i Pilgrim tile, Turkey, Iznik; c. 1600, The David Collection, Denmark

Making Sense of the Arts of Islam

Dr Natasha Morris

5 pre-recorded lectures and 5 live Zoom seminars from Monday 12- Friday 16 September with an optional in-person course visit on Saturday 17 September

£195; a £45 supplement for the optional visit

Course description

This course introduces students to key works and topics surrounding the arts and architecture of the Islamic world, which has been a burgeoning area of interest for scholarship, museums, galleries, auction houses and collectors.

From Spain to India, from monumental buildings such as the Dome of the Rock to the Taj Mahal, and from luxury objects of utility (such as ceramics, metalwork, glass and textiles) to paintings and the arts of the book, each lecture and object-focused discussion session spotlights a defining aspect of the study of the arts in the cultures of Islam.

We shall explore the arts from the birth of Islam in the seventh century, through the ‘Golden Ages’ of the medieval period and rocky ‘modernities’, to the present day. In challenging the preconceptions that surround ‘Islamic Art’ today, this course addresses the unique social and political contexts belonging to the often much misunderstood art of the Islamic world.

Pre-recorded lectures will be followed by object-led interactive Zoom seminar sessions that highlight the rich holdings of Islamic Art in London’s public museums and galleries, including those at the Victoria & Albert Museum and the magnificent Albukhary Gallery of the Islamic World at the British Museum, as well as exploring treasures from private collections and museum collections more globally. An optional in-person visit to the archives of the Royal Asiatic Society will take place on the 17th September for a small additional fee.

Lecturer’s biography

Dr Natasha Morris is an Associate Lecturer in the Arts of Islam and Iran at The Courtauld and co-convenor of the Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art at SOAS. She has recently been Myojin-Nadar Project Curator – Modern Middle Eastern Art at the British Museum. An alumna of The Courtauld (BA, MA, PhD), she has also taught at UCL, and has written on the arts of Iran for a number of publications including The Guardian, The Burlington Magazine and Time Out. Natasha is the author of a number of exhibition catalogues on contemporary artists from the Middle East and was co-author of Honar: The Afkhami Collection of Modern and Contemporary Iranian Art (Phaidon, 2017) and Reflections: Contemporary art of the Middle East and North Africa (British Museum, 2020).