It's not always easy, as the political temperature rises, to understand the issues and inequalities underpinning crises and conflicts in the Middle East. But we believe the arts have a vital role in challenging attitudes and inspiring positive action. While the mainstream media often swings between fearmongering and fatigue when it comes to covering conflict issues, the arts open a space to address difficult problems and engage audiences directly. Art is not activism, but it can be an intervention that makes a real difference.

Pressure Cooker Arts aims to:

  • Cook up creative partnerships between artists, activists & community-based organisations to produce original projects that engage new audiences and raise international awareness

  • Provide innovative advocacy support for organisations working with communities under pressure in the Middle East

  • Organise unique events to showcase projects and promote the culture & cuisine of the communities we work with.

Art makes nothing happen in a way that makes something happen.
— Ali Smith, 'How to be Both'

Aimee Shalan


Aimee is the daughter of a Palestinian father and a British mother. She has worked in Arab-British relations for over fifteen years. She is Chief Executive of Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP). She was formerly Director of Fobzu (Friends of Birzeit University), Director of Advocacy at MAP and Head of Education at the Council for Arab British Understanding (Caabu). For seven years she was a regular contributor to the Guardian newspaper's review section and has written for a variety of media outlets. Aimee has a doctorate in the politics of Palestinian literature and has taught at City University and Queen Mary, University of London. 

william parry


William has combined several roles in relation to work focusing on Palestine, Israel and the broader Middle East. He is the author of Against the Wall: the Art of Resistance in Palestine (Pluto Press and Lawrence Hill Books) and has worked as a freelance journalist, contributing articles and photography to The New Statesman, The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, The Middle East, The Times Higher Education Supplement, The Electronic Intifada, The Ecologist, and New Left Project, amongst others. He recently worked as Media and Communications Officer at Medical Aid for Palestinians.