Irregular Journeys

Irregular Journeys is an exhibit to promote empathy for Syrian refugees and their families by tracing their journeys across borders and across cultures, from Syria to Canada.  It was organized by the students of Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management at Sir Sandford Fleming College in Peterborough to:

1) explore the history of the conflict in Syria and the factors involved in the current crisis,

2) understand the difficult process of leaving one’s country under duress and coming to Canada as a refugee,

3) become aware of the subsequent, sometimes fraught, process of integration into Canadian society with respect to the individual perspectives and cultural heritage of new Canadians.

The purpose of this website is to allow the reader to navigate supplementary data and thus, complete the interpretive experience of Irregular Journeys.


New Digital Archaeology Effort Attempts to Capture Cultural Heritage Before It’s Gone

by Jillian Steinhauer, September 4, 2015


A photo republished by the AP shows ISIS destroying a tomb at the ancient site of Palmyra.

Check out more about this story here:

New Digital Archaeology Effort Attempts to Capture Cultural Heritage Before It’s Gone

A 3D Database of Threatened Syrian Heritage Sites


Plans of the Jableh Theater

Check out this great story here, written by Claire Voon, March 21, 2016:

A 3D Database of Threatened Syrian Heritage Sites




3-D Models of Heritage Sites Printed


Leah Sandals’ article documents the work of the artist Morehshin Allahyari (find his work here), as he recreates cultural sites which have suffered damage or had been destroyed by extremists. He does this through 3-D modeling and printing. Each of the 12 models are printed in clear plastic. Though there is difficulty choosing works to recreate, being able to reproduce these structures even on a small scale has given individuals a reason to hope not everything has been lost.

Article taken from CanadianArt.


Kousa Mahshi

Kousa Mahshi or stuffed zucchini is considered a staple food in Syria and also enjoyed in neighboring countries such as Lebanon and Iraq (Image 1).

Image 1: Kousa Mahshi.  Image Credit: Special Broadcasting Service.

For this recipe, zucchinis must be hollowed out using a corer called a manakra.

Image: Manakra with zucchini examples. Credit: Paderno World Cuisine on

The manakra was one of the first things sought in Canada by the mother of the Syrian family that Kristy Hiltz and her sponsorship group supported.  This is understandable given that refugees leave behind objects which help to carry on traditions such as food preparation.  Fortunately, Kristy was able to track down a manakra and soon learned the specifics of preparing Mahshi as well as the magic of sharing a meal with new Canadians.

Try your culinary talents and cook Mahshi!  Follow a recipe offered by the Special Broadcasting Service found at:

According to Kristy, aside from seeking to prepare staple foods, the refugee family also sought to enjoy snacks sold internationally including Nutella and cream cheese.


The Oud

The Oud is a traditional string instrument of Syria and Arabic countries resembling a guitar in shape and manner of playing but with a distinctive sound.

This video features Mr. Nazih Ghadban who is a Lebanese luthier, he works to create these instruments as well as play them.

Video taken from this article from Wimp  and was originally posted by Wood Culture Tour.
Image source