Islamic art at the British Museum
Time: 11:00 - 13:00
Location: Off Site
Course Code: VB132
Duration: 1 session
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What is the course about?
Learn the stories behind fascinating archaeological remains from lost cities, water-cooling systems, the development of glass, ceramics woodcarving and metalwork industries, and some interesting scientific instruments in the British Museum’s recently refurbished Islamic galleries.
We will focus on the first gallery, which tells the story of the formation of Islamic arts and design, taking in the influences of the Persian Sassanian Empire and Eastern Roman Byzantine Empire. Through the objects and displays, we will explore how the visual language of the Islamic world evolved over more than a millennium, taking in calligraphy, abstract and vegetal design and figurative imagery.
A meeting point will be emailed to you within a week of the start date.
What will we cover?
• The formative influences that fed into the development of Islamic Art and Design.
• The principle crafts and industries that developed in the Islamic world.
• An understanding of the defining features of Islamic design and how they evolved.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• Discuss the impact of the ancient glass and ceramics industries and how they were further developed under the Islamic Caliphates.
• The geographical sources of key styles in glass, ceramics and metalwork.
• Identify the main features that define Islamic design.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This course is suitable for all levels.
You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions, demonstrations, hand-outs and health and safety information.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
You will be taught with lecture around and within gallery spaces. You will also be invited to take part in group discussions.
Museum/gallery-based courses take place during public access hours. Tutors are not able to control sound levels or behaviours of visitors outside of the course group. Unless you are a wheelchair user, and have confirmed access details with us (as levels of access can vary between galleries), you will need to be able to walk between exhibits and stand for some time while looking at them (you may bring your own portable stool if you have one, but we cannot guarantee access to any gallery stools.) If you feel you may be impacted by these environmental variations, please inform the department on email@example.com before the course begins, to discuss reasonable accommodations we can make to assist your learning in the museum space.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
You might wish to bring a notebook. You might wish to buy some of the books on any reading list given out in class. You might want to invest in a portable gallery stool.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Ways into Islamic Art
Islamic Art in 25 Obejcts, at the British Museum & V&A.
Anita Chowdry is a London based visual artist, educator and researcher. Her particular interest is in the arts of the Islamic World and South Asia, and the materials and processes that went into them. She has an M.A. in Art and Science from Central Saint Martin’s UAL, and is currently engaged in the codicological study of a group of 15th Century Turcoman manuscripts at the Bodleian Library, Oxford. Anita has over 30 years’ experience teaching art and process to adults and professional groups, covering major institutions in the UK and abroad.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.