Protecting the Oral Epic Tradition of Al Sirah Al Hilalyya- Phase One:
Al Sirah Al Hilaliyya
(Epic) is a poetic tradition popular throughout most of the Arab world.
Narratives about this epic have been passed down orally from generation to
generation. Although it is now seldom practiced in urban centers, it continues
to be performed in rural areas.
After studying the
logistics of field operation, ESFT began collecting the different versions of
The field activities
necessitated purchasing technical equipment, training field workers, field
surveys for information on poets, documentation of various narrations, and
evaluation of the project. Narratives of the Sirah were collected and documented from the governorates of Sohag,
Assuit, Qena in Upper Egypt, Cairo and the Delta.
The Impact of the
contributions to the preservation and accessibility of the documentary
The data was collected by
three graduate students as part of their MAs (2) and PhDs (1), and the Archives
covered field expenses. Their dissertations on the topic are now accessible.
This project was
significant because it digitally collected unique versions of the epic
narrative. It preserved a traditional cultural element that is relevant to the Arab
world and was in need of safeguarding.
ESFT received two financial
awards for this documentation project:
1. The Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Award (70,000$)
2. The Sheikh Ghassan I. Shaker Award (50,000$)