This film, M’Hamid Oasis Morocco, produced by Monika Koeck, was a finalist at the XIII Istanbul International Architecture and Urban Films Festival. The festival, organised by the Istanbul Metropolitan Branch of Chamber of Architects, aims to support films created on the theme of architecture and urbanisation. Selected out of submissions of over 1000 films from more than 90 countries, M’Hamid Oasis Morocco documents a restoration and recording project undertaken by the University of Liverpool School of Architecture and Spanish NGO Terrachidia.
M’Hamid Oasis is the most remote in the Draa Valley, Southern Morocco, and ‘features one of the best preserved example of ksour, vernacular earthen settlements surrounded by high defensive walls and reinforced by corner towers.’ The area is also host to a rich variety of intangible heritage associated with local traditional crafts, arts and building techniques.
The project, funded by The Barakat Trust and Liverpool University, aims to preserve the endangered tangible and intangible cultural heritage of M’Hamid through identifying, recording and documenting key built heritage assets and associated cultural practices. This heritage has become highly vulnerable at the hands of physical, socio-economic and cultural change. The film shines a light on the threats posed by desertification – the process by which fertile land becomes desert – on the oasis ecosystem and on the communities that depend on it for their livelihood.