The space consisted of a social café, design library, a flex workspace, gallery, our office and in addition we had two guest rooms for residencies. We aproached it as a place for knowledge exchange and community building in relation to contemporary design, with a range of public activities, that empowered us to imagine alternative schooling for design. The centre was ran by Raed Hamouri and Ghadeer Dajani.
Interview by Mena Catalysts of executive director Raed Hamouri.
We invested in conditions for a learning experience that focuses on economic, political and artistic independence. How can artistic action in a suppressed reality be used to develop new knowledge? How can designers actively co-design the emancipatory and social impact of a design? What are the conditions, and potential for this in the Palestinian context?
Interview by Mena Catalysts of designer and production manager Ghadeer Dajani.
During our time at Hosh Halsa we opened our doors for external initiatives and set up several meeting ourselves. Hereby a small selection of the design related activities that we initiated.
Coffee talk on Heritage Architecture in Birzeit
31 October 2018, Hosh Jalsa, Birzeit
A coffee talk by Architects and Architecture student in Birzeit University on Heritage Architecture in Palestine; focusing on the old city of Birzeit. Residents of heritage buildings attended and shared their practical understanding of ancient houses’ design with professional and students of acrhitecture in Palestine.
Basics in architectural sketching course by Michael Jabareen
October – November 2018
Architect, designer and teacher Michael Jabareen offered a weekly course in architectural drawing that included basic drawing skills, live-drawing of buildings and a visit to the oldest olive tree in Bethlehem.
Visit of Belgian art professionals
8 October 2018
Flanders Arts Institute organised a working visits to a city, or to Amman, Ramallah, Jerusalem and Haifa, to give the opportunity for artists and art professionals working in Flanders (Belgium) to expand their network and to share knowledge with peers. Together with artist Samah Hijawi, they organised a multi-city trip to meet artists, theater makers, musicians and cultural organisations. The aim of the trip was to meet new people, reconnect, share practices, and make interesting connections for future encounters. They visited Disarming Design for a tour, lunch and engaging conversation.
Expert meeting on design education with Annelys de Vet
7 October, 2018
On the long term we want to establish a critical design program where we focus on the impact of design in an oppressed and politicised reality. Part of this would be a masters program at the Sandberg Instituut in Amsterdam. We imagine an exchange on knowledge that feeds to the economic, political and artistic independence of designers. How can a designer actively co-design the political, economic and social impact of a design?
To develop the idea’s and get a better understanding of the needs, we organized an expert meeting. Together with some excellent practitioners we brainstormed about what kind of model and what kind of curriculum would be wished; what are the needs from the local designers; what do they believe is important for such a program?
Software courses on revit and photoshop by Michael Jabareen
October – November 2018
Architect, designer and teacher Michael Jabareen offered a course of 10 days spread over 6 weeks in the software Revit and another in Photoshop. Both courses 10 students participated.
The Doodler Workshop by Michael Jabereen
27 JULY – 31 august 2019
A 30-hour collective doodling workshop, for comics’ performers, cartoonists and doodlers to work on a concept-based piece of comic art and doodling. All artists worked on a one art piece and combined their styles in one concept and story. Participants worked on exercises that reflected through drawing on Palestinian and global humanitarian issues. The collective canvas of 3 x 2. 5m presented a range of issues based on everyday life, personal experiences, contemporary interests and historical narrative.
Hosh Jalsa was located in the historic city of Birzeit at Municipality Road 24, then minutes driving from Ramallah.
About the building
This heritage building was built in 1885 (according to the milestone on the top floor), and was the residence of the Nasser-family, including the former mayor of Birzeit Tawfiq Nasser. The building was designed according to Palestinian architecture of a court yard surrounded by two floors with rooms and terraces. The building has been demolished partially during WWI and WWII, and has been renovated in the year 2010 by Riwaq Foundation, and was put to use as a public space for society enterprises.
Since March 2020 when the COVID crisis started, we haven’t been able to organise public events in our community center anymore; neither were we able to keep the kitchen and gallery open. Therefore, we were forced, with profound sadness, to close down the unique place that Hosh Jalsa was. However, the networks we had activated through the place and its spirit, persist, and collaborations will continue.
Hosh Jalsa was ran by Raed Hamouri & Ghadeer Dajani, with inspiring input by Michael Jabareen and a group of amazing volunteers consisting of Khaled Ladadweh, Salem Shoubaki, Kareem Khalid Rateb Bakri, Laith Khanfar, Nasma Khdairi, Heyam Abo Libdeh Saba Rjoub, Marah Barghouthi, Yara Atwan, Noor Totah, Fatima Nafee, Bilal Ismael, Noor Awwad, Sarah Zaben