Name of the organization or artist
Shubra’s Archive for Research and Development
El-Motanazeh no.10, Appartment no. 3, Floor no. 2, Shubra-Misr, Cairo
Missions and objectives
SARD is an abbreviation for Shubra’s Archive for Research and Development and is located at an old flat in Shubra that has been abandoned for nearly eight years.
SARD (سرد) is an Arabic noun and verb that can be translated in English into narration or to narrate. It is a word that reflects a continuous act of storytelling the gives power to marginalized and silenced interlocutors. Accordingly, SARD seeks to raise and promote the motto that “anything old is valuable and deserves to be told.” Through providing a public space for the inhabitants of the popular neighbourhoods, the nascent research centre gives a special attention to the means by which researchers can learn about/from the most mundane aspects of people’s everyday lives including, for instance, cooking, playing football, shopping, and praying.
Second, with respect to the research pillar, SARD aims at building a database of theses and dissertations submitted to public universities in Egypt. By translating and editing them, SARD will situate research projects written in Arabic within the global job market of publications, fellowships, and professorships. Third, as reflection to the development pillar, SARD will try to organize courses and workshops for those who are interested in pursuing academic careers outside of Egypt. By teaching scholars how to write proposals, how to contact universities, and how to learn languages, SARD will act as a bridge between Egyptian and non-Egyptian scholarship.
Shubra is not known for having any research centre that works on archiving and documenting the history of such a neighbourhood in particular or other ones in general. Moreover, there are not human rights organizations or cultural centres, where people can gather and discuss issues related to their daily lives, as it is the case with other Cairene areas like Zamalek, Garden City, and Heliopolis. The latter, which are usually defined as the elitist high-class areas of Cairo, are also the sites where foreign researchers, journalists, filmmakers, and academics usually reside. Hence, SARD suggests that this geographical distribution contributes to a spatial inequality regarding the venues where research and academic work can take place. Such absence in its turn influences the making of public research centres that seek to transfer knowledge production and, more importantly, consumption to popular neighbourhoods such as Shubra.
Recently, we launched a learning-teaching program titled “Archiving Neighbourhoods in Cairo.” Eighteen researchers work on collecting oral histories and archival materials connected to Cairo’s tramway lines that were recently removed from the city’s geographic fabric. The findings of the project will be soon reflected on our upcoming website. Part of the program is to carryout visits to existing archival places in Cairo and in Egypt in general from which we can learn and enhance our research tools.