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Precious and Rare: Islamic Metalwork from The Courtauld

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This is a live online event.

The platform and log in details will be sent to all registered attendees at least 48 hours before the event. Please note that registration closes one hour before the event start time.

If you have not received the log in details, or have further queries, please contact researchforum@courtauld.ac.uk.

This symposium will explore curatorial, practical and public engagement aspects of The Courtauld's touring display of Islamic metalwork to four venues in the UK. Beginning with a keynote lecture uncovering the historic importance of the works on display, the rest of the talks will reflect on the opportunities and results achieved in each instance, alongside the challenges posed by the ongoing Covid-19 emergency. As such, the event will be of particular interest to students in the humanities and colleagues in the museum and heritage sector, from curators and collection managers to educators and public engagement professionals.

Event programme

Welcoming Remarks

Dr Alexandra Gerstein, Curator of Sculpture and Decorative Arts, The Courtauld & Dr Rebecca Bridgman, Curatorial and Exhibitions Manager, Birmingham Museums Trust and Chair of the Islamic Art and Material Culture Subject Specialist Network

Keynote: Uncovering the inlays

Professor James Allan, Emeritus Professor of Eastern Art, University of Oxford

The Courtauld’s collection of inlaid Islamic metalwork is very small but consists of a group of exquisite pieces. Not only are they a joy in themselves, but they are also rich with associations, and lend themselves to small exhibitions on particular themes. These stretch from collectors, like Thomas Gambier Parry, who gathered these pieces together, to how such inlaid objects were actually made, by whom they were made (one is signed by Mahmud al-Kurdi – but who was he?), how they were traded and used (and their use varied in different cultures!), and the artistic significance of their decoration. These are some of the ‘inlays’ which we can uncover, ‘inlays’ whose themes we can draw out to enthuse and educate our audiences and visitors.

Panel of four talks moderated by Dr Francesca Leoni, Assistant Keeper and Curator of Islamic Art, Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

'Precious and Rare': Layouts, Logistics and Lockdowns, Amy Graves (Exhibition Registrar, The Courtauld)

Islamic Metalwork in Bradford: Heritage, Culture and People, Sonja Kielty (Volunteer Co-ordinator, Libraries, Museums and Galleries, Bradford Museums and Galleries)

Cultures in Conversation: Volunteers and Community Engagement at the History of Science Museum, Federica Gigante (Curator of the Collection from the Islamic World, History of Science Museum, University of Oxford)

Curating 'Precious and Rare' at the Holburn Museum during the Covid-19 crisis, Sylvie Broussine (Assistant Curator, The Holburn Museum, Bath)

Discussion and Q&A

Closing remarks

Dr Sussan Babaie, Reader in the Arts of Iran and Islam, The Courtauld

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