A Community Archive of a Changing City

The objective of Shubra's Archive is to preserve the oral history of Cairo's Shubra neighbourhood before it undergoes rapid urban transformation due to the district's historical significance. By documenting these shifts and tracing the district's origins, we aim to highlight its importance and share its diverse cultural heritage with the local residents. Thanks to a fruitful collaboration with the Egypt Exploration Society, The American University in Cairo, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, a team of researchers convened in 2021 to establish the methodological and theoretical groundwork of Shubra's Archive, Egypt's pioneering neighbourhood-based community archival space. After introducing these framings, this presentation will specifically focus on the inaugural project of Shubra's Archive, which explored Cairo's vanished tramlines and their role in the modernisation of Egypt's capital.

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Cairo tram passing Our Lady of Heliopolis Co-Cathedral. Anonymous photographer, (image courtesy of We Are Railfans, Shubra's Archive).

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Cairo's trams as depicted in Egyptian films, (collage by Yasmin Tarek Ismail).

Dr Mina Ibrahim

Dr Mina Ibrahim

Founder, Sard for History and Social Research (Shubra's Archive), and Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Marburg

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