The Iraq Cultural Health Fund, under the Healing Arts initiative, is a response to the mental health crisis in communities in Iraq with a special focus on community participation. The Fund includes programmes within two communities in Iraq: the Marsh Arabs along the Tigris/Euphrates Rivers in Southern Iraq and the Yazidi community in Northern Iraq.
The programmes have been developed and organised in coordination with local NGOs and organisations, ensuring community ownership and representation. The Healing Arts initiative was launched by CULTURUNNERS under the auspices of the World Health Organisation and as part of the United Nations 75th Anniversary Programme.
'Ark Re-imagined: the Expeditionary Pavilion' – the first-ever Iraqi national participation at the Biennale Architettura in Venice – is a project by artist Rashad Salim, commissioned by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Antiquities of Iraq, curated by Safina Projects, and produced by Community Jameel and CULTURUNNERS as piloti del padiglione.
The Yazidi Cultural Archives, which are globally accessible and available in English and Arabic, comprise four online exhibitions created by 16 Yazidi women working in collaboration with Yazda, a community-led organisation that protects and champions Yazidis and other religious and ethnic minority communities, together with Community Jameel, CULTURUNNERS, the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology and Nobody’s Listening. The archives are published by the UN on the Google’s Arts and Culture platform.
An evaluation of the impact of the archives on the psychological wellbeing of participants is being supported by New York University (NYU) Arts and Health initiative and the World Health Organisation (WHO) Arts and Health programme.