Updated on August 3 2020.
The UNESCO Chair here at the University of Nicosia has consistently been involved with highlighting, preserving and emphasizing the importance of Cyprus culture and heritage.
The Cyprus National Commission for UNESCO, with the support of the UNESCO Chair, University of Nicosia and Mediazone, collaborated on a project documenting elements of intangible heritage, spanning two years that began by bringing to the forefront the important art of Lefkaritiko Embroidery Lace making, in the village of Lefkara. That was just the beginning of an incredible relationship.
In the first project, 20 Cypriot artists received the opportunity to work with the teachers of the craft, to learn and live alongside them and ultimately create their own works of art, culminating in a gallery opening and an exhibition in Strasbourg France.
Mediazone documented this process over a span of three days, creating a video, specifically designed for the exhibition in France where the artwork was to be shown. The video emphasized the significance of this handicraft as a social activity that brings people together – as well as its importance as an intrinsic cultural art form of Cyprus. Mediazone, was invited by the Cyprus National Commission for UNESCO to present the video. The Commission had extended an invitation to be part of the Inauguration Program; specifically, during the inauguration, where there was an opportunity for the video creators – our students to present their work and their contribution towards recording this important element of Cyprus intangible cultural heritage.
Students spent time discussing their involvement and their University to European Council members, officials, and a variety of onlookers taking pride in a job well done. There was also a unique opportunity to have a small space allocated in the exhibition – for the team as a basic information point – and University promotion.
Mediazone and two students, (with funding from the Youth Board of Cyprus), went to Strasburg for the exhibition “Lefkaritiko Lace: Modi and Modulation” (April and May 2017). The exhibition is part of the Cultural Program of the Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. The exhibition was inaugurated by the Cyprus Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The inauguration saw speeches from:
- Pedro Agramunt, President of the Parliamentary Assembly
- Stella Kyriakides, Chairperson of the Cyprus delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
- Ioannis Kasoulides, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus
- Dr Antigoni Polyniki, Cyprus National Commission for UNESCO
The exhibition ran from April 24-May 15 2017– showcasing the art work, the video production loop, and the University banner as well as our new UNIC guides, for the entire duration. There will be between 10000 to 15000 visitors, Council of Europe members and other dignitaries throughout this period.
The project renewed 2017/2018 entering a phase of larger commitment, and continued with the creation of micro documentaries / profiles of select elements of intangible heritage categories: Byzantine chant, lace making in Omodos / Kilani, Limassol carnival and Cypriot folk dancing, which gave a narrative and unique insight into their form / technique.
Over the two year period, many of our student assistants and volunteers that worked on the video production projects and were immersed in the experience, as they traveled to Lefkara Omodos / Kilani, Limassol and shot on location. Students worked as camera operators, production managers, technicians and even directors as they followed the teachers, artists, singers and dancers on a journey that depicted the intricacies of the individual techniques.
These select students became ambassadors of culture themselves, as they represented the essence of multiculturalism, with backgrounds from Germany, Kazakhstan, Egypt, Turkey and Cyprus. As they worked through the seasons, they celebrated similarities and discovered differences with all of the communities, taking with them a unique experience that they would share across the globe. This type of immersion is what everyone hopes for when they travel abroad. This is the intention of culture and heritage, to unite humanity in a common history that is meant to be shared, experienced, expressed and ultimately preserved. Students spent time, conversed, laughed, listened to the stories and took note of the distinctiveness of the experience with everyone involved. They travelled afar, and were immersed in a 10 000 year old culture, with only a drive outside the city.
Mediazone worked hard to coordinate, produce and edit the video segments, and in tandem created a learning environment to foster creativity, team spirit and inclusiveness. This was a unique opportunity to promote our University and support and guide our students as part of this larger collaboration and experience.
Bravo to the entire team! Staff & students! Your hard work, team spirit and professionalism are to be commended!! Truly an experience of a lifetime!
Head of Mediazone