Is the BCF only about Bethlehem?
It actually isn’t.
The initial idea was to establish in the UK an annual festival dedicated to Palestinian arts and culture, and to give British audiences the opportunity to discover the life and cultural scene of Bethlehem and Palestine in the first weekend of December, when people’s thoughts start turning to Christmas. By forcing its first edition to become virtual, the global COVID-19 pandemic allowed the Festival to reach broader audiences and to involve a much wider range of cultural figures than originally planned.
The Bethlehem Cultural Festival’s ambition is now to offer a space of cultural encounter around Palestinian and Eastern Mediterranean cultural production and heritage – an open window between the Levant and the world through which creativity and cultural exchanges can freely flow.
BCF hopes to represent artistic and cultural output from every part of the Eastern Mediterranean – from Bethlehem to Jerusalem, Gaza, Nablus, Ramallah to Beirut, Damascus, Amman and Cairo.
When, where and how does the BCF take place?
Currently, the Festival features a series of live and online events throughout the year, leading up to an intensive 4-day winter Festival in the first weekend of December. The live events (streamed via the Festival’s social media and website), that are programmed in both Palestine and the UK, will gradually be organized in other countries as well. Future editions will also include an intensive summer Festival.
What kind of events does the BCF present?
Any kind of cultural event, such as performances, exhibitions, film screenings, book readings and launches, workshops, cooking sessions, panel discussions, virtual tours, and more. The programme presents pre-existing productions as well as commissioned works, with particular interest towards collaborative and interdisciplinary ones. The festival’s work involves building long lasting bridges between cultural institutions, as well as working on delivering a better understanding of the region.
Is the BCF linked to any specific organization or institution?
No. It is an independent festival run by an independent committee of volunteers – with varied cultural and professional backgrounds – who contribute their time and expertise on a personal basis. The committee is open to programming qualitative events of any Eastern Mediterranean-related artist or institution. The festival is a non-political platform but of course allows a space for artists to express themselves freely.
How is the BCF programme decided?
The independent BCF committee works in consultation with numerous cultural advisors, all of whom share the basic inclusive values of the Festival.
How are donations to the BCF used?
All funds raised will go to the infrastructure of the festival; towards commissioning artistic pieces and to artists involved.