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This essay looks at ongoing efforts to revitalize arts and culture among the Yezidi and broader Iraqi Kurdish communities. The Yezidi are survivors of the 2014 genocide perpetrated by the Islamic State (ISIS, also known by its Arabic acronym Da’esh) which resulted in mass killing, captivity and expulsion from their ancestral homeland of Mt. Sinjar in northern Iraq. They are part of the Kurdish people, who have engaged in centuries of struggle to protect their cultural and political identity, establish autonomy and ensure their security in the broader Middle East. After a brief overview of the Yezidi genocide and its aftermath, we trace some theatrical efforts in the 20–21st century and look at two embryonic theater initiatives in Iraqi Kurdistan. The description of cultural projects at Springs of Hope Foundation (Shariya Camp) is followed by personal reflection and analysis of the aims, uses and challenges of Applied Theater. This ‘umbrella term’ refers to a process that uses a theatrical tool-kit in non-theater contexts. The aesthetic, ethical and political challenges inherent in this work are considered: the essay explores questions of ethical care and the implications and pitfalls of working with vulnerable and displaced populations, issues of representation, and creating spaces for healing and expression through participatory theater. Finally, we discuss a new initiative in Iraqi Kurdistan that seeks to address ethnic and political fissures through theater. The essay culminates with a consideration of belonging and re-imagining home.Yezidi; Kurds; Applied Theater; Springs of Hope; ME-T


Yezidi, Kurds, Applied Theater, Springs of Hope, ME-T





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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


© 2022 by the author


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This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethics and Literary Practice II: Refugees and Representation



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