From Malacca to Manchester: Curating Islamic Collections Worldwide

22. Februar 2017 - 24. Februar 2017, Manchester Museum, Manchester




Wednesday, 22nd February, 2017




Reaching for the Stars: The Astrolabe in the Islamic World.


Collections Study Centre, Manchester Museum, Oxford Road, Manchester, M139PL.


11.30am-12.30pm and 4.00-5.00pm.


Presented by Silke Ackermann (Director) and Christopher Parkin (Lead Education Officer), Museum of the History of Science, University of Oxford.


This workshop will provide conference attendees with an introduction to the astrolabe, an instrument which was studied and developed by scholars and craftsman throughout the early centuries of the expansion of Islamic civilization. The workshop will explore the significance of this instrument within Islamic culture including its use in a religious context and scope for design and craftsmanship. Participants will be able to handle replica instruments and to make a working model based on one from the Museum’s collection of astrolabes from the Islamic world.




Collection Encounter: Islamic Manuscript Highlights at The John Rylands Library Special Collections.


The John Rylands Library, University of Manchester, 150 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3EH.


11.00am and 1.00pm


Presented by Elizabeth Gow, Manuscript Curator and Archivist, The John Rylands Library. Please allow further time for self-guided exploration of the Rylands Gallery, the temporary exhibition, and the building.




The Practicalities of Working in the Middle East and South Asia: A Workshop Organised by the Subject Specialist Network for Islamic Art and Material Culture.


The Whitworth Art Gallery Study Centre, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M15 6ER.




Beginning to think about working in or with institutions in the Middle East and South Asia can be a daunting prospect but one which does offer huge benefits in terms of curating your institution’s ‘Islamic’

collections. This session aims to be a practical ‘how to’ guide, and includes speakers with considerable experience in this area, who will share their understanding of the challenges and benefits from the perspective of their own work. The workshop is divided into three sessions:


·  Where to begin? What are the opportunities and the practicalities of organising your visit to the Middle East and South Asia?

·  Case studies on the benefits. How working or visiting the Middle East and South Asia can positively impact on the work carried out by you and / or your organisation in the UK.

·  Building your relationships with organisations in the Middle East and South Asia.


Thursday, 23rd February, 2017




Kanaris Lecture Theatre, Manchester Museum, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, M13 9PL.


09.00–9.20 Registration and refreshments.


9.20-9.40 Welcome.


9.40-10.30 Keynote Lecture by Stefan Weber, Director, Museum of Islamic Art, Berlin, Germany; Pulling the Past into the Present – Islamic Art and the Museum in Times of Migration and Extremism.


10.30-10.50 Break (refreshments provided).




10.50-11.50 Convened panel: A Shared Identity: The Birmingham Qur’an – from Academia to Community.


Rebecca Bridgman, Curator of Islamic and South Asian Arts and Curatorial Team Leader, Birmingham Museums Trust; Susan Worrall, Director of Special Collections, University of Birmingham, Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham; Alba Fedeli, Postdoctoral Researcher, Central European University, Budapest; Sarah Kilroy, Head of Conservation and Programming, Special Collections, Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham; Mohammed Ali MBE, internationally acclaimed artist, founder of Soul City Arts.


11.50-12.10 Nicoletta Fazio, Former Curatorial Trainee, Museum of Islamic Art, Berlin and PhD Candidate, University of Heidelberg, Germany; Words that Matter: Exhibiting the Qur’an in the Museum of Islamic Art, Berlin.


12.10-12.20 Panel discussion.


12.20–1.20 lunch (provided).




Chiara Formichi, Assistant Professor in Southeast Asian Studies, Cornell University, New York, USA; Islamic Art or Asian Art?


Mirjam Shatanawi, Curator, Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam and Museum of Ethnology, Leiden, The Netherlands; Islamic Art and Ethnographic Collections.


Francesca Leoni, Yousef Jameel Curator of Islamic Art, Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Oxford, UK; Occultism and the Museum. The Case of Power and Protection: Islamic Art and the Supernatural.


Silke Ackermann (Director) and Christopher Parkin (Lead Education Officer), Museum of the History of Science, University of Oxford, UK; Interpreting Scientific Instruments from the Islamic World in the Museum.


3.00-3.20: Break (refreshments provided).




Heba Nayel Barakat, Head Curator, Curatorial Affairs Department, Islamic Arts Museum, Malaysia; Representation of Faith in Islamic

Galleries: Where Do We Go Wrong?


Beyza Uzun, Independent Researcher, Turkey; Display of the Sacred Relics Gallery in the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art, Istanbul.


James Bennett, Curator of Asian Art at the Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia, and Sam Bowker, Lecturer in Art History and Visual Culture at Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, Australia; Not Melaka but Marege: Islamic Art in Australia (Or, ‘What Have the Umayyads Ever Done for Us?’).


Ana P. Labrador (Deputy Director and Chief Curator) and Cyril A. Santos (Museum Researcher), National Museum of the Philippines; Representing the Bangsamoro in an Exhibition of Ethnography at the National Museum of the Philippines.


Friday, 24th February, 2017




Nancy Demerdash-Fatemi, Visiting Assistant Professor of Art History, 2016-2017, Department of Visual Arts, Wells College, New York, USA; Border Crossings at the Museum: Interpretation, Integration and Empathic Curatorial Strategies in an Era of Trauma and Displacement.


Klas Grinell, Curator of Contemporary Global Issues, Museum of World Culture, Gothenburg, and Associate Professor in the History of Ideas at Gothenburg University, Sweden; Labelling Islam: On the Lack of a Structuring Idea in European Exhibitions of Islam.


Benedict Leigh, Project Curator, British Museum, UK; The Role of Archaeology and ‘Context’ in the Display of Islamic Material Culture.


Sophia Vassilopoulou, Free University of Berlin and Museum of Islamic Art, Berlin, Germany; Bringing Academic Research into the Museum: The Exhibition Trail Objects in Transfer in the Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin.


10.40-11: Break (refreshments provided).




Sharon Laor-Sirak, Curator, Museum of Islamic and Near Eastern Cultures, Be'er Sheva, Israel; From Mosque to Museum - the Museum of Islamic and Near Eastern Cultures in Be'er Sheva, Israel.


Idries Trevathan (Islamic Arts Curator) and Nora Aldabal (Museum Team Leader), King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, Saudi Arabia; Islamic Art in Saudi Arabia; Reconnecting Communities with Collections.


Kimberly Masteller, Jeanne McCray Beals Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, USA; Curating Islamic Art in the Central United States: New Approaches to Collections, Installations, and Audience Engagement.


Venetia Porter, Curator, Islamic and Contemporary Middle Eastern Art, Department of the Middle East, The British Museum, UK; From Mali to

Malacca: Redisplaying Islamic Material Culture at the British Museum.


12.40-1.40: Lunch (provided).




Jennifer Siung, Head of Education, Chester Beatty Library, Ireland; Exploring World Faiths in Museum Collections.


Laura Weinstein, Ananda Coomaraswamy Curator of South Asian and Islamic Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA; Looking Out and Looking In:

Islamic Art at the MFA, Boston in the 21st Century.


Qaisra M. Khan, Independent Curator, Nasser. D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, UK; Presenting Islamic Art and the Muslim Community: The Hajj Exhibition at the British Museum.


2.40-3.00: Break (refreshments provided).




Constance Wyndham, PhD Student, Institute of Archaeology, University College London, UK; Cult Object or Cultural Artefact? Heritage Preservation as National Reconstruction at The National Museum of Afghanistan, Kabul.


Galina Lasikova, Curator, Mardjani Foundation for Support and Development of Research and Cultural Programmes; In Pursuit of Islamic Art in Moscow.


Generoso Urciuoli, Curator of the Islamic Department, Museum of Oriental Art, Turin, Italy; Outside the Showcase: Cultural Mediation Projects of the Islamic Department of the Museum of Oriental Art, Turin.


Yannick Lintz (Director) and Carine Juvin (Curator for Medieval Near and Middle East) Islamic Art Department, Louvre Museum, Paris, France; From the Louvre Museum as a Universal Museum to Communities.


4.40-5.00 Summing-up and Close.



For more information and to book please follow this link:



Attendance will be charged at £20 per day for the two days of the full conference programme (£10 per day for students).


The workshops and visits are free but may only be attended by paying conference attendees, with the exception of the SSN workshop which anyone can attend (preferential booking will be given to UK museum professionals engaged with Islamic art and material culture).


Please direct any enquiries to: malaccatomanchester@gmail.com.