Posted on October 31, 2015

The sixth Hamad bin Khalifa Symposium on Islamic Art will open at the Al Rayyan Theater, in Souq Waqif this Saturday 7 November 2015. The following two days 8 and 9 November will be held at the Museum of Islamic Art.Twelve of the world’s leading Islamic art experts come to Doha to discuss and explore some of the broad topics of visual arts in the Islamic world. The sixth edition will see experts talk on topics around the subject of writing in Islamic art, with the title of the series being - “By the Pen and What They Write: Writing in Islamic Art and Culture”.

The Hamad Bin Khalifa Symposium on Islamic Art chaired by Dr. Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom, is a leading international conference on Islamic art and culture, co-sponsored by Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts, VCUQatar, the Qatar Foundation and Hamad bin Khalifa University.In keeping with His Heighness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Father Amir’s desire to make Qatar a leader in providing world class education, the Symposium on Islamic Art is under his patronage since its establishment 10 years ago.

Dr. Sheila Blair will be leading the opening ceremony on 7 November, to discuss the correlation of the rise of both the Arabic script and Islam. “The symposium brings together renowned scholars, conservators, and artists from around the world, who will address writing—a major theme in Islamic civilization" said Blair. Over the course of the three day event the twelve expert speakers will discuss numerous topics on writings effect on Islamic art. During the Symposium the experts will also discuss the rapid adoption of the concept of writing as a means to authenticate messages, the notions of traditional and modern calligraphy as well as the development of Arabic typography - from the earliest Arabic script found on rocks in the desert prior to Islam, all the way to the importance of paper when spreading the word of the Qur’an.

For a full list of speakers and topics please find the below:

  • Sheila Blair – “Writing as a Signifier of Islam”
  • Jonathan Bloom – “How Paper Changed Islamic Literary and Visual Culture”
  • Robert Hoyland – “The Birth of Arabic Writing in Stone”
  • Angelika Neuwirth – “Scripture, Revelation, and Writing: The Qur’an’s Epistemic Recast of Arabian Late Antiquity”
  • Hugh Kennedy – “Baghdad as a Center of Learning and Book Production”
  • Dana Sjdi – “Chained: Orality, Authority, and History”
  • Ludvik Kalus – “The Spread of Islamic Inscriptions in East and Southeast Asia”
  • Huda Smitshuijzen Abifares – “Arabic Typography and the Shaping
  • Kristine Rose Beers – “Reading with Conservators: The Language of Book Archaeology”
  • Massumeh Farhad – “Reading between the Lines: Text and Image in Sixteenth-Century Iran”
  • Heba Nayel Barakat – “The Triumph of the Word: Contemporary Islamic Calligraphy Collections at the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia”
  • Nasser Al Salem – “Calligraphy Presentation”

The sixth edition of the Hamad bin Khalifa Symposium on Islamic Art will take place from the 7 to 9 November 2015, the keynote address on 7 November 2015, will take place at the Al Rayyan Theater, Al Mirqab Hotel, Souq al Waqif, Doha, 6-7:30pm.All speaker presentations on 8 and 9 November will take place in the ground-floor auditorium of the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, 9am-4pm on November 8 and 9am-4:45pm on November 9, with a closing reception on November 9 from 4:45-5:30pm.

Online registration via will be open until 7 November 2015. Walk-in registration for all Symposium events will be conducted on a first-come basis according to available space.