We are extremely grateful for the support of The Clark Charitable Trust, which is enabling us to begin work on the first phase of a new project, 'APACE' - Access for Palestinians: Arts, culture and education.
Arts, culture and education have a special role to play in strengthening resilience and opening a space to address problems creatively. Yet, Palestinian arts projects and educational exchanges are being scuppered because getting materials, people and artwork across borders is being blocked.
In addition to the economic barriers and other constraints imposed by Israel’s military occupation on Palestinian art, culture and education, there is concern about professionals working in these fields being detained or refused entry into to occupied Palestine. The problem is particularly acute in Gaza, where international entry is strictly limited under Israel’s blockade to journalists or humanitarian workers delivering aid.
In recent years, an increasing number of reports have also emerged regarding Palestinian artists, academics, speakers and students being denied visas to come to the UK to participate in projects, exhibitions, talks and conferences.
Until now, organisations and individuals have been dealing with these access issues in isolation. But this approach is not working.
In the coming months, Pressure Cooker Arts will establish a UK action group to provide a platform for people working on Palestinian arts, culture and education projects to share their experiences, to assess the scale of the problem and to produce a report documenting delays or denials of entry of Palestinians and UK citizens by the Israeli and UK authorities.
If you or your organisation are working are working on arts, culture or education projects with Palestinians and have experienced access problems please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.