The Nahrein Network


Visitor Engagement at the Baghdadi Cultural Centre

Team: Talib Issa, Dr. Maitham Al-Harbi, Amal Ibrahim, Hawraa Issam, Ziad Isam, Utour Abdulmutalib

Duration: 15 months from 1 May 2024

Picture of BCC team in Baghdad

Baghdad’s cultural heritage (BCC) is unique in Iraq. Its millennia-old cultural heritage, especially since the 1990s, has, however, faced extreme neglect and the consequences of conflict. A growing, mostly youth-based interest in Baghdad’s heritage, evidenced by growing local tourism, has shown a real promise of growing community and societal interest in the history of the city. 

The BCC, currently only open on Fridays, likewise has become a popular destination, regularly attracting thousands of visitors to its museums, libraries, children’s centre, café and other facilities, and to its events. Annually it holds hundreds of events and the average number of visitors every Friday is c.3,000. The BCC is the largest cultural centre in Iraq, with a huge diversity of events and amenities. It is evident that greater opening hours would easily be viable but, like much of old Baghdad, the historic building in which it is located needs conservation, and all of its attractions and facilities need upgrading, its displays improved and modernised, and its reach broadened. 

The project, instigated and led by the BCC under the directorship of Mr Talib Issa, will focus on the visitor engagement with the three elements of the BCC: visitor engagement, its private libraries, specifically highlighting three examples, and its two community heritage museums. The focus of this research is to better understand visitor engagement in the centre, a first step in not only increasing the centre’s own capacity for visitors but also to offer support to and engagement with other nearby cultural institutions.