Museums in Arabia is an internationally established conference series. Museums in Arabia operates as an international collaborative network for exploring the theory and practice of museums and heritage in the Arabian Peninsula. Established in 2011 the conference series has developed successful events at different host institutions, including the British Museum in 2012 as a special session at the Arabian Seminar and at the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, in partnership with UCL Qatar in 2014. The conference provides a platform for local, regional and international scholars and practitioners to come together to discuss and exchange ideas around museum and heritage practices in the Gulf.
The 2017 iteration of the Museums in Arabia series aims to engage more specifically with how artistic and aesthetic practice and production (in the broadest sense) is employed within museums, galleries, heritage events, and urban planning in the Arabian Peninsula. Hosted by the Bahrain National Museum, Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain and generously supported by the Bahrain Authority for Culture & Antiquities, October 11-13, 2017. Conference sessions will take place over two days on the 11th and 12th of October. On October 13th 2017 all participants will be invited to engage in a day of site visits and discussions led by the Bahrain Authority for Culture & Antiquities.
We encourage paper proposals that examine the specific ways in which ‘artistic’ practice and production is presented and consumed within the context of Gulf museums, galleries, exhibitions and events.
Representation and Identity
How is artistic expression defined in the Gulf? What ‘forms’ of artistic expression are produced (in the past and the present) and by whom? How are different identities represented and reproduced through artistic practice in the cultural sector in the region and how do these relate to the museums and heritage landscape in general? Who has the power to represent and re-produce identity through artistic expression?
What artistic practices are employed within museums in the region? How do these practices relate to the production of museum aesthetics both ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ the museum? How is artistic practice used in the production of new museums, architecture, and in the heritage field and who is involved in creating those expressions? Where is art produced and by whom? How is artistic practice used to represent local, regional and international identity? What aspects of museums can be considered ‘artistic’?
Space and Place
How are artistic practices employed in the production of space and place? How is cultural production implicated in the development of new buildings, districts and cities? How are heritage buildings re-created and re-used as spaces of artistic and creative enterprise in contemporary Gulf societies? How is the past, present and future represented in spaces and places in the Gulf?
Themes may address but are not limited to the following areas:
- Art Practice and Theory in Gulf Museology
- Artistic Identity
- Architects, Architectural Styles and Architectural Practice
- New Technologies
- Artists and Designers
- Designers, Design Museums and Design Districts
- Creation of Zones and Districts
- Adaption and Re-Adaption of Heritage Spaces and Places
Abstracts addressing other themes relevant to this conference will also be considered.
The Museums in Arabia series encourages cross-disciplinary exchange and engagement. The conference attracts participants from a broad array of disciplines with the aim of encouraging interdisciplinary modes of inquiry. We therefore encourage academics and practitioners from any relevant discipline to submit proposals.
By exploring the relationship(s) between artistic production and practice (in the broadest sense) in museums, galleries and heritage institutions we seek to broaden the conversation around the significance of this area and to identify future avenues for related research. Additionally, as the Museums in Arabia series attracts scholars from a wide variety of geographic locations and research specializations it provides a unique opportunity to foster multidisciplinary dialogue around the theory and practice of museum, gallery and heritage activities in the region.
Theoretical analysis and understandings of artistic and aesthetic production and practice is under-represented in the literature relating to museums and heritage in the Gulf. We therefore expect to draw contributions that can lead to new publications in the field. Selected papers of this conference will be published in an edited volume. Already the 2014 Museums in Arabia conference led to the publication of the edited volume Museums in Arabia: Transnational Practices and Regional Processes (K. Exell & S. Wakefield, 2016, Routledge).
This conference will be of interest to academics, practitioners and students interested in museum and heritage theory and practice in the Gulf, Creative and artistic practices, and, more broadly, those with an interest in the cultural, economic and political landscape of the region.
Abstracts should follow the Museums in Arabia submission guidelines. Abstracts must include author’s institutional affiliation, paper title, abstract (500 words maximum); author’s biography, author’s contact details and keywords.
Deadline for abstract submissions: 31st March 2017
Please submit abstracts to: [email protected]
Listening participants must pre-register for the conference. If you would like to attend the conference as a listening participant, please send an email to [email protected] with ‘Listening Participant’ in the subject line. Attendance will only be confirmed once you have received confirmation of your place at the conference. Arabic-English and English Arabic Translation will be available for all conference sessions.
Decisions will be communicated by 30th April 2017.