Culture, heritage, tradition and custom play an extremely important role in building social cohesion and stability. Malign actors routinely weaponize culture and distort it to inflame tensions and divides, particularly along ethnic and/or religious grounds. Cultural heritage properly understood and applied can be a tool for recovery and renewal - serving as a uniquely powerful unifier in fragile, divided communities, and a tool for economic growth and decent livelihoods during recovery phases.


For societies recovering from conflict or extremism IN2’s culture heritage team works on protecting, conserving, promoting and transmitting culture, heritage and history for dialogue and sustainable economic recovery and development, including:

•Building intercultural community dialogue - Emphasizing culture as acritical bridge-builder and stabilizer among communities experiencing conflict to provide non-threatening activities and spaces for people to come back together across divides and generate organic conversation and support networks.


  • •Culture for sustainable development - Increasing and reinforcing community agency and extending it into entrepreneurial ventures within the tourism, cultural production and creative industries.


  • •Psycho-social support - Using cultural expressions, including traditional fables, storytelling, songs and folklore to help at-risk communities cope with dislocation and conflict-affected environments – fostering and promoting social cohesion, empathy, peaceful co-existence and cooperation.


  • •De-radicalisation and de-programming – Employing culturally relevant practices such as interactive theatre, and other authentic forms of education and entertainment to counter extremist messages and ideologies and rebuild shattered identities.


  • •Protection of cultural heritage from illicit trafficking – IN2 provides robust online interventions to identify, monitor, disrupt and counter the illicit trade and smuggling of antiquities. We also perform specific sensitive interventions to build resilience of affected communities.

How we do this

IN2 differentiates itself from the competition through our:

  • •Cultural Heritage Team. IN2’s cultural, archaeology and technology experts delivered cultural heritage protection projects in conflict-affected and hard-to-reach areas for six years.

  • •Innovation and Technology. We create innovative programming in areas at high risk of looting, including utilising cutting-edge technology (VR, 3D printing, photogrammetry) to raise awareness of local cultural heritage and engage youth.

  • •Linguistic and Cultural Expertise. IN2 has a strong track record of multi-language project delivery and reporting in Arabic (Modern Standard and all Syrian, Iraqi and Yemeni dialects), Kurdish, English, Turkish, Farsi, Dari and Pashto.

  • •Community-based Solutions. We strongly support community-led, authentic solutions in building resilience, understanding, and peace. 

  • •Advanced Communications - IN2 provides holistic, behaviour and social change communications and on-the-ground initiatives, addressing the underlying socio-economic drivers of illicit behaviours and vulnerabilities within affected communities. Unique community partnerships – IN2 identifies pre-existing pockets of cultural micro-enterprises and initiatives that we support and professionalise. We leverage our approach to building partner networks to amplify content into even the most isolated, stigmatised areas.

  • •World-class international partnerships – IN2 works with globally renowned private and public sector companies, cultural influencers and cultural academic institutions. We provide unique technical support and creativity to support communities find sustainable solutions to some of their most challenging problems. We also help ensure projects have

  • financial sustainability that goes beyond public funding cycles.


Past performance: 

Interactive Theatre and Traditional Puppet Shows. IN2 used interactive theatre through our highly successful Hakawati Al-Furat troupe, which operated in north-east Syria and disseminated pro-social and highly engaging messaging. The Hakawati is a traditional form of Levantine storytelling, modified by IN2 by making women an integral part of the troupe. IN2 used the Hakawati troupe in Syria to build personal resilience and address challenging topics such as child marriage, violence and exploitation.


Creating a women’s cultural bazaar in Mosul. IN2 provides women with safe spaces to build their creativity and traditional skills and artisanship. We support them in developing micro-enterprises and in 2020 created an economic platform for these enterprises in the Old Market Mosul. This was the first time women traders were allowed in the market and the women-owned stalls attracted many women shoppers who lingered over cultural goods, asking to be included in the initiative.


Leveraging cultural heritage as a tool for mental health support during conflict.  IN2 used folklore, fables and social histories to develop 15 inclusive and conflict sensitive radio plays for families during religious holidays, addressing displacement and seclusion of minority groups and safeguarding local intangible heritage. The project sought to reinforce cultural heritage protection for building social cohesion and developing tools for psycho-social trauma and mental health support.


Mosul Youth Orchestra. In October 2020 IN2, launched an initiative to establish the Ninevah Youth Orchestra, known as the Al-Watar Orchestra.  An open call was held through media channels in Ninevah and over 130 applications were received, this was then whittled down to a shortlist of 73 for interview.  Out of the interviews 35 candidates (18 of whom were women) were picked. As well as musical ability candidates were chosen based on a number of criteria including willingness to learn, teamwork and backstory. The orchestra has a mix of religions, socio-economic backgrounds and also a blend of urban and rural residents ensuring it is truly representative of Ninewa.


During the Pope’s visit a video of the orchestra performing in the Church of the Immaculate Conception (Al-Tahira-l-Kubra) was released.  The video proved a viral hit and was shown on a number of international news sites, including Al Jazeera.


Using Virtual Reality to Bring Back Destroyed Cultural Heritage.

IN2 helped design and deliver the city’s first virtual reality experience. RecoVR allowed audiences to experience Mosul’s Museum before the Daesh occupation, depicting the original locations of destroyed and damaged artefacts. Google Arts and Culture also developed an online version of the exhibition on their Iraq-dedicated website.


‘Return to Mosul’ Art Exhibition. IN2’s local media network in Mosul and the Mosul Artists’ Committee hosted the first event in the city’s museum after the city’s liberation from Daesh. The week-long exhibit, ‘Return to Mosul’ brought together artists from throughout Iraq and Mosul to tell the story of the occupation and recovery, providing a vision of a brighter, more tolerant future in Mosul

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