Course: Islamic Art & Architecture

Course: Islamic Art & Architecture
Contributed By: events coordinator
Organizing Institution: The Museum of Islamic Arts & Heritage (MIAH) Foundation, Birmingham
Contact email: [email protected]
Start Date: July 11, 2024 (3:00pm)
End Date: July 18, 2024 (6:00pm GMT+1)
Cost: £32.50
MIAH Gallery (at Moseley Community Hub) – Balsall Heath – United Kingdom

This six-week course on Islamic arts and architecture explores the various traditional visual arts and architecture that emerged from lands where Islam was the dominant religion and culture. You will be given the chance to see original items that relate to the course up close. We start by asking the question, “What is ‘Islamic’ art?” and questioning its usefulness, before examining the various fields arts and architecture that usually come under this title. During this course, you will gain an overview of the types of art that usually fall under the title of ‘Islamic art’ whilst also examining how religious beliefs, politics, powerful patrons as well as everyday practices influenced developments in traditional visual arts and architecture from different parts of the Muslim world. The present course is Part One of two six-week courses. In this course, over six weekly sessions, we will cover the following:

PART ONE (this course)

  1. What is ‘Islamic Art’? Definitions, terms and problems.
  2. Islamic Ornament: geometry, arabesque (biomorphic) designs and calligraphy.
  3. Calligraphy and the Arts of the Qur’an
  4. Rulers & Patrons: painted illuminated manuscripts.
  5. Figural Representations in Islamic Art.
  6. Politics & Ritual in the Architecture of Mosques and Places of Devotion.

The general layout of each session will be: two hours of tutor-led teaching and discussion, followed by one hour of related interactive or creative activity in a workshop format (depending on topic). Course participants to will be given the opportunity to see original objects up close. One of the sessions will be taught at the Cadbury Research Library where you have the opportunity to examine the Mingana Collection Middle Eastern Collection Manuscripts (session date tbc).

Course Tutor: Dr. Neelam Hussain, historian of intellectual and cultural history with a specialist focus on the material culture of the Islamic world. She is also the curator of Middle-Eastern manuscripts at the Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham. She has experience of teaching on modules in Islamic arts, art history, and medieval material culture and history modules.

Participants who have attended at least 80% of the course will be provided with a certificate of completion.

START DATE: Thursdays, 3pm-6pm, 13th June 2024 (runs weekly for 6 consecutive weeks)

END DATE: Thursday 18th July 2024


Individual Session Fee (one selected session only): £32.50 per session, if you would only like to attend some individual sessions and not others.

You will have the option to sign up for PART TWO of this course, which extends this learning and will be delivered in six weekly sessions from 12th September 2024 – to be booked separately.

  1. Ceramics and Pottery: the ‘fabric’ of the vessel.
  2. Islamic Metalwork and Glass: transforming everyday objects.
  3. Power & the Palace: representations of power in Islamic architecture.
  4. Monuments of Mourning: tombs, mausoleums and gardens in funerary architecture.
  5. Orientalism: the influence of Islamic art on European art.
  6. Occidentalism? The impact of western art on Islamic art forms.

Main image:”The Eavesdropper”, Folio 47r from a Haft Paikar (Seven Portraits) of the Khamsa (Quintet) of Nizami of Ganja, Accession Number:, Met Museum, New York

MIAH Gallery (at Moseley Community Hub)
496 Moseley Road
Balsall Heath , B12 9AH United Kingdom
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