AKU-ISMC MA students visit Sotheby's

AKU-ISMC MA students visit Sotheby's

MA students and Assistant Professor Stefan Weber

Throughout October and November, AKU-ISMC's MA students participated in a number of field trips including a guided tour of Sotheby's on October 19th. The students went to a pre-sale handling session and private viewing of the exhibitions, Arts of the Islamic World and Modern and Contemporary Arab and Iranian Art, led by Edward Gibbs, Head of the Islamic and Indian Art Department.

On October 29th the students visited the Jameel Gallery at the Victoria and Albert Museum and attended a presentation titled The making of the Jameel Gallery, by Tim Stanley, Senior Curator, Middle East, Asian Department.

Edward Gibbs, Head of the Islamic and Indian Art Department at Sotheby's, introduces the exhibition

On November 23rd the students visited the Geffrye Museum and attended a lecture, English Homes and Interiors, which outlined the social context of the decorative arts and explored the changing values of the urban middle-classes as expressed through interior style.

All three visits are part of the Islamic Art, Architecture and Heritage Management course, taught by Assistant Professor for Material Culture, Dr Stefan Weber. The field trips enable students to obtain direct physical contact with the objects, exhibitions and institutions discussed throughout the course.

Weber noted that, "Much more important is the insight of institutions exhibiting, defining or - in the case of the London centred world wide art market - selling and buying elements of Muslim cultural production and heritage .This 'first hand' information should help students to understand 'realities' and develop a critical assessment. They are, furthermore, potential fields of future employment."

​​​Assistant Professor Weber speaks to the MA students about material culture at the Geffrye Museum

Weber explained that such field trips can potentially provide students with a set of comparative tools. An example of this is the student's visit to the Geffrye Museum, in which it is possible to gather a first hand account of the relation between furniture, interiors, houses and societies in their time.

"Concepts and techniques can be applied to history and houses of Muslim societies. After the visits, material history as a source of inquiry and as a theoretical approach from sociology will be discussed in the classroom. The visit to the museum and lectures by specialists makes theories visible, touchable, and part of one's personal experience - which is, of course, the best way to learn."

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