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Fabricating herstory: Using embroidery to map Bedouin tribal borders in South Sinai

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Research into Bedouin culture by predominantly male scholars has tended to rely on analysing nineteenth-century traveller accounts, Cartesian maps and documenting oral histories. Much less attention has been paid to the role of Bedouin women’s handicrafts as a form of mapping and cultural knowledge production. In this article I reflect on the impact of commissioning an embroidered map of the Sinai during a British Academy/Leverhulme funded research project on Bedouin tribal borders and consider how collaborative engagements with traditional women’s handicrafts can be used as a form of artistic research practice, historical analysis and community mapping.
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Keywords: Bedouin; Sinai; agency; community mapping; embroidery; handicraft; participatory methods; women

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000121711133Queen Mary University of London

Publication date: December 1, 2020

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  • The Journal of Arts and Communities seeks to provide a critical examination of the practices known as community or participatory arts, encompassing a field of work defined for this purpose as incorporating active creative ollaboration between artists and people in a range of communities.The journal will take a cross-artform and interdisciplinary approach,including work happening in performance, visual arts and media,writing, multimedia and collaboration involving digital technology and associated forms. In part this will create an archive that will document work which can otherwise be ephemeral
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