hewitt, and an invigorating set by Palestinian/American performance poet Remi Kanazi, as part of his 2016 UK tour
We organise well-attended talks and lectures, our most recent a talk by distinguished writer and analyst Laila Al Haddad about the book Gaza Unsilenced which she curated, and which records testimonies on the pain of Gaza’s Palestinians during and after Israel's 2014 attack – as well as the solidarity they received from others around the world.
Exhibitions and sales
We organise exhibitions about the region, and regularly invite Palestinians to speak to audiences and to showcase and sell their products. Visitors have included a Palestinian olive farmer with an ambassador for the Fairtrade brand Zaytoun, as well as Women in Hebron, a Palestinian embroidery cooperative. At most of our events, we have a Zaytoun stall selling top-quality olive oil, herbs, dates soaps and other wonderful traditional products.