The Return of the Soul
Training Program on architectural documentation
from September 16th - December 26th, 2020

An intensive practical training program for the documentation of architectural heritage sites.

Instructors: Tarek Waly, Shimaa Shaheen, Tamer Abdel Aaty, Emad Al Dawy

Topics: Heritage definition, Recording, Documentation, Architectural documentation, Photographic documentation, Geographic Information System (GIS)

  • The Return of the Soul is an intense applied training program for a team working on historic site documentation, including the most important theoretical knowledge, skills, and modern approaches required for full heritage site documentation. The program uses a framework that supports the work of the interdisciplinary and integrated team and aims to enable trainees to successfully participate in learning about and introducing Egyptian cultural heritage. The activities of the program aimed to open a dialogue on the most important concepts and terms related to heritage in general, and architectural heritage in particular, with the goal of enabling participants to form a critical view of the prevailing concept of heritage and to look at the subject with a more comprehensive view while also focusing on the specificity of our local and regional reality.

    The goal of the program was for participants to interact with the issues offered for discussion by writing a series of articles that expressed their understanding of the subject. The program also aimed to teach participants how to use an applied model to document architectural heritage. The Harraniya-based Ramses Wissa Wassef Arts Center was picked as a model for the application. The team began by creating a form to collect data and another for photographic recording, as well as a plan for documentation and exploratory registration for a part of the site. During this time, the capabilities of finding and acquiring basic information about the site, as well as the use of photographs for registration, were put to use.

  • The program's main goal is to enable positive community participation in heritage preservation efforts by raising public awareness of the importance and how to do so, providing modern and appropriate mechanisms for developing community capabilities, enhancing individual and institutional skills to achieve maximum effectiveness, and mobilizing the largest possible social commitment to the issue of preserving Egypt.

    The program aims to accomplish this based on the fact that achieving positive community participation through raising community awareness and developing individual capabilities necessitates a process of creating and building capacities, then using and managing them in the service of the goal for which they were developed through means that ensure the capacity development process's long-term sustainability, and the most important goals can be summarised in:

    • Providing and disseminating the necessary knowledge in order to enhance the understanding of heritage, its values and its development..
    • Raising public awareness of the role of effective community participation in preserving heritage..
    • Informed support the conservation, management, and monitoring of heritage sites by providing accurate information..
    • Support the processes of heritage registration, understanding, interpretation and presentation, and promote community involvement in these stages
    • Raising awareness of the positive possibilities of rehabilitation and use of heritage sites..
    • Develop trained cadres on the latest methods of preservation and documentation.
    • Coordination and integration between existing individual and institutional efforts that share common goals.
  • First: Develop essential knowledge and skills

    • Introduction to the concepts of heritage and heritage sites
    • Introduction to Documentation
    • Introduction to Architectural Documentation
    • Methodology of Architectural Heritage Documentation - An Applied Introduction
    • Models for Documenting Urban and Architectural Heritage 1
    • Models for Documenting Urban and Architectural Heritage 2
    • Introducing a heritage site - Ramses Wissa Wassef Center
    • Documentation plan for the heritage site

    Second: Develop technical recording skills

    • GIS Recording
    • Recording with Photography

    Third: Practical Training

    • On-site Photography Training - Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Center
    • Training to record using GIS at Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Center



Tarek Waly

Tarek Waly is an architect who started his professional career approximately 40 years ago. He founded the Tarek Waly Center Architecture and Heritage to create a platform in Egypt that can record his stance obtained from carrying out the profession theoretically and practically.


Shimaa Shaheen

Shimaa Shaheen is an architect & researcher who believes in the role of the architect to create genuine cultural forms that connect authenticity & contemporaneity. She also believes in the necessity of practicing architecture through authentic cultural scopes that interact with society.


Emad Al Dawy

Emad El-Dawy is an Egyptian planning and development engineer, a certified trainer at the Egyptian Syndicate of Engineers, member of the Board of Directors of the Syndicate of Engineers in Luxor, and a member of the African Bank Projects Follow-up Committee in Luxor Governorate.


Tamer Abdel Aaty

Tamer Abdel Aaty is an Egyptian artist and professional photographer who has participated in many photographic exhibitions in Egypt and abroad. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Graphics and Animation from the Faculty of Fine Arts at Helwan University.



Rehab Shafaey

Antiquities inspector at the Islamic Antiquities Sector at Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. She graduated from the Department of Islamic Archeology, Ain Shams University. Currently Master's student in Heritage Conservation and Archaeological Sites Management.


Rana Ehab

Holder of BSc in Egyptian Archeology from Cairo University. Current graduate student of Heritage Conservation & Archaeological Sites Management. Founder of Kemet Company for Tourism Training. A creator of heritage audio and visual content on social platforms.


Sara Marzouk

Graduated from the Faculty of Al-Alsun, and the Higher Institute of Cinema, and master student in Chinese cinema. Working as a Chinese language translator and screenwriter. An independent filmmaker focusing on the Egyptian identity, especially the heritage of historic Cairo.


Sara Gaara

Assistant Lecturer in the Faculty of Arts, Ain Shams University, and research assistant in the Modern Cairo Industry Project. She holds a BA and MA in Tourist Guidance from the Department of Tourist Guidance, Faculty of Arts, Ain Shams University 2019.


Marin Sorsok

She holds a BSc in Egyptian Archeology from the Faculty of Archeology, Cairo University, and is a master's student in preservation and heritage sites management. She works as an interpreter of an ancient Egyptian language in Egyptian drama. She is a volunteer in the Protection campaign to protect and clean archaeological areas.


Mohamed Al Hady

Architect, a graduate of the American University in Dubai, specializing in Building Information Modeling and Parametric Design. In addition to the experience gained as a TA in the history of architecture at the university before graduation, practicing comprehensive imaginative digital restoration of some heritage sites in addition to photography.


Nadine Sameh

Nadine graduated with a BA in Architecture and Urban Design from the German University in Cairo. She did her graduation project in Barcelona at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Escola Tècnica Superior d'Arquitectura de Barcelona


Nouran Sameh

Nouran graduated with a BA in Architecture and Urban Design from the German University in Cairo. She did her graduation project in Barcelona at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Escola Tècnica Superior d'Arquitectura de Barcelona


Nesma Ahmed

She holds a BA in Tourist Guidance from Helwan University, then a MA in Heritage Preservation and Archaeological Sites Management. She is currently working at the German Institute of Archeology in Cairo as a coordinator of heritage preservation projects, as well as a tour guide in Arabic, German and English.


Ghada Abo Leila

An architect, she holds a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Cairo University in 2016. Ghada is interested in the Egyptian architectural heritage and how to preserve and manage it. She is also currently studying for a master’s degree from the Faculty of Engineering at Cairo University.


The Heritage Record of Ramsis Wissa Wassef Art Center (in Arabic)

The Workshops Zone



The Return of the Soul

The Brief of Lectures (in Arabic)



This project was funded

The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture

The site training was hosted by

Ramsis Wissa Wassef Art Center