Christopher Rose CC BY-NC 2.0
Christopher Rose Creative Commons License

The Hilali Network merges current reform in Egyptian higher education as a vehicle for local community-led digital preservation and protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH).


The Al-Sirah Al-Hilaliya (the ‘Hilali’) is an example of a major living oral epic, protected in Egypt as part of its adoption of the Convention of the Safeguarding of The Intangible Cultural Heritage (UNESCO). We merge shared interests in the growth and promotion of cultural heritage engagement and computing education. Through two key phases, we are creating a sustainable network of higher education students and teachers, local communities and cultural heritage organisations across borders to develop multidisciplinary understandings and applications technology design for intangible cultural heritage.

Intangible Cultural Heritage:

constituted by the local cultural expressions created, maintained and transmitted and constantly re-evolved by communities (Federico Lenzerini, 2011)

Phase 1 of the project focuses on building common ground facilitated by developing student learning about the design of  easy-to-use, freely available tools for digital media ICH content creation and curation  

Phase 2 focuses on building capacity through the development of an intangible cultural heritage living curriculum, a powerful opportunity for reimagining civic education by engaging students with communities on issues of public concern and to increase student employability and international mobility.

Living Curriculum:

repositions “learning as a continuous conversation within a dynamic curriculum that is integrated with, and takes advice from, the world our students live in” (Steven Marshall and Wilson Scott, 2012)

Christopher Rose Creative Commons License

There is a natural link between cultural heritage and education, rooted in the common belief that cultural knowledge is passed down from one generation to another. Our work extends this link to include intangible cultural heritage and Human Computer Interaction education in Egypt, as areas which share a vested interest in the appropriation, adaptation and promotion of local cultural knowledge.


The curriculum aims at engaging computing science students in learning about Human Computer Interaction (HCI) methods through their applications in working with local Egyptian Bedouin community located in Borg El-Arab City to  preserve intangible cultural heritage.  It primarily focuses on participatory design approaches that support the community to self-document and publish their cultural heritage. The curriculum resources, in the form of a toolkit, will be available open-source for other  educators  in cultural heritage and computing science (nationally and internationally) to adapt and reuse.
We are actively seeking contributions to the development of the curriculum from researchers, teachers and anyone else with an interest in cultural heritage and or computing science education. Contact us to find out more or tweet via @hilali_network.