Merchants and Miracles

Project partners

Merchants and Miracles is a collaborative project led by historian Jacob Norris and based at the University of Sussex. The team at Sussex is working with a number of project partners.

Bethlehem University

Bethlehem University logoBethlehem University is working in collaboration with the Planet Bethlehem Archive in the digitisation of their oral history collection, which spans from the late Ottoman period to contemporary events. As a first stage of this collaboration we are carrying out the digitisation of World War 1 materials, which will be ingested into the archive and made publicly available to those accessing both the Planet Bethlehem and Bethlehem University websites.

Open Bethlehem

Open BethlehemFounded by film maker and campaigner from Bethlehem Leila Sansour, Open Bethlehem is an organisation that promotes support for a free and flourishing Bethlehem. The project archive draws its initial body of digital material from a large collection of images, audio recordings and video footage compiled by Leila over 10 years of documentary film making in Bethlehem. In the longer term the archive will link to the wider Planet Bethlehem initiative that Leila is leading - an online platform that invites users to explore Bethlehem through a range of interactive and immersive media.

Centre for Cultural Heritage Preservation (CCHP)


CCHP is Bethlehem’s leading institution for preserving and restoring the city’s rich urban heritage. CCHP acts as consultants for the Merchants and Miracles project, providing research expertise as well as a physical base for the project's outreach activities in Bethlehem. It is also making available a major historical collection of devotional objects from Bethlehem belonging to CCHP researcher George al-A'ma. These objects are being used to create 3-D digital models for inclusion in the Planet Bethlehem Archive.

Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies


The Khayrallah Center fosters scholarship and public knowledge relating to the Lebanese diaspora, as well as Middle Eastern migration more broadly. It publishes the journal Mashriq&Mahjar: the Journal of Middle East Migration Studies. The Center director, Prof Akram Khater, is impact advisor to the Merchants and Miracles project, providing guidance on dissemination activities, particularly in the realm of education. The Center is also co-sponsoring an international conference organised at the University of Sussex as part of the project, scheduled for spring 2019.

Instituto de Cultura Árabe

Instituto de Cultura Arabe logo

The Instituto de Cultura Árabe works to promote Arab culture and heritage in Colombia and was founded by descendents of Bethlehem migrants.