Open Courtauld

After Hours: Tea Party

man looking at silver collection

This ‘After Hours’ will transform our gallery into a fantastical Tea Party — with pop-up talks, interventions, activities, food and drink inspired by our decorative arts collection and exhibition Kurdistan in the 1940s. Take part in tea ceremonies, customs and rituals that revive the objects housed in our walls. In this communal extravaganza we encourage you to engage with and learn more about the lives and cultures of those who influenced, touched and impacted our collection. This event will brew up an immersive evening of culture after dark. Full line-up TBA!

Please note that entry to The Morgan Stanley Exhibition: Van Gogh. Self-Portraits is included in the ticket price.

Our After Hours series is produced as part of the Open Courtauld strand hosted by The Research Forum. This strand is all about sharing advanced research in art history, curating, and conservation, and is part of our Courtauld Connects project. 

Aligning with The Courtauld’s digital events series ‘Open Courtauld Hour’ our ‘After Hours’ will broach contemporary issues in society through participatory activities that encourage new perspectives and thinking, focused on The Courtauld collection. 

This event has passed.

16 Mar 2022

7pm - 9pm GMT


The Courtauld Gallery

Booking closes 30 minutes before the event.


After HoursOpen Courtauld


  • 7.00 – 9.00Spilling the Tea, Room 6, The Blavatnik Fine Rooms (Second Floor)

Inspired by the history of tea, this installation aims to brew up discussion and infuse the visitor with a more developed knowledge of this powerful commodity. Exploring this foodstuff’s global history, this interactive installation will take the form of a pick-n-mix station where visitors can fill their own teabag, using a blend of tea leaves from around the world. 

This quintessential “English” beverage has an exotic and global history with strong links to Empire and power. As a commodity it’s something that has changed the world and is still part of many people’s everyday lives. By creating an installation that asks the visitor to pay attention to where the tea comes from, we are shifting the focus from the consumer to the producer, and in doing so highlighting some of the histories that often go untold.

The installation will be hosted by food historian Tasha Marks, who will teach and serve throughout the evening. Attendees will then leave with their customised tea bag and a QR code which will take them to a webpage with more information on the history of tea.

  • 7.00 – 9.00: Somali Tea in the English Landscape, Ticket Hall (Ground Floor) 

This drop-in workshop is run by Fozia Ismail, a scholar, cook and founder of Arawelo Eats, a platform for exploring politics, identity and colonialism through East African food.  

Fozia was a Bristol City Fellow for Arnolfini Contemporary Art Centre in 2019 for her project Camel Meat & Tapes. Out of the fellowship she co-founded Dhaqan Collective a Somali Feminist Art Collective with Ayan Cilmi and Asmaa Jama which explores embodied archives, memory, weaving with the Somali community.  Fozia is a resident at the Pervasive Media Studio

Join our curators, conservators and art historians for expert talks on tea, food and celebration in our collection.

  • 7.10 – 7.20: Sophie-Nicole Dodds, Silverware for the home, Room 8, The Blavatnik Fine Rooms (Second Floor)
  • 7.25 – 7.35: Nadine Nour El Din, Kurdistan in the 1940s: Photography by Anthony Kersting, The Project Space (Second Floor)
  •  7.40 – 7.50: Sophie-Nicole Dodds, Silverware for the home, Room 8, The Blavatnik Fine Rooms (Second Floor)
  • 7.55 – 8.05: Nadine Nour El Din, Kurdistan in the 1940s: Photography by Anthony Kersting, The Project Space (Second Floor)

We are delighted to invite our attendees to participate in a rare up-close and personal object study sessions!

  • 7.00 – 9.00: Margaret Squires, The Courtauld Bag, The Medieval and Early Renaissance Gallery (First Floor)
  • 7.00 – 9.00: Robert Rose, Highlights from Braintree Museum, Room 4, The Blavatnik Fine Rooms (Second Floor)
  • 7.00 – 9.00: Both our stylish shop and pop-up bar will be open throughout the event. In each space we have crafted a shopping and eating experience inspired by the world-class artworks on display at The Courtauld.

Meet the experts, artists and performers!

Braintree Museum: Braintee museum’s main galleries chart the history of the town and district, from the prehistoric era up to the 21st century, focusing on Braintree’s archaeology, industry and craftsmanship. The museum also holds an important archive relating to Courtaulds Ltd and displays feature items from this collection including crepe mourning outfits and items associated with the production of crepe, the material that made the company famous. Other highlights of the collection include a Courtauld Loom and personal items of the family.Courtaulds Ltd began in Essex in the 18th century and the Courtauld family used their wealth from the textile industry to endow buildings, schools, and gardens throughout Braintree during the 19th and 20th century, including the Manor Street School, which now houses Braintree Museum. In 2020 Braintree Museum brought together Samuel Courtauld’s collection, with the loan of four stunning Gauguin prints from the Courtauld Gallery, in a new and innovative exhibition about the Courtauld family and the company. The exhibition also featured materials from a volunteer project which collected memories from local residents, many of which are now on permanent display. Braintree Museum is part of our Courtauld National Partners programme.

AVM Curiosities®: AVM Curiosities has been exploring the relationship between art and the senses through a series of events and interventions since 2011. Founded by award-winning artist and food historian Tasha Marks, AVM Curiosities advocates for the sensory museum, championing the use of food and fragrance as artistic mediums. Projects range from olfactory curation and scented installations to interactive lectures and limited-edition confectionery. With a practice heavily influenced by both food and art history, AVM Curiosities’ projects draw from the art of the table as well as the sensory museum. Over the last decade AVM Curiosities has developed a diverse portfolio and a wide range of skills that means they can tackle almost any sensory project; from recreating an Ancient Egyptian Beer, to manufacturing the scent of breastmilk. Vanity Fair calls AVM Curiosities ‘London at it’s crazy-best’, while London store Sick-Note describe Tasha’s work as ‘the love child of Leonardo Da Vinci, Willy Wonka and Ferran Adria.’ Previous patrons have included the Royal Academy of Arts, Victoria & Albert Museum, The National Gallery and The British Museum – each of these projects eventuating in a unique and sensory art experience. | @avmcuriosites

Sophie-Nicole Dodds: Sophie-Nicole Dodds is a designer and making practitioner. She graduated from her MA Design: Expanded Practice, a radical post-disciplinary programme within the Fashions and Embodiment Studios, and gained her BA in Bespoke Tailoring at UAL: London College of Fashion. During the past year and a half she’s been on the internship programme called ‘Illuminating Objects’ at The Courtauld Gallery, researching and designing the display of two chosen objects from The Courtauld collection. She is currently working in costume and on The Drawing Year 22 at the Royal Drawing School.

Fozia Ismail: Fozia Ismail runs a Somali supper club and research project in Bristol. Arawelo Eats is a platform for exploring East African food in exciting ways; not just what’s being served on the plates at my supper club but what it means for our understanding of belonging in a post- Brexit world. Fozia has been researching and writing about race and British identity for the Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery, designing workshops with Keep It Complex feminist art collective, Serpentine Gallery, Jerwood Project Space & Museum of London and Colonial Countryside Project using food as method to think through some of these complex issues. Fozia has been featured on Observer Food Magazine, BBC Radio 4 Food Programme, Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery Ox Tales podcast, Vittle’s Food Newsletter, Food 52, Vice Munchies and more recently on Nadiya’s Fast Flavours on BBC2. Fozia is a resident at the Pervasive Media Studio at the Watershed in Bristol and currently working on Camel Meat & Tapes project with Dhaqan Collective, a Somali Feminist arts collective I co-founded with Ayan Cilmi and Asmaa Jama.

Nadine Nour el Din: Nadine is a researcher and cultural practitioner. She holds a BA in Visual Arts from the American University in Cairo, an MA in Arts Administration and Cultural Policy with distinction from Goldsmiths, University of London, and is currently pursuing an MA in Art History at The Courtauld. Her academic, artistic, curatorial, and research work focuses on the arts and cultural production of the Arab world and wider region.

Margaret Squires: Margaret is a PhD student at The Courtauld. Her thesis, Crafting Splendour: Safavid Carpets and Soft Power, 1598-1722, is supervised by Professor Sussan Babaie. Margaret’s research aims to reactivate this important area of the history of Iranian art, concentrating on the period between the establishment of a new capital at Isfahan under Shah ‘Abbas I (r. 1588–1629) and the fall of the Safavid dynasty. This period not only comprises a refashioning of the arts to suit the new capital and its architectural program under the auspices of the court, but also the expansion of foreign trade and rapidly increasing import of Persian carpets to Europe. As such, her subject matter ranges from the highest quality carpets created as bespoke commissions for the Safavid court to carpets of a more standardised design and quality made for a much wider market.