Jadal: An open space for young people to pursue cultural activities

Jadal, down Al Kalha stairs (Photo handout by Jadal)
AMMAN — Jadal for Knowledge and Culture is a private non-profit organization that provides a space for cultural and intellectual activities aimed at formulating and disseminating progressive societal concepts, cultures, and values based on science, solidarity, equality, and freedom.اضافة اعلان

“Jadal is a project that creates an open space where cultural activities and knowledge sharing collide in order to elicit and propagate new societal values. The project intends to promote creativity, innovation and collaborations that benefit the community,” said Fadi Amireh, founder of Jadal, in an interview with Jordan News.

He said that Jadal also provides an environment for self-discovery, questioning, sharing of skills and experiences, critical thinking, contemplation, and artistic expression. ‘Jadal’ is a philosophical concept with logical implications and comes from the belief that everything is interrelated and evolving, according to Amireh.

Jadal, through the blue door (Photo handout by Jadal)

Following the Arab Spring and the multiple challenges that faced the Middle East and the world, Jadal rose to prominence. The youth have demonstrated a desire for debate, thought, exchange, art and creativity. The goal of this project is to encourage critical thinking and group action. It also provides a space for reflection and connection between oneself and the one’s surroundings.

Amireh left his job as a civil engineer and began his transformation to a different lifestyle. After finding an old house in down town Amman and after months of renovations, the house was transformed into Jadal’s home base and it became known as ‘Jadal for Knowledge and Culture’. It became a cultural space and a meeting place for youth and innovation.

“To free up time for social activities, I established Jadal, because we need a space for youth that encourages young people to think, to be creative, and engage in social work.” Amireh said.

In all areas of literature, art, photography, film, music, modern dance, and others, Jadal is involved with innovation and creation, particularly new and uplifting experiences. It also supports and promotes the adoption and development of ecologically beneficial, long-term social projects.

Jadal center and meeting space (Photo handout by Jadal)

Jadal also aims to address global crises. Its goal is to evaluate the corrupt culture of human civilization and the issues that come from it, as well as to contribute to a better understanding of the threats we face and any possible solutions.

In a house that dates back to 1933, Jadal is located on Al-Kalha, one of Amman's oldest staircases. It connects Amman's downtown district with Jabal Al-Weibdeh, an area brimming with ambitious cultural projects and artistic activities. 

The old house where Jadal is based was refurbished in 2012 by Amireh to provide a spacious atmosphere for events, including reading and study areas, and a space in which to hold courses, workshops, and meetings with plenty of seating for social gatherings.

“Jadal for Knowledge and Culture is based in one of Amman's historic buildings, known for its unique architecture along Al-Kalha stairs, which connect the city's busy old town center with Jabal Al-Weibdeh,” Amireh said “It is essential for visitors to down town and to Jabel Al Weibdeh.”

Since 2012, Jadal has hosted a number of lectures, exhibitions, performances, and activities. It has also served as a venue for many workshops and courses. “We host any workshops related to craftsmanship, creativity, and critical thinking. Jadal has become known to people as a space for holding events, courses, and workshops,” he said.

Amireh said that some of Jadal’s activities had become regular fixtures, such as the monthly International Dinner, but that has been suspended for now due to the pandemic.

Jadal also embraces books fairs. It provides a venue for creative interaction, skill development, and instruction in a variety of artistic disciplines, including drawing, photography, music, theatre, cookery, and others. Jadal also hosts writing workshops and helps increase the potential of connection between art and literature.

Jadal’s library has a significant collection of books from all over the world translated into Arabic, which include books on philosophy and the environment, and it attempts to promote reading through activities like book fairs.

Jadal’s library (Photo handout by Jadal) 

Jadal Gallery has a section dedicated to showcasing creative projects by artists. Workshops by exhibiting artists are held at the gallery where they expound their experiences and connect with their audiences.

The space also has a rooftop garden where Amireh grows herbs to serve the needs of his center. He also organizes courses and workshops on horticulture for young people in cooperation with Jadal friends.

Jadal implemented the ‘anti-café’ system in 2018, in which visitors can take advantage of the many spaces and services on offer, but value is placed on the time they spend there rather than what they consume during their stay. “This system is more suitable for Jadal because Jadal is not a café but a cultural space.” Amireh said.

Jadal has become a space to which a variety of diverse individuals and groups flock, students, tourists, artists, philosophers, and activists.

Amireh intended to create an interactive cultural environment and he hopes it becomes a platform for human values that allows young people to display, share, and develop their creativity as well as their cultural, aesthetic, and cognitive capacities. One of his motivations for founding Jadal was to disrupt the commercial nature of Amman's downtown area and resurrect its creative and aesthetic aspects.

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