£16.52 – £21.83

Exploring Contemporary Muslim Art, Culture and Heritage in Britain

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Muirhead Tower (R21), University of Birmingham


B15 2TT

United Kingdom

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Event description


Our next MBRN event will be held in association with the Dept of Theology & Religion at the University of Birmingham on Thursday 14th September 2017.

The day’s theme is ‘Exploring Contemporary Muslim Art, Culture and Heritage in Britain’.

Provisional Schedule:

09.15-10.00 – Registration and Networking

10.00-10.15 – Welcome

10.15-11-15 – Plenary Panel 1
Muslim Art & Culture in Britain: the Challenges

Dr Fatima Zahra Hassan - Educator & Artist, Miniature Painting & Islamic Art
Luqman Ali, Artistic Director, Khayaal Theatre
Sara Choudhrey - ‎Digital Islamic Art, PhD Candidate, University of Kent

11.30-12.45 – Parallel Session 1

Identity, Activism & Lifestyle
Dr William Barylo - Affiliate Researcher, EHESS (Paris)
Dr Carl Morris - Lecturer, University of Central Lancashire
Dr Fatima Sagir - Cultural Anthropology - Freiburg University
[Additional speakers TBC]

Choirs & Song
Mirina Paananen - 'Muslim Choral Heritage', University of Oxford
Anna Nayyar - Research Director, Vivacity - Peterborough Museum & Art Gallery

Muslim Heritage & Exhibitions
Dr Nazneen Ahmed - Research Associate - UCL
Dr Irfan Malik - Independent Researcher
Haroon Ravaat - Connected Histories: Muslims in WWI
Neelam Hussain - Curator, Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham

12.45-13.45 – Lunch / Prayers (Zohar 1.03pm) / Networking

13.45-14.45 – Plenary Performance
Tasawar Bashir - PhD Candidate, 'Qawwali Research Unit', University of Birmingham
Dr Scott Wilson, Reader in Music, University of Birmingham
Ayesha Khan, 'Sufi Music', PhD Candidate, Cardiff University

15.00-16.00 – Parallel Session 2

Islam and Rap (Hip Hop/Grime/Spoken Word/Poetry)
Ismael Lea South - Project Manager, Black Muslims in British History
Dr Abdul-Azim Ahmed - Cardiff University
Shahnaz Akhter - PhD Candidate, Warwick University
[Additional speakers TBC]

Islamic Calligraphy/Art – Traditional, Minimalistic & Digital
Razwan Ul-Haq - Artist & Author, Calligraphy, Fantasy & Sci-Fi
Razwan Baig - Calligrapher and Collector of Islamic Art
[Additional speakers TBC]

Funding Workshop (TBC)

16.15-17.15 – Parallel Session 3

Prof Peter Morey - English and Postcolonial Studies, University of Birmingham
Dr Amina Yaqin - Senior Lecturer, SOAS
Dr Rula M. Al-Abdulrazak - Senior Lecturer, University of East London
[Additional speakers TBC]

Weapons of Beauty, Rumi’s Circle
Saimma Dyer - Director, Chickpea Press
Fatimah Ashrif - Founder, Rumi’s Circle
Mohammed Nazam - Founder, Berakah Arts

(Re)Creating Muslim Heritage in Britain (open roundtable)
Dr Jamil Sherif - East London Mosque Archive
Sadiya Ahmed - Founder, Everyday Muslim Heritage and Archive Initiative
Izzy Mohammed - PhD Candidate, 'Representation in Public Archives', University of Birmingham
Haroon Ravaat - Connected Histories: Muslims in WWI
Mobeen Butt - Director, Muslim Museum Initiative

17.30-18.45 – Plenary Panel:
Artists in Conversation: the Opportunities
Chair/Reflection: Abid Hussain - Director, Arts Council England
Saba Khan - Artist and CEO, ArtEase
Teakster - Artist
[Additional speakers TBC]

18.45-18.55 Closing Summary

Additional speakers to be confirmed.

Art and culture provide a means of communication, an alternative platform to share stories, celebrate contributions to society and challenge misconceptions and stereotypes. In Britain, Muslim art and culture are in transition as we see interchange between artists inspired by the traditional Islamic arts and those who are finding new ways of weaving together their British and Muslim identities. A rising generation is using artistic forms such as music, film, literature, photography, poetry and comedy to express themselves. As well as celebrating the diversity of British Muslim identity, these artists and cultural producers explore difficult issues and help bridge divides between communities.

This new world creates exciting opportunities but also uneasy tensions as to where these practices can fit in the traditional canons of visual and performing arts, the heritage and museum sectors, in literature and even popular culture in Britain. British Muslims often find it difficult to present their work in mainstream arts and cultural establishments such as theatres, galleries and museums. Many upcoming Muslim artists work alone and often struggle to fund their work. Furthermore, the persistence of stereotypical representations of Muslims in popular media and cultural industries makes it harder for Muslims in the arts and cultural sectors to reach a wide audience.

This one-day Muslims in Britain Research Network conference will create space for critical dialogue and community exchange by bringing aspiring and established Muslim artists and cultural producers together with eminent scholars and researchers, policymakers, entrepreneurs and arts funders. The conference will provide a space to discuss, inform, connect and engage through a program of lectures, presentations, panel discussions and workshops. Cultural experts will share insights into the key factors affecting Muslim arts and culture in Britain.


and for finding the Muirhead Tower, Building R21 on this map:

Conference Organisers:
Professor Jørgen Nielsen (University of Birmingham)
Professor Alison Scott-Baumann (MBRN/SOAS)
Dr Stephen Jones (MBRN/Newman University)
Mobeen Butt (MBRN/Muslim Museum Initiative)
Dr Katherine Brown (University of Birmingham)
Dr Sadek Hamid (MBRN/University of Oxford)
Ayesha Khan (MBRN/Cardiff University)
Yahya Birt (MBRN/Leeds University)

For any queries or further information, please contact the conference organisers at muslimsinbritainrn@gmail.com

Strongly recommended for:
Arts, culture and heritage practitioners, professionals and policy makers
Academics and professionals researching Muslims in Britain
Organisations working with Muslim communities in the UK

Equality and diversity professionals

The Muslims in Britain Research Network (MBRN) has been promoting the multidisciplinary study of Muslims and Islam in Britain for over twenty years – bringing together leading academics, researchers and professionals, and encouraging a new generation of students and practitioners to discuss, inform and collaborate.

The University of Birmingham is a world top 100 university and part of the prestigious Russell Group.

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Muirhead Tower (R21), University of Birmingham


B15 2TT

United Kingdom

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