The Sulaymaniyah Culture Factory Project, which was previously an old abandoned Cigarette Factory, aims to convert this landmark into an economically viable center for culture and creativity. We aim to bring together the city’s cultural and artistic communities under one roof to collaborate as well as provide a platform for individual and collective cultural productions.
Despite political upheavals and uprooting of communities due to decades of dictatorships, war and conflict, the city proved its resilience, remarkably and successfully managed to keep its diversity and peaceful coexistence. Sulaymaniyah is home to different religions, ethnic and migrant communities. Culture Factory aims to reflect and elevate cultural productions which represents this mosaic nature of Kurdish society.
The city of Sulaymaniyah established in 1874, is now home to around one million dwellers. Since its establishment, Sulaymaniyah has been a hub for different cultures, artistic and literary movements and endeavors. The Sulaymaniyah Cigarette Factory was one of the most industrious factories and had a major economic impact on the city since its establishment in 1956-1961 until its closure in 2003. A large number of the people were employed as workers and staff in this factory, fortunately, after its closure, the factory building has survived. Through the project we are endeavoring to redevelop it as a center for excellence in innovation and culture.
The Sulaymaniyah Culture Factory Project is an attempt to create a place to bring the city’s cultural initiatives together. It will be a place for cultural integration and a center for dialogue with other cities — something that is needed now more than ever to reconstruct Iraq’s society.
The project also aims to develop Sulaymaniyah’s cultural endeavors into an economically viable model. Although Sulaymaniyah has always been known for its culture. It is hoped that through the cultural center, we will bring unity, enable talent, give opportunity for creativity and empower vision and hope. We aim to create a place to strengthen the city’s cultural output and secure an income based on Sulaymaniyah’s creative abilities.
The city has had an outstanding tradition of creative and critical thinkers, poets, singers, artists, both modern and traditional.
It is through building on these traditions and talents, we propose the following:
Cultural progress/ Creativity:
The center aims to enhance the creative activities of the numerous groups in Sulaymaniyah, not just artists but all activities relating to creativity, including handicrafts, heritage, scientific, media, educational groups as well as museums.
The center will create a platform for cultural integration and dialogue, nationally and internationally.
Cultural Economics Development:
Through cultural productions and innovation, the project can be an alternative source of income for Sulaymaniyah. Developing music, film and theatre production, as well as painting, radio, design, print, publishing, handcraft, architecture, journalism, advertising and programing in Sulaymaniyah would serve to bring in new revenue to the city.
The project’s other aim is to create a network between the different cultural projects being pursued in Sulaymaniyah as well as in Iraq as a whole, opening a consultation center for developing new cultural projects locally and nationally.
Providing a platform to generate ideas and influence cultural policies:
Through provision of a platform for cultural progress, creativity and awareness, we aim to influence cultural policies in regard to Sulaymaniyah’s cultural life and productions.
The project will endeavor to be the platform where by all artistic and creative communities within Sulaymaniyah are enabled to form ideas, vision, hold dialogues, facilitate and realize ventures in relation to the city’s cultural policies.
Through this mechanism, the project will contribute to the democratization of cultural policies, creating cohesion and a sense of belonging and ownership by the city’s cultural communities.
A visionary cultural alternative:
Finally, we aim to turn Culture Factory into a space were by it inspires well established and aspiring new artists, creative people and innovators to produce work of high caliber. This can be achieved through networking regionally and internationally through connecting Sulaymaniyah to the rest of the world.