Landscapes of Palestine: New Perspectives since 1999
Concluding the events and activities around its exhibition, Intimate Terrains: Representations of a Disappearing Landscape, the Palestinian Museum is pleased to invite you to attend a symposium titled ‘Landscapes of Palestine: New Perspectives since 1999’ to be held on Monday 16 December at Muwatin Institute in Birzeit University, room 243 from 10:00 to 17:00.

The symposium aims to deepen the discussion around the Intimate Terrains exhibition and its central themes of Palestinian landscape, its transformations and artistic representations, and our relationship to place. It also investigates topics that expand on these themes.

About the Symposium

The symposium is grounded in the Intimate Terrains exhibition,  which explores the changing representation of landscape by Palestinian artists, and our relationship to place and location through the themes of erasure, fragmentation, distance and belonging. The exhibition features artworks on a timeline that spans nearly a century, from the 1930s to the present day. The symposium aims to deepen and conclude the discussion of the exhibition and its central themes of Palestinian landscape, its transformations and artistic representations, and our relationship to place. It also seeks to broaden the scope of the discussion and expand on these themes.

This symposium builds on a conference held in Birzeit University over 20 years ago, which featured prominent Palestinian and international researchers, including Edward Said and Ibrahim Abu-Lughod, and which, in 1999, resulted in the publishing of a book on the Palestinian landscape. It is the result of months of extensive discussions with university professors.

The symposium opens with a presentation by Omar Tesdell, assistant professor in the Department of Geography at Birzeit University, about the study of the Palestinian landscape over the last 20 years.

The event will feature Palestinian and international researchers and will be divided into two main sessions:

Session 1| The Land and the People: Physical Landscapes and Human Space

Session 2| Intimate Terrains: The Visual, the Digital and the Material; Art and Temporality

Research-based presentations will be given by Omar Tesdell, Gary Fields, Honaida Ghanim, Nisreen Mazzawi, Ahmad al-Atrash, Helga Tawil-Souri, Majd al-Shihabi, Salim al-Beik, Emile Badarin, and Yara Sharif.

The symposium is part of the Palestinian Museum’s Knowledge and Research programme, which organises a series of symposia, lectures, open discussions, film screenings and book launches as a means of knowledge communication and for the promotion of discussions and dialogue on Palestinian culture. These efforts are in line with the Museum’s vision of promoting a vibrant Palestinian cultural scene with a national and international presence, strengthening the bonds among Palestinians and those interested in Palestinian culture and history.

The Palestinian Museum is an independent institution dedicated to supporting an open and dynamic Palestinian culture nationally and internationally. The Museum presents and engages with new perspectives on Palestinian history, society and culture. It also offers spaces for creative ventures, educational programmes and innovative research.


Landscapes of Palestine: New Perspectives since 1999
Time Name Topic
9:00-9:45  Rina Alkhateeb Opening tour of the Intimate Terrains exhibition at the Palestinian Museum
10:00-10:15 Abdul Latif Abu Hijleh, PhD
President of Birzeit University
Welcome address
10:15-10:30 Adila Laïdi-Hanieh, PhD
Director General of the Palestinian Museum
Opening address
10:30-11:00 Omar Tesdell, PhD Keynote Lecture
Re-reading 'The Landscape of Palestine' through agro-ecology
The Land and the People: Physical Landscapes and Human Space
11:00-11:20 Honaida Ghanim, PhD Geographies of Power: Borders and the Dialogue of Connection and Separation in Palestine
11:20-11:40 Gary Fields, PhD No Entry!  The Palestinian Landscape in a Historical Frame
11:40-12:00 Coffee break
12:00-12:20 Nisreen Mazzawi, PhD candidate Transformations in the Urban Landscape of Palestinian towns of the Galilee; Nazareth as an Example
12:20-12:40 Majd Shihabi
Video Participation
Palestine Open Maps, and the Use of Digital Tools to Decolonise the Mandate Period Archive
12:40-13:00 Ahmad Atrash, PhD Harnessing Urbanization for Growth in Light of Land Availability and Suitability in the West Bank Territory
13:00-13:30 Panel discussion
13:30-14:00 Coffee break and snacks
Intimate Terrains: The Visual, the Digital and the Material; Art and Temporality
14:00-14:20 Emile Badarin, PhD Palestinian Politics of Visual and Aesthetic Resistance and Dissent
14:20-14:40 Salim al-Beik The Construction of Landscape from the Diaspora
14:40-15:00 Yara Sharif, PhD Landscape of Time and Immobility
15:00-15:20 Helga Tawil- Souri, PhD
Video Participation
Visual Whereabouts: Palestinian Landscape as Mediated Forms
15:20-16:00 Panel discussion
16:00-16:30 Yara Sharif
and Marah Khalifeh
Closing Remarks
16:30-17:30 Closing tour of the exhibition

Badarin is a  postdoctoral research fellow at the European Neighbourhood Policy Chair, College of Europe, Natolin Campus. He holds a PhD in Middle East Politics, and MSc in International Relations, Political Science, and Spatial Planning. He is author of Palestinian Political Discourse: Between Exile and Occupation (Routledge, 2016).

Palestinian Political Discourse (2016)
States Recognition in Foreign Policy: The Case of Sweden's Recognition of Palestine (2019)


Combining research with design, Sharif’s work runs parallel between NG Architects, London, and the Design Studio at the University of Westminster. She co-curated ‘Secrets of a Digital Garden’, currently exhibiting at the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial.
Her work on the regeneration of Beit Iksa’s historic centre in collaboration with Riwaq won the 2014 Holcim Award for Sustainable Construction for the Middle East Region. Sharif was also granted the 2013 and 2016 RIBA’s President Award for Research.

Research and Publications:
 ‘Landscape of Time and Immobility’, published in Landscape Research (2019)
Architecture of Resistance (Routledge 2017)

Professor of Communication and Urban Studies at the University of California, San Diego, Fields is author of Enclosure: Palestinian Landscapes in a Historical Mirror (University of California Press, 2017). His research focuses on the subject of landscape and conflict, while his teaching includes courses on protest and social movements, racism and landscapes of exclusion, historical and geographical methods, and the Israeli / Palestinian conflict.
Gary Fields holds a PhD in City and Regional Planning with a concentration in historical geography from the University of California, Berkeley.   

Tawil-Souri is Associate Professor in the Department of Middle East and Islamic Studies at New York University. She has researched and written on Arab media; Palestinian cinema, television, video games and popular culture; on telecommunications and internet infrastructure and development in the Palestinian Territories; as well as on cultural/territorial politics in Palestine-Israel.

Checkpoint time (2017)

Majd al-Shihabi is a Palestinian-Syrian systems design engineer focusing on the role of technology in urban systems and policy design. He is the inaugural Bassel Khartabil Free Culture Fellow and experiments with implementing tools and infrastructures that catalyse social change. He studied engineering at the University of Waterloo, in Canada, and urban planning at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon.

A Palestinian Sociologist and Anthropologist, Ghanim has published various articles and studies in the fields of political and cultural sociology, and gender studies. Her book Reinventing the Nation: Palestinian Intellectuals and Persons of Pen in Israel 1948-2000 (in Hebrew) was published by the Hebrew University in 2009. She has edited and co-edited a number of publications, and since 2009, has been the Chief Editor of MADAR’s Strategic Report.
Dr Ghanim was awarded her PhD in 2004 with distinction (Summa Cum Laude) from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Intersections Between the Holocaust and the Nakba in the Shadow of Zionism, 2018 

A Palestinian writer from Syria and based in Paris, al-Beik is editor of Romman Cultural Magazine. He has published five books, among them are Two Tickets to Safforia (Alsaqi, 2017), and Scenario (Ala’hleiya, 2018).


Mazzawi is A Palestinian writer and  PhD candidate in the field of Anthropology and Sociology at the University of Haifa.

Hawakir of Nazareth: The history and contemporary face of a cultural-ecological institution, 2018

Assistant professor in the Department of Geography at Birzeit University, Tesdell studies landscape and agroecological transformation in the Middle East and the Americas. His research has been published most recently in Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, Geoforum, and International Journal of Middle East Studies.
He recently held a postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University in New York.

El-Atrash is a Palestinian Visiting Assistant Professor in Urban Studies and Spatial Practices at Bard College at Al-Quds University. He researches issues related to sustainable development, urban environment management, strategic and urban planning. 

The Geography of Settlements: How The West Bank is Being Transformed into Cantons

Simultaneous Arabic / English translation is available.
For organisational purposes, please register here.