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The Rohingya Cultural Memory Centre (RCMC) is a community space and interactive gallery, digital archive, website, and international touring exhibition. It tells the story of the Rohingya people through a comprehensive collection of cultural artefacts and artworks researched and produced by Rohingya refugee artists, artisans and cultural practitioners living in the camps and informal settlements of Cox`s Bazar, Bangladesh. By showcasing the depth, beauty and uniqueness of Rohingya experiences, our mission is to empower the Rohingya community, promote their healing, ensure the continuity of their cultural heritage for future generations, and create a powerful tool for self-advocacy.
The RCMC collection is currently accessible to the public through the website and online gallery. The centre is being developed and will launch as an integrated multi-service complex in Camp 18, fully managed by the refugee community. The complex will include exhibition spaces, artist workshop, office, outdoor auditorium and play area, as well as dedicated spaces for women and children. 
A project of the International Organization of Migration (IOM), a UN agency offering life-saving services to nearly one million Rohingya refugees in the Cox`s Bazar camps, the RCMC delivers mental health and psychosocial support and healing through art therapy, protection and livelihood activities led by IOM creative practitioners and mental health officers. By providing this displaced community with the tools and platform to tell their own story in their own voices, the RCMC addresses the ´identity crisis` named by three-quarters of the refugees as a key factor in their loss of wellbeing.
The RCMC is the first-ever attempt to comprehensively document and preserve the heritage of the Rohingya. The collection is a pointillist portrait of a culture reflecting on its past, present and uncertain future, exploring the tensions between tradition and innovation, imagination and memory, displacement and belonging. It combines objects of tangible and intangible heritage, ranging from traditional architectural models to embroidery, pottery, basketry, woodwork, visual arts, music, storytelling, poetry, and much more.
The Rohingya Cultural Memory Centre is a multidisciplinary project following a research-to-production methodology. Our approach combines extensive field research conducted by a team of camp-based Rohingya cultural agents working with IOM staff, with arts and crafts production, oral history, archival documentation, and audiovisual storytelling. Our research methods include exploratory excursions, focus group discussions, community workshops, and interviews with key informants. These efforts have resulted in an exhaustive cultural heritage map, driving the production of an exhaustive, ever-expanding collection of items. For our production stream, the RCMC identifies skilled Rohingya artisans and cultural practitioners - from engineers to embroidery artists to poets to potters and more - and equips them with tools and resources to produce objects of Rohingya heritage, identity, memory, and imagination, which comprise the RCMC collection. 
Research efforts have centered on identifying a lexicon of traditional culture which defines the Rohingya past. However, cultures do not stand still for their portraits: Rohingya people in displacement are continually adapting their practices to their current living situation. Thus, RCMC artists-in-residence have sought to capture the spirit of a culture in flux by making available new technical skills and materials, and exposing Rohingya artisans and artists to global ideas. The resulting collection ranges from the songs of ancient Rohingya troubadours to contemporary poetry written by Rohingya youth; simple farming and fishing tools to a fantastical menagerie of toy animals woven from cane and bamboo; needlework tapestries juxtaposing scenes from contemporary camp life with memories from life in Myanmar to models of traditional Rohingya houses, and much much more...
This approach both conserves tradition and opens new outlets for imaginative expression by the creative and curious Rohingya men, women and children engaged by the RCMC.
The Rohingya Cultural Memory Centre creates a space for the Rohingya people to self-define their identity by bringing together Rohingya knowledge, resources (including oral traditions, collective and individual memories, indigenous practices, etc.), and people (including knowledge practitioners and artists) into one collaborative space. The Rohingya "walk-through" experience, an interactive exhibit spanning different areas of Rohingya life, is a key outcome of the project.

The RCMC ensures the continuity of Rohingya heritage for future generations by collecting, documenting and (re)producing Rohingya cultural practices and artefacts. Collection items serve as prototypes for the production of a wide range of items that might otherwise be lost. RCMC productions such as the Visual Dictionary of Rohingya Culture, the animation series Our Rohingya Adventures, recordings of Rohingya music, posters, books, etc., also serve as learning tools and discussion prompts. Moreover, by establishing a Rohingya cultural archive, the RCMC fosters pride in the Rohingya past.

All artisans and researchers involved in RCMC activities receive proper remuneration and acknowledgment for their work. Additionally, the RCMC's conservation-to-innovation production pathway allows them to explore new processes and materials, innovating their crafts and creating future livelihood possibilities. For our work in camp, the RCMC identifies key individuals to lead arts and crafts workshops and participate in knowledge-sharing activities. A dedicated Rohingya team is being trained to operate and manage the RCMC and its educational programs. In addition, an artist-in-residence program has been established to provide Rohingya artists and artisans with access to short-term specific skill workshops led by key local, national and international artists. 

The RCMC website, digital archive, publications and exhibitions offer a platform for the Rohingya people to tell their stories in their own voices and share them with global audiences. By expressing the beauty and complexity of the Rohingya heritage and spotlighting Rohingya artists, the RCMC challenges existing perceptions of the Rohingya and asks the world to consider the Rohingya people in the fullness of their being.
The Rohingya Cultural Memory Centre (RCMC) has been a labor of love. It focuses on art and culture as an integral part of creating sustainable futures for Rohingya refugees and ensure their psychosocial well-being through cultural preservation making it unique within the world of emergency response. We are grateful to all the organizations and individuals who believed in this unusual endeavor and helped give it life.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) -Bangladesh conceived and championed this unique project through many challenges. The bold vision set by the RCMC project manager and curator drove the project team to imagine a future in which the Rohingya would be known for their art and creativity, not just their marginalization. By successfully realizing this vision, we hope to spark a radical change in the world's attitude toward the Rohingya people.
IOM's technical teams' coordination in Manila, Geneva, and Cox's Bazar has made the launch of the digital collection and website possible. IOM's Migration Health Division (MHD), through Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) which the project is anchored, Site Management and Site Development (SMSD), Shelter and Non-Food Items (SNFI), Communication with Communities (CwC) and Protection teams offered valuable support and collaboration.
We appreciate and remember the contributions of Manuel Marques Pereira- Head of Migration, Environment, and Climate Change Division-IOM Geneva, the former Deputy Chief of Mission (DCOM) in Cox's Bazar office who doubled up as Special Advisor to the centre with his unwavering support, guidance, and leadership during the conceptualization and development of the centre. Manuel remains a great advocate not only for Rohingya refugees but also for Rohingya Cultural and Memory Centre (RCMC). David Palazón, as the Curator, established the research and production streams with dedication, hard work, and passion. Shahirah Majumdar, as project editor, launched the website and center, and provided key leadership to the team during her time. We thank Lurdes Macedo for contributing to the centre with the expertise as Cultural Studies Consultant.
The RCMC would not exist without the support of the Government of Bangladesh, now generously hosting over one million Rohingya people. Special thanks to the office of the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC).
Thank you to our generous donors: the Swedish International Cooperation Agency (SIDA), Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD), the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), World Bank, the Government of Japan, Netherlands, European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM).
Most of all, thanks to all in the Rohingya community who have offered their stories, support, and extraordinary talents.
Lastly, we want to thank the people who have contributed to RCMC with their talent at every stage.
Architecture & Design
Khwaja Fatmi
Rizvi Hassan
Photography & Videography
David Palazón
Mirza Inty
Archive Management
Lurdes Macedo
Rahul Karim
Verity Marques
Contributing Writers
Aman Ullah
Fouzia Reza
Lurdes Macedo
Rahul Karim
Shahirah Majumdar
Sophie Danielson
Tazrian Rahman
Verity Marques
Zeeshan Khan
Asif Imteaz Tanu
Farzana Ahmed Urmi
Khwaja Fatmi
Rowson Akter
Saleha Akter Urmi
Shaila Siraj
Shwettaj Jahan Tithi
RCMC Project Officer
Sara Ziadat
Field Coordination 
Rezaul Karim 
Photography & Videography
Hossain Ahammod Masum
Archive Management
Hossain Ahammod Masum
Namrata Talukder Arpa

Contributing Writers
Rezaul Karim
Namrata Talukder Arpa
Lupa Rani Mondal
Asma Hossain
Rohingya Cultural Agents
Enayet Khan
Md. Sahat (Zia)
Md. Shibbili
Md. Yakub
Md. Yousuf
Nurul Amin
Iman Salam
Md. Ahtaram
Sabekun Nahar
Noor Kayes
Noor Begum
Shahida Win
Shofiqul Islam
Rohingya Musicians
Ahmod Hossain
Shobir Rahman
Mostafa Khatun
Mahmuda Khatun
Md. Yusuf
Imam Hossain
Rohingya Artisans
Embroidery Artists
Azida Begum
Dildar Begum
Fatema Khatun
Hosne Ara
Jaheda Begum
Jannat Ara
Minera Begum
Noor Nahar Begum
Rashida Begum
Rokeya Begum
Samsun Nahar
Sanjida Begum
Shamima Begum
Shamjida Begum
Yasmida Akhter

Md. Jaber
Md. Hossain
Md. Faruque
Faisal Amin
Nur Ali
Khairul Amin

Norul Islam
Iman Hossain
Sahab Uddin
Ali Juher

Maloti Rudro
Niranjan Rudra
Zawkir Ahmed


Artists & Painters
Enayet Khan
Mayyu Khan

Macrame Artist
Ali Zohar


Soidul Islam

Musical Instrument Craftsmen
Hamid Ullah
This database is a work-in-progress. We welcome outside contributions and input, including corrections to historical, ethnographic and linguistic data. 
Documenting an oral culture in a state of displacement poses a unique set of challenges, including: lack of a standard Rohingya orthography; lack of written Rohingya histories, ethnographies and literatures; difficulties of connecting with Rohingya scholars; differences in opinion of different segments of the community, and the logistical limitations of working out of a temporary refugee camp; the Covid-19 pandemic, internet shutdowns, etc.

We should also note that, as among any people, Rohingya terminology, food, beliefs, traditions, material culture, etc. may vary according to location, education, socioeconomics, and other factors. Thus two Rohingya people may have different words for the same object, and both words may be correct. Where this has occurred, we have tried to choose the most commonly used word. All RCMC data is verified through workshops and consultations at the field level.
Please write to us if you have comments, concerns, or additional data. We consider this site to be a starting point, not a final compendium, and hope it will be used as a platform upon which future scholars and practitioners of Rohingya culture, history and art will continue to build.