News & Opportunities

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Practicalities of Working in the Middle East and South Asia

Wednesday 22nd February 2017

The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester

The workshop is free to attend and you do not have to attend the 'From Malacca to Manchester: Curating Islamic Collections Worldwide' conference to attend the workshop.  To book your workshop place (preference will be given to museum professionals) contact Dr Rebecca Bridgman, Curator of Islamic & South Asian Art and Curatorial Team Leader., Birmingham Museums Trust at

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 institutions ‘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.

Introduction and the SSN for Islamic Art and Material Culture (1-1.05pm) (Rebecca Bridgman, Curator of Islamic & South Asian Art, Birmingham Museums, SSN Chair)
1) Where to begin? What are the opportunities and the practicalities of organising your visit to the Middle East and South Asia (1.10pm – 1.55 pm)

Introduction to working internationally and British Council support in arranging your trip (Stephen Stenning, Director of Culture and Development, British Council)
Funding opportunities through the Art Fund (Emma Coleman, Programmes Coordinator, Art Fund)
Identifying funding and managing relationships (Emma Croft, Coordinator, International Training Programme, British Museum)
Discussion and Questions

2) 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 (2.0pm – 3pm )

Arts scene in the Gulf and the Jameel Prize – (Tara Desjardins, Curator of Middle Eastern Art, V&A)
Working in South Asia - the Manchester experience:

- Modern and Contemporary Art (Natasha Howes , Senior Curator and Clare Gannaway, Contemporary Art Curator, Manchester Art Gallery)
- South Asian Textiles (Uthra Rajgopal, Curator, The Whitworth Manchester)
- Exoticisation and Representation, Alternative Paradigms to Working and New models of Partnership practice (Fareda Khan, Head of Special Projects, Manchester Museums)

Discussion and Questions

3) Building your relationships with organisations in the Middle East and South Asia (3.05pm – 3.45pm)

Touring exhibits to the Middle East (Dean Baylis Senior Administrator & Loans Co-ordinator Department of the Middle East, The British Museum)
Project Refuge/e (Georgia Haseldine and Peter Target, OVA + INE)
Building an inter-cultural dialogue (Nadia El Sebai Executive Director, The Arab British Centre)
Discussion and Questions

After the session there will be an opportunity to view selected Indian textiles from The Whitworth’s collection.

To view the conference programme and book tickets visit:

The SSN for Islamic Art and Material Culture is supported by Arts Council England and Birmingham Museums.  This workshop is hosted by Manchester Museum and The Whitworth.