Public lecture

Imagining Art Futures: Collection and Exhibition Strategies in the Gulf Region

  • 4 May 2023 - 5 May 2023
  • 9:30 am - 4:30 pm (Thursday), 9:30 am - 2:30 pm (Friday)
  • Hybrid - International House & Zoom Webinar

Image credited to Sharjah Art Museum

This two-day symposium examines recent developments in the art landscape of the Gulf countries. Speakers will test ideas and terminologies used to analyse art production, collection, and exhibition in the region. We welcome discussion about the ways in which artists, curators, art professionals, and policy makers from Gulf countries are creating new audiences, developing institutional networks, and opening local art production and collecting onto international platforms. This includes exploration of the role played by museums and art markets in the dissemination of knowledge about artists and cultural heritage. What art futures are being imagined in and by the Gulf countries and what are the proposed mechanisms for their realization?

Day 1 Programme: Thursday 4 May

09.30–10.00 In-Person Arrivals - Coffee/Tea
10.00–10.20 Kathryn Brown (Loughborough University): Introduction: Gulf Countries in a Networked Artworld

Session 1 -

Eiman Elgibreen (Princess Nourah Bint Abdul Rahman University): Following the Guiding Light: Lessons Learned from Noor Riyadh and Other Large-Scale Art Events in Saudi Arabia

Ghadeer Ghazi Abualshamat (Loughborough University): Making the Contemporary in Saudi Arabian Museum Culture.

11.30–11.45 Break

Session 2 - 

Rawya Aljared (University of Jeddah): Green Land, Empty Land; Contemporary Art from Saudi Arabia

Dareen Alorflly (University of York): Manal Al-Dowayan: Saudi Arabia’s Conceptual Pioneer in Memory and Identity

13.00–14.00 Lunch

Session 3 - 

Hind Alhumaihdi (Loughborough University): The Future of Animation: Exhibit to Intangible Heritage

Leena Sonbul (University of North Texas): Place Identity: The Complex Intersection Between Inside and Outside in Art and Culture Scenes in Saudi Arabia

15.15–15.30 Break

Keynote - 

IAS Visiting Fellow Nada Shabout (University of North Texas): Gulf “Creates”: How the Gulf Countries are Changing the Narrative of Global Contemporary Art.


Q&A with Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi (Barjeel Art Foundation).

Day 2 Programme: Friday 5 May

09.30–10.00 In-Person Arrivals - Coffee/Tea

Session 4 - 

Georgina Walker (University of Melbourne): Private Foundations, Art and Intercultural Dialogue in the United Arab Emirates

Sarina Wakefield (University of Leicester): In Transit: Connecting Arts & Heritage in Gulf Airports

11.15–11.30 Break

Session 5 - 

Océane Sailly (Hunna Art/Sorbonne University, Paris): Becoming an Artist in the Gulf Countries

Leili Sreberny-Mohammadi (London School of Economics and Political Science): The Art Fair and the Auction House: Dubai in a Global Artworld


Session 6 - 

Art Futures? Roundtable (All parties).

13.15–14.30 Lunch & Close

This event is hybrid format, please use the required booking button at the bottom of the page to choose either in-person or online attendance for each day.
(Please note that in-person spaces are limited and booking is required, so we can manage numbers for catering and also the space inside International House)

By booking a place at this event, attendees agree to behave in a respectful manner such that everyone feels comfortable contributing as they wish. The IAS reserves the right to eject anyone who does not abide by this policy.

IAS seminars are typically recorded, minus any Q&A sessions at the end, again to encourage contributions. The recordings are then uploaded to our website on a Fellows bio page and/or Programme page, along with our IAS YouTube Channel. If you are not able to attend a seminar live, please do still register as we will email everyone who registered to let them know once the recordings are made available.

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