One of the world’s most prestigious event on the Islamic art and architecture calendar, the 8th Biennial Hamad bin Khalifa Symposium on Islamic Art, will take place at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar) in Education City on 10 and 11 November.

The Symposium takes place every two years. This year’s theme is The Seas and the Mobility of Islamic Art. Registration is free and all are welcome. Those who wish to attend can register through this link:

VCUarts Qatar symposiumIt will feature panel discussions and debates on subjects ranging from ‘Seas Imagined and Depicted in Middle Eastern Art, Maps and Geography’ and ‘Transoceanic Movement, Muslim-Centred Design, and Architecture in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries’ to ‘Islamic Art in 11th-14th Century Chinese Port Cities’. Eminent scholars from Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, SOAS University of London, University of Vienna, and University of Melbourne will be speaking at the Symposium.

Symposium co-chairs will be VCUarts Qatar Art History professors Dr Radha Dalal, Dr Jochen Sokoly, and Dr Sean Roberts. The Art History programme at VCUarts Qatar is the only undergraduate degree programme of its kind in the Gulf region and offers a distinctive concentration in Islamic art within a global perspective. The programme is designed to focus on the interchange between the Islamic World, the Western World and the non-Islamic cultures of Asia.

The Symposium will include an exhibition at the university gallery titled, ‘The Sea is the Limit’ and will bring together works by international artists addressing the issues of refugees, borders, migration and national identity. Using the language of painting, drawing, sculpture, video, installation and virtual reality, the artists will explore some of the complex experiences and emotions associated with borders and migration, statelessness and belonging. The exhibition will run from 10 November until 7 December.

The Symposium is co-sponsored by VCUarts, VCUarts Qatar and Qatar Foundation. It has been held every two years since 2004. Since its establishment, the Symposium has attracted over 2,200 attendees from every continent; hosted over 70 speakers, including leading scholars, curators, and practitioners of Islamic art; enabled over 90 scholars of Islamic art and culture to come as Fellow, and generated the publication of six books by Yale University Press.

Previous keynote speakers have included HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and contemporary artists Shirin Neshat and Lalla Essaydi.

To find out more about VCUarts Qatar, visit

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